The Grande Dame of Calcutta,the Oberoi Grand,has been ranked 44 among the top 100 luxury hotels in the world by tripadvisor,a UK-based travel website that covers more than 2,12,000 hotels and 74,000 attractions in over 30,000 destinations worldwide.
The only other two hotels from India to be featured in any category include the Jas Vilas and the Taj Rambagh Palace,both located in Jaipur. The lists were released on the occasion of the announcement of 2009 Travellers Choice awards for the best hotels in terms of bargain,luxury and service among other things.
Over 70 years old,the hotel has 213 elegant rooms,much less compared to the other big hotels in the city. And yet,it has a set of dedicated clientele from across the globe hooked to its grand experience. Its the staff and the personalised service we offer to each guest, says a senior manager who has worked in the hotel for more than two decades now.
Originally known as Mrs Montes Boarding House at 13,Chowringhee Street,the building was later acquired by Armenian real-estate baron Arrathoon Stephen,who turned it into a three-storey 500-room hotel. When acquired by Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi in 1938,it became the Oberoi Grand.
The hotel,formerly a palace of luxury,had been empty for years,since the death of over a hundred foreigners who were guests during the Cholera outbreak. The hotel was refurbished and the following year,1939,at the start of World War II,1500 beds were made available to the British Army,as thousands of troops filled Kolkata. It is said that Mohan Singh Oberoi did not alter the façade of the building too much; that is one reason why insiders say that unlike modern hotels,no two rooms of the Oberoi Grand have the same dimensions.
After seven decades,the hotel had updated itself with modern facilities like Wi-Fi connection,a spa,a fitness centre and satellite television. It cannot be considered eccentric to describe the Grand as the best hotel in the world. The luxury is amazing,as is the service. Nothing seems too much of a trouble for the staff and overall,the standards are the highest. We spent four days here and would willingly have spent far longer, writes a traveler from Bristol on the tripadvisor.
After the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai,the hotel now has a tight security policy in place. Whilst we were staying,there was extensive security and we were frisked/scanned and had our bags checked every time we entered the hotel. This was done in a charming manner, writes a guest on tripadvisor.