Taj Bengal still retains an iconic status in Kolkata … though it has been long overtaken by ITC Sonar, Hyatts in terms of ambience, opulence and ‘newness’.
The location simply rocks – walking distance from Victoria Memorial and Race Course – perfect for a late evening walk. What hits you immediately is the blend of the British era designs with the contemporary. The reception here is personal and traditional, with garland and tika on the forehead. Check-in isn quick and absolutely professional – matching the Vivantas. The centre of the hotel has huge open areas with rooms on the side – typical of the design of the old era (seen in most Ashoka & Centaur Hotels). The hotel has 229 refurbished rooms and suites. With excellent wooden flooring in most places (believe it’s teakwood), walls adorned with paintings reminiscent of the city’s colonial heritage, old colonial furniture everywhere with comfortable lounges in every floor near the lifts, it certainly transports you somewhat to a bygone era.
The ground floor has about 5-6 specialty restaurants + the Coffee Shop & a Deli. Breakfast is average; actually a little disappointing – was expecting a range like Vivanta’s. Food at the conferences also disappointed a little — leaves a lot of room for improvement.
What sets the hotel apart is the staff & service – it’s absolutely fantastic and one the best I have some across! You are attended to immediately wherever you are … and in a thorough professional manner. What was surprising was the service they offered us during the 2 days official program at the Banquet area with 3-4 members available at all time ensuring your glasses don’t remain empty even for a minute … or getting you a Cappuccino from the coffee shop and more. Haven’t seen such quality in any other hotel across India.
There is a Spa and a Gym in the basement (-2 floor) and the latter is better than what most hotels offer. The service and maintenance is just amazing – with the staff cleaning all used machines within minute, getting a bottle of water and towels to all guests and helping them when called for. Would highly recommend this hotel for business and leisure trips … you may get fancier hotels, but probably not one offering similar quality of service.