This was second of the two hotel stays I had planned during my visit to Kolkata, and, after a two-night stay at ITC Royal Bengal, I checked in to the famous Oberoi Grand. Find out all the details about this heritage property in the detailed review below.
About Oberoi Grand Kolkata
The Grand hotel, now known as Oberoi Grand, was built in the nineteenth century and later taken over by Mr. Mohan Singh Oberoi - the founder of the Oberoi group. To date, the property stands as one of the iconic properties of the Oberoi hotels, and I could feel a sense of pride among the staff members working here.
This large hotel has a wide variety of rooms, ranging from deluxe rooms, all the way to the presidential suite. It is situated in the heart of Kolkata which provides easy access to some of the famous places of the city like Victoria memorial and Park street, which are at a driving distance of nine and three minutes.
Booking Oberoi Grand
I booked a non-smoking luxury room featuring a king bed for one night with hotels.com. It was 35 square metres in size and had a city view.
Along with free wifi and breakfast buffet (though it was only being served a la carte), there was free parking included with my booking as well. I paid a total of INR 7,177 (USD 96.37) for this booking, which was lesser than one would normally have to pay for this property.
I made this booking four days prior to my stay, and I was eligible for a free cancellation until the day of my booking (September 20,2020).
Check-in at Oberoi Grand
In the morning of my stay, I called the Oberoi to request an early check-in and an upgrade (if possible). Kaushikee requested me to confirm my phone number and provide them my email address (for contactless check-in).
I then received a mail from Oberoi including a link to the online registration form that already had the details of my booking filled in and the rest of the process was simple to follow.
I arrived at the hotel just after 1pm and was informed that my check-in was complete and I was provided with an upgrade as well. I was offered a charcoal lemonade, along with the explanation that charcoal is known for its immunity boosting characteristic (new info for me, but okay) - the drink was just average.
Kaushikee showed me to my room, and I had a nice chat with her on the way to the lift before coming across Nabeel, the duty manager, who offered to give me a grand tour of the property later and I gladly accepted.
Nabeel also informed me that the rooms are sanitised and kept locked for 24 hours before the guest’s arrival, which has become a common practice now, and I was glad Oberoi Grand was following it.
I suggest if you are looking to get a free upgrade, you should enquire the possibility of that with the hotel well in advance, rather than doing it while checking in.
The moment you step inside the grand lobby, you can sense that there is something special about this place. The old European style counters in the lobby are a sight for sore eyes, I was missing that European feel. The room is overshadowed by a grand chandelier in the centre, while the old Bluthner piano sits in the corner.
I got to click a picture of the lobby from what used to be called a “lounge” - it is one level above and looks through where the chandelier hangs.
Oberoi Grand premiere room with balcony review
As you walk through the hotel, you can clearly sense the age of the property by the classiness it exudes from its architecture, furniture and the overall design of the structure.
The old wooden lifts were a completely different experience from the high-tech, super fast elevators at ITC Royal Bengal. But there’s no comparison here, these are two completely different properties and you put those kind of expectations behind, the moment you walk in to the Grand.
I was upgraded to a premiere room with balcony - room 356. It faced the pool and the garden - one of the best views to have at the Grand.
The centre of the hotel, where the pool is located now, used to be a theatre back in the day. This is where the sailors (and other guests) would come for entertainment, and the balcony rooms were (and still are) considered among the best rooms because people could enjoy the show without leaving their rooms.
The room was 376 sq ft in size, and featured a double bed, a work table, a small toilet, and a balcony.
Waiting in the room was a nice decoration of chocolate and some fruits.
Although smaller than my expectation, the bed was very comfortable along with the pillows.
There is a pillow menu provided on the side table but I didn’t feel the need to get it changed as the ones placed were already very comfortable.
The work table met my requirements perfectly, and I was quite happy to see this as I end up spending most of the time at the desk. There are enough plug points at the table to charge several devices.
I then checked out the part of the room that I was very excited about - the balcony. The view was nice, though in the end I didn't spend much time using it.
There was a flat screen TV provided in the room along with a not-so-modern DVD player. DVDs were available on request, and I could browse through the library using the QR code provided in the room. I did not end up using the TV as I was not really interested to watch anything during my stay here.
There was a chair in the room accompanied by a small table, where the welcome chocolates and fruits were kept.
There was also a lot of art work in the room, here are a few...
The closet was big enough and met my needs perfectly.
One of the few things that bothered me was related to the iron. I struggled to find a plug point near the closet (where the iron was placed), and after I dragged the iron table all the way to the work table, I then struggled to find a plug point big enough to fit the plug (which was bigger than normal).
So I ended up dragging the table to the bedside, where I was finally able to plug the iron and use it.
The bathroom is located right next to the main door, and although it was quite small in size, it didn’t bother me as much because I expected it to be so, given that this was a heritage building and they aren't permitted to make any structural changes in the building.
The bathroom amenities were from Forest Essentials and, as I expected, they were quite good.
The second issue I faced in my room was with the jet spray next to the toilet, which is connected to the water supply in the shower. This means, if you’ve turned the knob to shower, then the water won’t flow to the jet spray. This is not ideal at a moment of vulnerability!
The shower head was small and low, but it was alright and I could make-do with it.
Turn down service was provided at 6pm. The bell rang as I was preparing to head down to the bar, and the gentleman asked if I’d like turn down service, which I accepted.
Dining at Oberoi grand, Kolkata
There are two restaurants and a bar at the Oberoi Grand. Baan Thai is the Thai speciality restaurant, as the name suggests, while threesixtythree is the all-day dining option serving a range of global cuisines.
The bar was my first experience of the food and beverage service at the hotel, and Rohil here was really warm. I took his suggestion and ordered Tangra chicken, an "Indianised Chinese" dish, as it was explained by Rohil.
It was a good choice and I enjoyed it to the last bit. While I was there I managed to click pictures of some of their better cocktails.
Before arriving at the hotel, I was very keen on dining at their famous Thai speciality restaurant, Baan Thai, and I was bummed to find that the restaurant was shut due to maintenance work.
The good news was that the Thai kitchen was operational and the executive chef assured me I could try those dishes at their global cuisine restaurant as well.
I therefore took dinner at threesixtythree, the global cuisine option at Oberoi Grand, and also where the breakfast buffet is served (though breakfast was only served a la carte during my time there).
Back to dinner, and I asked the chef to give me something from their Thai menu. He enquired whether I had a preference in food, and I asked him to just stay clear of pork, otherwise I was fine with anything.
He was still suggesting me dishes, when I thought of asking them to serve me small plates of their best dishes. What followed was crazy - the amount of food on my table would easily have been enough for three people.
As happy as I was while trying out their best dishes, I was equally concerned about the bill, but all my fears were washed away when they charged me just INR 3,776 (USD 51).
Here’s a list of the food I got to have for dinner (yes, there were so many dishes that it needs to be listed):
- Potato and prawn crackers as well as Thai condiments were served. The prawns crackers were great - get these instead of potato crackers if you are okay with seafood.
- Raw papaya salad. This was spicy, and just okay.
- Veg spring roll. This was really nice and I would like to order it again.
- Prawn skewers. Pretty amazing. The sauce it is covered with was very nice.
- Stir fried beef, with fish sauce. That combination was weirdly good. Sangita told me to pour the fish sauce on the small piece of beef and have it. I was surprisingly amazed. My taste buds were honestly a little confused, but in a good way.
The food just kept on coming. For main course I was served:
- Jasmine rice.
- Stir fried minced chicken in black sauce. This was good too, with a bit of a smoky flavour to it.
- Morning glory (spinach). I found this to be really good.
- Yellow curry (fish). Like the above dishes, this didn't disappoint at all either, there's a hint of sweetness to this dish.
- Pakh Thai (chicken). This was great too. I tried it for the first time and I am very impressed.
The experience overall was very good, thanks to Sangita, who was looking after me and was warm and patient.
After having the table cleared, Sangita offered chamomile tea, which was a wonderful suggestion after such a heavy meal. It was accompanied with dark chocolate and chocolate coated almonds (as if I needed more to eat!).
Sangita was sweet enough to offer me vanilla ice cream for dessert, but I had my mind set on the mango and rice Thai dessert. She said it required preparation and apologised for unavailability, and it was understandable as it was already too late by the time I got done with dinner. I turned down the ice cream offer (being a little conscious about my throat given Covid19).
After sleeping like a baby, I headed to threesixtythree for breakfast, where I asked for a bowl of fresh fruits, and a two-egg masala omelette with mushrooms. I wasn’t sure about what else I wanted to try, and was offered the loochi chola - a north Indian speciality is how it was described.
This dish was really good, and I conveyed to them that I like trying regional dishes, hence I appreciated him suggesting this to me. Soon after, the chef came to my table and we had a nice chat, during which he suggested that I should try their north eastern thaali for lunch, and I made a reservation for later.
After breakfast, I enquired with Nabeel about sweet shops, as my mom likes authentic Bengali sweets. He offered to have it picked, properly wrapped and delivered to my room (charges were billed to my room).
I headed back to my room and decided to get some work done followed by some rest. Soon after, it was time to head down for lunch, where I was presented a specially curated menu with my name on it.
As I got done going through the menu, Nabeel came with the sweets - this was much faster than I had expected and he arranged to have them placed in my room.
Lunch was an eight course meal, consisting of:
- Bekti nigiri. Damn good fish served with rice, very much like a sushi. If you like Indian food, you will love this.
- Bangalir baharey. I was a little hesitant about this, cause it’s tough to please me with egg. I went "HOLY NUTS!!" after I took the first bite and this was the best egg dish I have ever had. The 'plastic' (north Indian specialty) chutney is too good, it is a fruit-based chutney and complemented the dish.
- Kobir moner basona. A dish of king prawns, with a layer of egg underneath, served with vegetables julienne. This was okay, nothing extraordinary. Although the size of the prawn was quite big and did justice to the name.
- Singdho rekaki. The fish was nice and I enjoyed the dominant taste of the mustard chutney.
- Bonedhiana. The gravy, the pulao and the tomato chutney (sweet), were all quite amazing. But the beetroot and corn cutlet wasn’t too good, it was a little too oily as well.
- Hridoyer majhare. A Bekti fish dish that was just average (though by now I was struggling to eat any more!).
- Mangshor ashorey. Three pieces of lamb, cooked well done, medium and rare. It was alright - the flavour didn’t meet my choices exactly, it was a little strong.
- Misti. There’s always room for dessert! At first I thought this was misti dohi, but then later the server said it meant sweet. I was eagerly looking forward to this, as I love Indian sweets, especially Bengali sweets. It was rosogulla crumbles, topped with mishti dohi, and smaller pieces of sondesh (sandesh) on the side. Perfect! It was quite an amazing combination, specially the rosogulla and misti dohi combo. Shondesh I am not sure about, because I think I tried it for the first time.
The only thing that let down during this meal was the mixed fruit juice that I was offered before the meal. It was bland and I would have liked to have been suggested a good drink to complement the lunch.
Other than that, I was very happy with the meal, which I later found out was a treat from the hotel. Thank you Oberoi Grand for such kindness!
Although there are only a limited number of outlets, Oberoi Grand has really good options for dining and drinks and I was really happy with all the meals I had. The bar is cosy and a good combination of old and new, with some really talented personnel behind the counter.
Oberoi Grand has a spa, a gym and a large swimming pool in the centre of the hotel.
Due to covid I couldn’t check out the spa, however, I did get to check the gym (if not use it), and spend some time on the loungers by the pool, which was relaxing.
Located in the heart of Kolkata, Oberoi Grand gives you easy access to the main spots of the city. I could feel the richness in culture while I was here, and Oberoi has done a very good job in preserving the charm and the authentic feel of this place.
While I was not able to try out Baan Thai restaurant, I was still very satisfied with the food I was served at their global cuisine restaurant, threesixtythree. After eating so much, I think I'll definitely need to make use of the gym on my next visit!
The staff is warm in their approach, and would go to a great extent to make sure you are a happy customer stepping out of the door. I was impressed with this property, and would surely like to visit again.
What are your thoughts about Oberoi Grand hotel? Would you like to stay here?