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The Astor Hotel Kolkata 3.5

Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • A 10-minute walk to bustling Park Street
  • Major sights, including St. Paul's Cathedral and Maidan Park, within walking distance
  • Modern rooms plus traditional suites with four-poster beds
  • All rooms include air-conditioning, minibars, and kettles
  • Well-received kebab restaurant with a buffet breakfast
  • Rooftop cafe and separate lounge bar, plus a nightclub
  • Event spaces for up to 100
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Wi-Fi is patchy and can be slow
  • Nightclub can be noisy on weekends
  • No elevator

Bottom Line

The Astor Hotel is a smart, three-and-a-half-pearl property that sits in the heart of Kolkata, within a 10-minute walk of Park Street. It's a historic building with a good set of restaurants and bars, including a well-received kebab restaurant and a nightclub bustling with locals and tourists alike. The rooftop cafe/bar is also a popular haunt with a laid-back feel. The 34 rooms have a modern style that contrasts with the colonial look elsewhere in the hotel, though the large Suites are full of traditional touches like beautifully carved four-poster beds. This property lacks leisure facilities and an elevator, and its location draws lots of business travelers. Guests willing to sacrifice the traditional finish could opt for The Park Kolkata instead, which has a pool and spa. 

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Scene

Stylish, colonial hotel with lots of history that's something of Kolkata institution

The Astor Hotel is a historic colonial-era hotel that was built in the early 1900s. It's a striking building, painted in red and white, that sits on a leafy street just minutes from Kolkata's vast Maidan. In fact it was originally built as a guest house for visitors to the race course. Inside, its colonial origins are obvious, with smart, gentlemen's club-style decor -- think glossy wood paneling and marble floors. Countless historic photographs adorn the walls, and beautiful wrought-iron stairways laid with rich red carpets lead away to the upper floors. The bars and restaurant are all very low-lit and atmospheric, and the nightclub is one of the city's most popular. Of course, that means a bit of noise on weekends. It's a busy hotel that's especially popular with business travelers, but plenty of tourists pass through as well, mostly mature couples. 

Location

In the heart of downtown, a 10-minute walk to Park Street and the Maidan 

The Astor is located on Shakespeare Sarani Road in the heart of downtown Kolkata. There are plenty of shops and restaurants along the street, and it's a 10-minute walk to shopping and dining on Park Street -- the city's main strip. It's also around 10 minutes on foot to the Victoria Memorial, and the Maidan Metro station. Fort William is a farther 20 minute stroll through the Maidan -- the sprawling park that's the green heart of the city. You'll also find the Victoria Gardens and St. Paul's Cathedral in the Maidan. Dakshineswar Temple is about 30 minutes away by car and the trip takes about the same amount of time to the colorful bazaars in Ramindra Sarani and Kumartuli. The city's main train station, Howrah Junction, is about a half hour drive, though keep in mind that traffic is wildly unpredictable. The airport is a 50-minute drive from the property, though again, traffic can be a factor.

Rooms

Modern, spacious rooms, plus traditional Suites with four-poster beds -- all featuring free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning

Rooms at The Astor have quite a modern look, which contrasts with the colonial style of the hotel's common areas. The white walls and light wood furniture is brightened by vibrant turquoise throws and cushions, and the windows are shaded with chic roman blinds. Flat-screen TVs, minibars, electric kettles, safes, and both wired and wireless internet come as standard. Keep in mind that the Wi-Fi can be slow and spotty. Executive Rooms add a comfy seating area, and a bit more floor space. Suites have a more traditional look, featuring grand four-poster beds with curtains and rich purple embroidered throws. Beautifully carved screens create partitions between the bedrooms and sitting areas in these units, and the traditional floor lamps give warmth to the large rooms. Due to the city-center location, the views are restricted and most are just of neighboring buildings. Bathrooms feature large walk-in showers, a good collection of toiletries, and hairdryers. Some of the shower stalls were a bit grimy during our visit. Suites add bathrobes. Keep in mind that noise from the nightclub can be an issue on weekends. 

Features

Popular kebab restaurant, rooftop cafe, cozy bar, busy nightclub, and meeting rooms

The Astor, though grand in style, is a small boutique hotel, so leisure features are limited -- there's no gym, pool, or spa here. What it does do well, though, is food and drink. There's a well-liked kebab restaurant that offers a range of dishes from Asian to Western, with the specialty, naturally -- smoky kebabs. It also serves a buffet breakfast and a coffee/snack menu throughout the day. Room service is available. There's an open air cafe/bar on the rooftop, which serves drinks and snacks in the afternoons and evenings, as well as an atmospheric pub, Cheers Bar. Phoenix is one of the city's top nightclubs, with an impressive lighting display over the dance floor, regular live music, and DJ nights, plus a menu of light meals and drinks. Some guests have complained of noise from the club. There are two large event spaces, catering for up to 100, and Wi-Fi is free -- though very patchy.

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Address

15 Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal 700071, India

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