ITC Royal Bengal, Kolkata, is an ode to the city’s rich culture and heritage. I had a chance to go for an exclusive, pre-launch tour of the hotel. By Priyanka Chakrabarti

Overlooking the city like a monarch, the ITC Royal Bengal in Kolkata radiates an imperial vibe. One glance and you know the property is going to be a game-changer in the realm of luxe hospitality.

The doorman ushers me into what feels like a different world from the one the hotel inhabits. The decor blends fine European aesthetic with traditional facets of Bangla. The pristine white lobby, high ceilings adorning dome-shaped crystal chandeliers and vintage-styled stairways exude an old-world romance—a homage to Kolkata’s poetic lineage. I walk along the spacious corridors and imperial hallways of the hotel, where the primary design philosophy is minimalism with strong hints of sophistication. To portray simplicity in an imperial way is a tricky affair, but ITC Royal Bengal manages to nail it.

ITC Royal Bengal
Grand stairways welcome guests at ITC Royal Bengal.

The five-star hotel has 456 rooms and suites, 82 service apartments, six dining destinations, 5,630 square metres of banqueting space, and a luxury spa called Kaya Kalp–The Royal Spa. The rooms are lavishly appointed, and they open up to breathtaking views of East Kolkata. From where I stand, I can see a vast expanse of wetlands through a glass window. From the ITC One rooms to the Service Apartments, from the Suites to the Towers Exclusive, the entire property gleams with refined luxury, depicting the finest expressions of Bengal. However, the most striking element about the suites is its furnishing: Italian marble, timber floors, decorative ceilings, old-fashioned bedsides and a trunk-shaped minibar.

ITC Royal Bengal
A well-appointed room at ITC Royal Bengal.

I move to the next phase of my tour: the dining destinations. At present, ITC Royal Bengal has five diners. I start with Ottimo Cucina Italiana, because I love a hearty Italian meal. Chef Greco Vittorio from Italy prepares a delicious tasting spread for me. My favourite is the red cabbage soup with chicken dumplings and toasted almonds. I also like the black cod with celery, capers, and Ligurian olives. Nothing is more comforting than the classic lemon meringue with strawberry gelato, pistachio sponge and balsamic powder.

Next, I check out the Darjeeling Lounge. It’s a tea bar that serves fine beverages and finger-food. This 24-hour lounge has an interesting colour palette; think muted shades of beige, brown and gold blended with blues. The look and feel of this place is reminiscent of the colonial tea estates from the 1800s.

ITC Royal Bengal
Chef Greco Vittorio at Ottimo Cucina Italiana.

The stone-encrusted bar called Brass Room reminds me of Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby. A statement lamp hangs from the ceiling, while nude decor elements and soft Western music evoke Bengal’s cosmopolitan ethos. I like my craft cocktails with homegrown ingredients, along with a grand selection of tapas, and this place delivers. I love the classic Negroni and green apple-infused gin. The quintessential northeastern thali too is a delight!

Grand Market Pavilion is a multi-cuisine eatery that harks back to a typical day at the erstwhile Hogg Market of Calcutta. Brimming with the ingredients of a marketplace, this restaurant features an extensive spread of Indian and international delicacies prepared at live kitchen counters.

In the last leg of my tour, I visit Royal Vega, a restaurant that serves fine Indian vegetarian food. Centred on the concept of eating fresh and seasonal produce, the diner brings to Kolkata the 300-year-old Sheherwali cuisine. Chef Varun Mohan prepares a selection of vegetarian delicacies for me. Eating out of a grand silver thali, this quickly rises in my list of all-time favourite vegetarian dining experiences. I specially love the Kashmiri dum aloo—richly textured potatoes cooked in a thick and creamy tomato gravy.

ITC Royal Bengal
The Brass Room is a classic destination to enjoy gin and tapas.

All that food and drink demands that I take a long walk. On a stroll across the hotel, I stumble upon the banqueting area of the property. To say that it is huge would be an understatement. I am talking 5,630 square metres of space. The grand ballroom, meeting rooms and breakout rooms make this hotel perfect for weddings, business meets and other social events.

Destined to cast a spell of luxury on its guests, ITC Royal Bengal is an expemplary representation of the state’s finest facets. As I bid adieu to its many luxuries, I can’t help but feel a longing to come back. Rooms from INR 12,250 per night.

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