When visiting Kolkata, many people like to stay in and around Park Street. However, during Durga Puja, it's not the best location to be in. The reason is because the famous Durga Puja pandals are all located away from this area, many of them in north and south Kolkata. Out of the two areas, south Kolkata is definitely the more appealing one, with more facilities. There are a number of boutique hotels and guesthouses that you can choose from. Here are seven places to stay for Kolkata Durga Puja.
Unfortunately, if you want to stay somewhere on the northern side of the city, decent and reasonably priced hotels are limited. The Broadway Hotel is possibly your best choice without being isolated too far from the city center. The hotel is located in Kolkata's business district, around 1.5 kilometers north of Park Street. There's a Metro train station right opposite it for those wanting to take public transport to Puja destinations. Yes, the hotel is old (it was built in 1937) but it's full of Colonial charm, with huge airy (but basic) rooms, friendly staff, and excellent food. Room rates start from 625 rupees per night, for a double with a private bath. There's also a bar, with cheap beer, on the premises.
2. Bodhi Tree
The Bodhi Tree is the place to stay in south Kolkata. This boutique hotel is simply divine. It's a place of remarkable peace and harmony, with spirituality as the underlying theme. Statues and pictures of the Buddha grace the property. It also has an Art Cafe, a very Zen garden, and patio library. Amazingly, the decor was all designed by the well-traveled owners. The hotel has a handy location close to Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station, in the quiet residential area of Swiss Park. There are a number of accommodation options available including suites with guest kitchens. Rates start at 2,200 rupees a night and go up to 8,000 rupees a night for a two bedroom suite, tax included. Breakfast and wireless Internet are free.
3. Best Inn
The Best Inn is a boutique guesthouse that's situated in south Kolkata, within walking distance to Rabindra Sadan Metro Station. The location is still reasonably close to Park Street (just a couple of stops on the Metro). Despite the hotel's small size, rooms are spacious, attractive, and comfortable. The neighborhood is also quiet, away from the main road. The main drawback is that the hotel doesn't have a restaurant. A very simple set breakfast is delivered to the rooms. Room rates start from 2,500 rupees for a double.
The Southern Palaza Hotel is another reputable boutique hotel with 32 rooms in south Kolkata. It's a new hotel, so its interiors are contemporary and stylish. The location, on Southern Avenue (within walking distance of Kalighat Metro station), is very central to many of the popular Durga Puja pandals. There's a multi-cusine on the premises. The only problem with the hotel is that its rooms are extremely small. Room rates start from 4,200 rupees a night for a double.
5. 1 Lovelock
1 Lovelock is a groovy new "corporate guesthouse" that's located in south Kolkata's classy Ballygunj area. If you're a tourist, don't let the label of corporate put you off, it just means that this place has more facilities and is better set up than the usual guesthouse. There are 21 rooms. A double room costs 3,000 rupees per night. For the price, it represents excellent value for money. Rooms are very modern, with huge windows offering lovely views. There's a rooftop terrace as well. For food, breakfast is complimentary and there's a kitchen that provides homely lunches and dinners.
The Neeranand Residency is another boutique hotel located in the Ballygunj area. The defining thing about it is that it only serves vegetarian food, which may or may not appeal to you! There are 13 designer rooms and a rooftop garden terrace to relax in. Expect to pay 2,000 rupees upwards for a double, per night.
Narayani Enclave is a newly renovated boutique hotel with 33 rooms, located in Kasba. This makes it particularly close to the multi-award winning Bose Pukur Sitala Mandir, a famous south Kolkata Durga Puja pandal. The hotel has positioned itself to cater to both business travelers and tourists, so it has plenty of amenities including a business center, and restaurant and bar. Double rooms start from 4,500 rupees per night.