Grace Parry left her troubles at home and headed to ITC Sonar, the beautiful luxury hotel just minutes from the buzzing Indian city of Kolkata.
Discover Kolkata in all it’s glory with Grace’s city guide.
For myself, a veritable travel virgin, scooting around Kolkata with its tuk-tuks, street food stalls and infamous traffic jams certainly needs to be balanced out with some serious relaxation. Aren’t I lucky then to have had the opportunity to stay at the beautiful ITC Sonar in Kolkata.
This huge hotel is distinctively contemporary against the historical city, housing acres of swish modern buildings, two massive ponds brimming with bright orange carp and lots of little touches here and there that ooze zen and style.
Walking into Sonar I was greeted by a welcome ceremony involving lots of scattered petals, an introduction to my own personal butler (I could get used to this) and a bright red spot of powder on my forehead to plunge me into this wonderful culture of relaxation.
Having been shown to my room it was all I could do to not dive into the over-sized, pillow clad bed and not come out again for around three days. With a dark wooden desk for serious business (as if), a table adorned with fresh fruit and a white chocolate sculpture way to pretty to eat (again, as if) and a bathroom worthy of a spa with whirl pool bath and rain shower, this was by far the most impressive hotel room I had ever laid eyes on, let alone stayed in.
Although walling myself into this haven and becoming a hermit seemed a most attractive offer, dinner was to be had at the hotels signature restaurant Peshwari. Focusing on a menu of tandoor fired delights, Peshwari’s chefs have perfected the art of flame cooking by adjusting each tandoors temperature specifically to cater to each dish cooked in them.
The menu isn’t a starters and mains kind of affair, but is rather divided into meat, fish, veg and bread all cooked fresh in the tandoor. Being decisively greedy we ordered a selection plate from each division and a beautiful crisp, fluffy family naan (named as such because it could feed/ house a whole family).
There’s no cutlery to hand at Peshwari, leaving us to either eat with our hands or using chunks of naan as a spoon, as is the Indian tradition. This was an easy task for the meat platter, as we gnawed on deliciously charred chicken wings, melt in the mouth lamb kebabs and gorgeously spicy lamb ribs.
The fish plate was packed with seafood and fish fillets sourced fresh from local markets, the tandoor rendering every morsel smoky, flaky and utterly addictive.
The highlight, however, was of the non-meaty variety. The unassuming bowl of daal Bukhara, black lentils in a rich and creamy tomato sauce just touched by the smoke of the tandoor, had an addictive savoury flavour and was undoubtedly my favourite dish. Nearly half of that massive naan went into mopping up every last droplet.
After eating my own weight in smoke fired delicacies, it was time to retire back to my room and rip into ITC’s ‘science of sleep’ kit with eye-masks, lavender spray and oil to rub on the temples, all designed to give the best night sleep possible. All in a hard days work I guess!
Flights to Kolkata with Air India start from £450
Room rates at ITC Sonar, Kolkata, start from INR 10500++ (£105 +taxes) for an Executive Club room b&b
For more information visit itchotels.in