Warm yet unobtrusive Bengali hospitality awaits you in this cozy nook of Calcutta, aka Kolkata. .The living area has among other things, a two double-seater sofas, a coffee table. The exact address will be provided once a booking is confirmed.
Note: Please note that the address mentioned as 49 Prince Anwar Shah is not correct. It is the street next to it. Prince Gholam Mohammad (PGM) Shah Road.
From the airport:
From the airport to my apartment it will take 30-60 mins, depending on traffic. You can take a taxi from the prepaid taxi booth, which is inside the airport. A more economical option would be to take the AC shuttle bus, which stands in front of the airport. However, it will obviously be taking longer (around 1.5 hours) than the taxi as it will be stopping very often.The destination should be Prince Anwar Shah Road. Get down at the terminal stop, the Tollygunge Metro Station. From there, my apartment can be reached very easily.
From the 2 main stations:
Howrah Station- 45 min
Sealdah Station- 30 min
From nearest Metro station:
Metro Tollygunge- a 10-min walk
From the transport point of view, the apartment comes up trumps as it's very close to Metro station. The underground trains will take you to most tourist destinations in the city in 20-30 minutes. The system is efficiently run and miles ahead of overground transport options.
Check-in: 12-2 pm
Check-out: 12 pm
Unlimited and free wireless internet
Meals and Dine
Fully-equipped, operational kitchen available for cooking breakfast, lunch dinner. The kitchen is fairly spacious and has the following:
A double gas stove, microwave, electric kettle, mixer-grinder, water filter, cups, mugs, crystal glasses, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans. Cleaning fluids can please be used to keep the used cookware, kitchen counter and floor clean.
There's a fully-automatic washing machine and a clothes line for drying clothes indoors. This comes for a nominal fee. depending on your stay and usage.
The dining den comprises a 3-seater wrought iron-wooden table and chairs, and a frost-free refrigerator.
A storage cupboard has been provided, where you can hang your clothes. The linen is kept in there as well.
There's also a glass-fronted showcase lined with classic brass utensils.
The outside, briefly
Thanks to the adjacent Royal Calcutta Golf Course, which dates back to colonial times, abundant vegetation and freedom from vehicular traffic, out here the mercury is always 2-3 degrees below the normal city temperature levels. There's a park nearby. No large public vehicles intrude, just the sound of the occasional private car, vendor or school children.
Detailed Description of Interiors
The apartment has a sunny and airy living-cum-dining area with large windows facing each other. With trees all around, the room gets a cool filtered green light.
A tiny, narrow corridor connects the living area with the master bedroom, which has a four-poster queen-sized bed, a side table, both vintage, and a TV with cable. It is fitted with an AC.
The attached bathroom has ceramic tiles on the wall and marble flooring. It has a wash basin with mirror, shower, commode.
The second bedroom has a pretty black wrought iron queen bed. Further, there's writing table, an shelf. This room is also air-conditioned.
The attached bathroom is fitted with a geyser/water heater in addition to the usual facilities.
The walls are lined with original artworks and posters. In the apartment, tradition blends with the more edgy and utilitarian.
For stays of one month and above an maintenance charge of Rs 2000/month has to be paid.
The apartment is a 10 minute walk from the nearest (Tollygunge) metro station. Cabs are readily available near the pad. For shorter distances, cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are the best bet. Pharmacies and restaurants, both with home delivery, ATMs, banks, farmers' markets, cinema halls, gyms are all at a radius of 0.5 km.
The South City mall, which also has a multiplex cinema, is a 10-minute walk from here. The store in the basement,
You can source freshly-baked multigrain, whole wheat, rye, corn, cheese, masala (and so on) bread and other items from the bakery at Spencers in the basement of South City Mall. Groceries, supplies, including imported items, are available at Spencers.
I have another apartment in the older part of the city, titled, 'Quiet, pretty space, heart of city'. which is also listed in this portal. 2-day stays in each of the properties will give you a comprehensive flavor of Calcutta's contrasts.
Among paid services on offer are:
1. A pickup from the airport in an AC MUV.
2. A portable internet plug-in device, aka dongle, with a 2G/3G data card.
So, welcome to this home away from home:)
In case a booking is made offline and payment's in cash a cancellation fee of Rs 500/night is chargeable.
About the neighborhood:
The 'para' (neighborhood) comes closest to being Bengal's Beverly Hills. It's here that many of our film stars have chosen to home in as the air is clean and the views green and leafy wherever you look. It's genteel, almost hushed atmosphere is often pierced by various cries and calls of dogs, birds, vegetable sellers or zip repairers... and even foxes and frogs in late evening. You will spot kingfishers if you are patient.
Kolkata's TV hub, the Doordarshan Kendra, and the oldest film studio, Indrapuri Studios are short walks away. Go a little further, and you reach Lakshmi House, an ashram dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and his French muse, Mira. Here, you can meditate to your heart's content and later check out handmade stuff crafted by ashramites of Pondicherry. If you are an eastern classical music enthusiast, you can also walk down to the Sangeet Research Academy, which hosts concerts at regular intervals.
Take another route and you find yourself in tree-lined Southern Avenue, which lines the 'great lakes' of Calcutta, the Dhakuria Lakes. This place is a roughly 20-30 minute walk from the apartment. Here, the health-conscious citizenry do their daily swimming, rowing, walking and so on very conscientiously. Health drinks will be on offer, conjured out of anything from bitter gourd to sugarcane. Also on this road is the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, a multi-storied art space which always has a couple of shows going. You will find a yoga school on the way. A multitude of street food kiosks and restaurants, serving Indian, Italian, Chinese, Singaporean dots the area. Shopping centres like South City Mall (for brands) and Dakhinapan (for ethnic goods) are close at hand.
The ancient Kalighat temple (3 km approx) and the newer Birla Mandir (5 km approx) are close by.
Besides these lesser-known attractions, the Victoria Memorial, Maidan, Indian Museum, Rabindranath Tagore's Calcutta home, Jorasanko (among so many other spots) are all a 15 to 20-minute metro ride away.
You are requested to hand over a photo copy of an ID proof, that is passport and visa.
Before a booking is made you will also have to give a description of yourself, your job, if any, the place from where you are arriving, your purpose of visit. In case you are planning to have someone join you later, you will have to provide similar details of that person as well.
Although Shoma was very friendly to us, she kept on asking us to keep the place clean. We were pretty disappointed that the place itself was actually kind of dirty. Dust was settling in the windows and the shower didn't feel cleaned. This might just have been a one-time thing, but be sure to ask about it before you visit here.
The area was a nice and peaceful residential place. If you plan on coming to Kolkata only for a short period of time though, I would advice to find a place a bit closer to the centre.
Simply the best host I've ever met
We flew into Calacutta late at night and someone had recommended a homestay which ended up being more like a halfway house. It was horrible. It was republic day weekend so a lot of the hotels were all booked out. I quickly searched airbnb the next morning, and with in an hour we were at Shoma's apartment and what a difference! Thanks so much Shoma for organising it all so quickly! Shoma did a great intro to Calcutta and the area and was great. We stayed for five or six nights and it was the apartment was perfect for us, and a beautiful rest after traveling through India for a few months. The apartment is situated in a really nice and leafy area. At first we had a few hassles finding it in a taxi (we don't speak bengali and the drivers don't like to look at maps, we had an iphone with (website hidden) maps, but it still was a difficult endeavor), but we found the subway (about ten minutes walk away), and that was a perfect and fast way to explore Calcutta. The apartment is really safe, very clean, quiet (except for the incessant building in calcutta and the lovely school near by). Our son (6) loved it as well. There are some little shops nearby, and some great street food near the station. Shoma organised a car to get us back to the airport.
Don't hesitate and just book. This apartment would be cheaper and much better than any other accommodation you will find in Calcutta and most importantly, you will have a more local experience than staying in a hotel. Its spacious, clean and restful! Thanks again Shoma.
Shoma's flat was nice. The flat is safe and close to train which is nice. I fell a little ill during my time in the city, and Shoma was so helpful with clinic and hospital info. She's always a text message or a phone call away if you need anything. Thanks!
Its a good apartment with good facilities as mentioned in Shoma's apartment details in Airbnb. She is very accommodating with guest request, takes care of the apartment well and things are well maintained in the apartment. I liked the place and it was a good stay for us. Given a chance and when need arise, i will surely recommend this to my friends/ known people to avail and i will stay back again.
Summary: Awesome overall experience, 3-yr kid felt at home and my wife liked it (which seals the deal!). Would love to be back.
* Location: Flat close to Southcity, metro etc. Hence overall quality of stay was gr8. Very secure apt complex. We felt safe. Its opposite a school. The school kids create a mid level hum when the school is in session, which did not bother us.
* Host: Shoma was an excellent host, paid attention to fine details (often without us explicitly asking for things). Took care to thoroughly clean the apt. She trusted us and our interaction was uber smooth. If we needed any logistical help, she would text back very quickly with lots of useful tips and information. Even though I grew up here, these tips helped since I don't stay here anymore.
* Apt: as described by her. If you keep the windows open you will have gr8 cross ventilation at the expense of a few mosquitoes but thats normal. All appliances worked and the kitchen was very usable i.e. we had no issues cooking meals. The apt has nice paintings (by her and by her husband) everywhere so you feel immersed in what defines Kolkata. The wireless worked and was enough for emails,(website hidden)and some youtube (for the kid).
Shoba was a great host. Her comfortable, familiar apartment was the perfect stay. We'll be back next time we are in Kolkata. Thank you.
We stayed in this apartment for several months and were really impressed by the ambiance and comfort Shoma has thoughtfully created there. We weren't overwhelmed by the cleanliness of the place though. The kitchen drawers, cabinets, and even the food processor had cobwebs and tiny dead insects in them when we arrived. Not a big deal, just not what we expected after previous reviewers had noted how clean the flat was.
Shoma was very accommodating to our particular requests and went beyond her obligations as host on several occasions. But we did have some trouble in our interactions with her. Probably a lot of these problems arose because our communication was cross-cultural, as well as written rather than face-to-face. Because good communication is very helpful in an arrangement like this, I'd recommend establishing the unwritten expectations and rules that Shoma has at the outset--i.e. the number of bed linen pieces you are permitted to have laundered, how much you plan to use the AC or other appliances, etc. I'd also recommend that you check the apartment when you arrive and make sure everything is clean and working to avoid being asked to pay for repairs or extra cleaning of things that were overlooked when the flat was prepared for your arrival. It's not that Shoma's rules are hard to follow or that repairs are expensive, it just makes things a little tense and unpleasant to have to continually address these kinds of issues during your stay.
A few other things that might be helpful: the nearest nice swimming pool that doesn't charge a lot for non-guests is at the Hotel Hindustan, the nearest fitness center we found was Karma near Menoka Cinema, and the Ar-Han-Thai shawarmas in the basement food court of South City Mall are to die for. Overall, we were glad to have found Shoma's place and enjoyed being in its artistic and homey atmosphere.
This is a great flat in a wonderful area of Kolkata. The leafy, residential area is so nice to be in after a hot day in bustling Kolkata!
The flat is only about a 15-minute fast walk to the Metro, and a 20-25 minute fast walk to South City Mall. Having the Metro as an option is a huge plus, due to the traffic, and being close to South City Mall is fantastic for getting some Western-style groceries at Spencer's, or just having a coffee at Cafe Coffee Day or browsing the books at Starmark.
Shoma is a great host, and available for assistance if needed. I love how her flat has many pieces of artwork in it, and that there is a comfortable main seating area in addition to the bedrooms. Security is also excellent here.
A couple of random notes: The ATM on the way to the Metro is better than the one close to the apartment, as it lets you withdraw a larger amount each time. And although there is a gym within walking distance of the flat, it is not a Western-style gym at all, with the amenities and equipment you would expect to find with that. So if workouts are important to you, then you will have to budget for either a Metro ride to the Gold's Gym (at the Rabindra Sadan stop), or pay for a taxi and membership (daily or otherwise) to Solace Gym in the Ballygunge area, among other options.
All in all, a great stay, and I hope to be back soon!
We had a wonderful three week stay in Shoma's apartment. It is spacious, generally well-appointed and comfortable. Everything works. It is in a nice complex with good security -- very safe. The flat is conveniently located in a quiet South Kolkata neighborhood with a grocery store nearby. The South City Mall,within walking distance, has most everything including restaurants and a larger grocery store. Transportation is easy with taxis readily available and Megacabs only a phone call away. WiFi was installed while we were there but we already had a Vodaphone data card and so did not use it. We appreciated the clothes washing machine and found a wonderful ironing man available on a nearby corner. Shoma was a thoughtful host. We would certainly hope to use this flat again when we next visit Kolkata.