The SpaceEnjoy central location, easy transport options, contemporary comforts, calmness and peace in a three-room apartment, which has been described as an 'oasis' and (even) 'paradise' by my gorgeous guests. It is located on the first floor of an old-style mansion of central Kolkata. The thick walls and double-layered wooden windows keep the apartment naturally cool even on a blazing hot day (relatively speaking of course).
The age of the flat makes it unique. It speaks a different language from the uniform global lingo we speak today. It speaks eloquently on top of that. Besides, it is comfy as hell.
It would comfortably fit in 4 persons, my max accommodation.
The first bedroom has a double pull-out bed, a coffee table, a TV with cable. It's air-conditioned. It has one-tonne window AC.
The second bedroom, with a 1.5 tone split AC, a double bed, a spacious wall unit with a work table, and a wardrobe.
The third room, the largest one in the house, basks in the sun for some time during the day, thanks to four large windows to the south and the east. It serves as a dining area. It has a dining table for four and a sofa.
This room has a connecting door with the second bedroom.
There is a corridor or inner verandah which is lined with doors leading to the rooms. The layout of the flat is traditionally Bengali.
The bathroom has a washbasin, geyser, shower and commode. And 24-hour running water.
Meals and dine:
A fully functional kitchen is equipped with gas stove, chimney, utensils, dishes, a microwave and a toaster. And of course, there's the refrigerator.
A small breakfast area in front of the kitchen with a hand-painted wall.
The flat has its own water pump and motor. You will have to press the green button on the switch to fill up the tanks once they are almost empty. It takes roughly 10-15 minutes to fill up. Once the overhead tanks are full, there is a pipe which allows the water to flow out. Press the red button to switch off. You must absolutely remember to switch it off.
Location and neighborhood
Sealdah Station 20 min.
Metro station (Esplanade) 20 min
Airport 30 min
Howrah station 30 mins
Attractions & Distances
Mother Teresa’s place is a 15-20 minute walk from here.
Typical tourist spots like Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum and New Market are nearby.
The apartment is close to Park Street, which is old Kolkata’s restaurant street. Historically, Park Street was the epitome of big-time glamour. College Street, which is reminiscent of Paris’s Latin Quarter, is also nearby.
Nearest grocer: Go left and on your right (after the pharmacy) will appear a pencil-slim alley. Go straight down that alley and then turn left. A grocery store will appear on your left hand side.
Nearest food joints: Go left and after a 10-minute walk you will come to Wellington crossing and Jaan Bazaar. Numerous food joints dot that area. Amit Hotels serves fine hot rotis, dal and other vegetarian food. For variety and class, take a cab to Park (website hidden)-be-que (Flavours of China) is best for Chinese and Peter Cat for Indian. The Bistro by the Park is the best platter-based food option, in my opinion. Nostalgic non-resident Bengalis land up in Flury’s for breakfast. It’s charming but maybe over-hyped.
Check-in 12-2 pm
Check out 12 pm.
A guest wanted to check out at 3 am. Since I had not mentioned here that it wasn't a possibility I let him do so. However, I dont think I can allow that again. At the most, it can be 10 pm if no other guest checks in on that day.
Unlimited Internet via Wifi and Cable TV
The landline phone is not for making calls. It is there only for the wifi.
Vehicles can be parked for 2-3 hours on the street. Every manner of hassle-free public transport available at the doorstep.
In case a booking is made offline and payment's in cash a cancellation fee of Rs 500/night is chargeable.
Guests are requested to hand over photo copies of an ID proof (preferably passport) and outstation guests copies of both passports and visas for (unavoidable) purposes of security.
(More on) Security
For the express purpose of security the street door to the complex is locked at 11.30 pm and then unlocked around 6 am the next morning. I'll advise you to be be back by 11.30 pm. Maybe it can be stretched to 12 am at the most but not beyond that. If you have an early morning flight to catch or if you have to go somewhere really early, you can use the key that I have provided to unlock the gate but you must let me know or inform one of the residents who stay nearer the main gate. My apartment is the second last one from the main street gate.
Kolkata, like any modern city, has a climbing crime rate. Maybe it's a case of more crimes being reported to the police and subsequently being splashed across the media. But whatever be the case, for your safety and security, it's best not to invite trouble by being outside the house beyond 12 am. AFter all, you are here for not too many days. Besides, I imagine Kolkata's charms and quirks lie in many places which can be explored during the day. Yes, it has its share of nightclubs but I always think they are just a sham, a pale imitation of places that they have been imported from. :) (but thats of course my opinion)
Cheers Guest AccessI rent out the entire flat. So the guests will have access to everything inside the flat. Interaction with GuestsI'm almost always available on the phone and the Net. If I'm in town and not on another job, I'm also available in person. Also, if I'm in Kolkata, I will show in my guests.
With both my listings, my constant craving for meeting new people gets satisfied to a certain extent. If a few guests agree to become my friends, I feel extremely fortunate. I also am forever trying to beef up my vocabulary. And in the process, I sometimes end up shocking my guests by begging them to teach me some 'questionable' words in their native languages ... even after a very brief interaction. :) The NeighborhoodThe neighborhood will look quaint and alien to the western eye. Part of it is residential, and the rest filled with micro-scale industry. There are myriad shops, all really microscopic ones selling soft drinks, bottled water, potato chips, white bread and instant noodles, a bank or two, schools, a laundry or two, which however, you may find shut when you need it the most, ancient units of lathe machines filled with workmen covered in black grease hard at work, tiny tailoring units, a church, tiny Hindu shrines under trees, eateries, vegetable and fruit stalls, fish and mutton stalls, more industrial looking units that belong to the pre-information age ... all leading to New Market, at one time the one-stop shopping destination for Kolkata of the pre-mall age. Now it's a sweaty sprawl which nevetheless retains its bazaar charm. To reach the more western-looking Park Street you will have to take a lane on your left, called Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. Getting AroundBuses ply constantly down the one-way street called SN Banerjee Road. You will have to know the numbers. However, most go to Esplanade. Cross to the parallel road on your right, Lenin Sarani to go in the opposite direction.
Cabs easily available but try and insist on the meter.
Tuk-tuks also known as auto-rickshaws or 'autos' available after a short walk to Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. They will take you to Park Street. Post-1 pm, the traffic rules change and you will have to go further down to Free School Street to take the auto to Park St. Other Things to NoteFor guests staying for a month and above, an electricity charge of Rs 3500/month is payable.