The Sonnet Kolkata – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Sonnet is a small, boutique hotel, located in Kolkata’s Salt Lake City, close to the City Centre mall. It is quite popular among visiting sports’ teams due to its relative proximity to the stadium; indeed, while I was there, the Indian men’s hockey team was in residence.
The lobby is a small, but bright and welcoming space, with the Reception desk placed at the back of the room, either side of which are the dining outlets. The hotel offers free wifi to all resident guests.
There are two F&B options at The Sonnet: Aura, with 92-covers, is the all-day dining outlet serving international cuisine. The breakfast buffet is available to walk-in guests as well. Although dinner has a buffet service, a la carte menu is available for lunch and dinner. The menu will be revamped shortly, with focus on north-west frontier food as well as mountain cuisine from Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, along with a new Bengali menu. There will also be special attention paid to Marwari and Jain vegetarian dishes.
The 32-covers Unwine is an L-shaped lounge bar done up in fawn and off-white, with bar stools as well as cozy seating available. It serves finger food to the accompaniment of single malts and will soon be launching a combination meal menu too.
With 64-keys in its inventory, the room categories are as follows: Superior (200sqft); Club (300sqft); Executive Club (307sqft) and the Suites (427sqft.) Guests have the option of choosing rooms with shower cubicles or with bathtubs. There is also one room available for the physically challenged.
Fawn and orange is the colour theme throughout, across categories, in terms of drapes and flooring, with padded headboards in differing shades. The Superior room category offers queen or king-sized beds as well as twin bed options. The bathrooms are smaller here.
The only (slight) difference between the Club and Executive Club rooms is the size. It is a spacious room, with a two-seater sofa in dull scarlet shot through with black streaks, facing which is a glass-topped coffee table. The headboard here is done up in dull silver and gold. There is a fully functional work desk opposite this. A full-length mirror is rather inconveniently placed right beside the front door.
The Suites have a cozy seating space with a sofa in dull scarlet, chairs done up in fawn, and a three-seater, marble-topped dining table. The bedroom has an oval-shaped, full-length mirror, mounted on a similarly shaped wooden frame. There is also a recliner chair with footstool and work desk in this space. All suites have three television sets; one in each room and a smaller set mounted above the bathtub.
All rooms are equipped with tea/coffee maker, electronic safe, large-screen television, as well as iron and ironing board. All categories use the Biotique range of toiletries and jet sprays as also magnifying mirrors are thoughtfully available in all bathrooms. The lighting in the rooms as well as bathrooms is adequate and bright. Special mention must be made of the effective boiler and air conditioning systems: full marks to the engineering department for operating at high efficiency during full occupancy.
Recreation facilities include a small swimming pool (which is kept covered during the winter months.) The upper level above the pool can be used for small parties. ‘Workout’ is the small gym, with all basic equipment available.
Convention facilities include the Emerald banquet hall, a space of 4,000sqft that can accommodate 350pax cocktail style and that can be partitioned into an exact half. The other hall, Orion, can take 35-40pax round table style. It has a fixed buffet counter and offers mood lighting as well as a DJ console. There is also a small and basic Business Centre, with two computers available for complimentary guest use, along with printing facilities.
All the front desk and housekeeping staff are co-operative and helpful, with a can-do attitude. F&B needs to pull up its socks a bit, particularly at breakfast time when they are slightly sluggish.
The Sonnet opened in 2010 and the property is now looking a bit tired, with rooms and public areas in need of a facelift. The good news is that the management has refurbishment planned for the first quarter of 2019; this will be an excellent shot in the arm for the hotel, which has a good location to complement it.
As mentioned, the Sonnet is close to City Centre 1, if you’re looking for a mall experience. Else, head into the city to visit the famed Kalighat temple or the stately Victoria Memorial; take pictures at the legendary Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly river or else, shop at Chowringhee, Park Street, New Market or Camac Street. Visit Tangra, the Chinese quarter, for some local Chinese food in the ubiquitous Calcutta (the city is now known as ‘Kolkata’) style or else dine at Oh Calcutta, Mainland China, 6 Ballygunge Place, Arsalan biryani, Peter Cat, Mocambo and more. People consider a visit to Kolkata incomplete without the famous kathi roll or a pastry from Flury’s. Of course, Kolkata was and still very much is, a city of clubs; if you know someone who is a member at any of them, wangle an invite to see these last remnants of the British Raj, still with bearers, et al. Easy day trips from Kolkata include: Bishnupur; Shanti Niketan; Piyali Island; Bakkali and Dooars.
Most major international airlines fly into Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport and certainly, all Indian carriers including the LCC ones, do so. If you take a pre-paid taxi from the airport to The Sonnet, it will cost you Rs 275 else, you can request the hotel to arrange for an airport pick-up. It takes approximately 35-40 minutes to reach the hotel.
The Sonnet Kolkata
Tel: +9133 66339000
Fax: +9133 66339001
Punam Mohandas asserts her right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author.