Those who are familiar with Kolkata's history will know that the landmark Park Hotel is just over five decades old. It opened in 1967. You wouldn't know it from looking at the hotel though. The Park Hotel is the most happening hotel in Kolkata. It's also sporting a new look after renovations completed in mid 2011.
If you're visiting Kolkata and want to be right in the heart of the action, The Park Hotel is the only place to stay. Its location on iconic Park Street, the city's main thoroughfare, is unbeatable. And so are its facilities.
Food, Drinks and Nightlife
From the moment you walk into the lobby and notice the row glittering of disco balls suspended above the reception desk, it's obvious that The Park Hotel isn't your average luxury business hotel. It's innovative, contemporary, and as the disco balls suggest, has a focus on entertainment. However, the real extent of what the hotel offers takes some discovering. For a boutique hotel, The Park is surprisingly sprawling.
With a classy cocktail bar (Roxy), huge nightclub (Tantra), and British-style pub (Someplace Else), The Park Hotel has always dominated Kolkata's nightlife. These days it's really pulling in the city's party people by hosting international DJs and other events dedicated to different genres of electronic music every weekend, plus live bands.
The recent renovations have seen the addition of The Street -- a groovy cafe with deli style street food, and inexpensive beer and wine by the glass. It joins Zen and Saffron (innovative Indian). The Atrium cafe has also reinvented itself into The Bridge, offering world cuisine around the clock. On Sundays, both The Bridge and Zen serve sumptuous alcoholic brunches. And yes, there is plenty of bubbly included!
In testament to its popularity, in 2011 The Park bagged four Times Food Guide awards for best oriental (Zen), best newcomer (Saffron), best cocktails (Roxy), and best live music (Someplace Else).
The Park Hotel has all the leisure facilities you'd expect of a luxury hotel, including fitness center, day spa, and open-air swimming pool.
The swimming pool is not just a swimming pool though. It's part of an opulent outdoor space called Aqua complete with poolside lounge, cocktails and wine, music, and pool parties!
If you feel like shopping, head to the Oxford bookstore (one of my favorite places in Kolkata) or The Box gift shop. Those who love to read will be pleased to find that the hotel offers guests a book list to select from.
Or, if you really want to indulge, you can hire out the hotel's luxury boat!
The Park Hotel has just under 150 rooms and suites, some of which have been recently renovated. The others could do with a makeover, as they're starting to look tired and outdated, particularly fixtures and fittings. My deluxe room was comfortable enough and decorated in attractive warm tones, although the carpet was a little worn. The bed and pillows were very soft and comfortable. I was pleased to find a bath tub, even if there was no separate shower cubicle (just a shower-over-bath arrangement).
There was also a writing desk and sitting area.
A stocked mini bar was curiously absent though. However, it didn't concern me too much because the room service menu was diverse and appealing, although on the expensive side (295 rupees for a lemon soda). The food came within 30 minutes and was well prepared. I tried everything from the pizza to the Australian lamb chops (they were authentic). To continue the indulgence, it's even possible to get a champagne breakfast for around 1,300 rupees. I couldn't justify the prices for the wine though. A bottle of Sula that normally retails for 500 rupees was priced at 4,000 rupees!
Room rates start from around 7,800 per night for a double, including tax.
What to Expect at The Park Hotel
The Park Hotel in Kolkata is a lively and fun place to stay. The hotel has so many facilities, you may just find that you don't want to leave the premises. You do need to keep in mind that the hotel gets quite crowded and noisy on weekends though. If you're looking for solitude, you'll be disappointed. Request a room on a higher floor to avoid being disturbed by the music from the nightclub.