Kolkata is probably the most “melting pot” culture of all the cities that I’ve visited in India. And, like New Delhi, you will encounter poverty right next to luxury and with very few exceptions, will one encroach on the other. (Disclaimer: I don’t know what happened with the inhabitants who lived where the luxury hotels and high rises took life so there was probably horrible encroachment here and for that I apologize.)
The Grand Hyatt Kolkata (https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/india/hyatt-regency-kolkata/kolka) is located a little ways out of “downtown” but as it is situated right next to the football stadium, it buffers you from the outside noise and does provide a respite from the intense activity of daily life in Kolkata. It is tried and true Hyatt so you know what you’ll get, and there are very few surprises. To be honest, it lacked any feel of being in India but if you need to be confident in what you’ll get, this is the place for you.
The Oberoi Grand (https://www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-kolkata/) is stunning! It is literally so stunning that when I walked in, I literally kicked myself for not staying there even though it cost quite a few more rupees. Really, if you can swing it, there should be no second thoughts!
Knowing that, at this point, I would have been in India for over a week, I planned such that I would have a respite from Indian cuisine and go in a slightly different direction. And my plans did not disappoint: Baan Thai at the Oberoi (see above for the link), is stunning! And the Pad Thai – available both as vegetarian and traditionally with fish sauce – was perfection.
Just as with Mumbai, a tour guide is imperative. And just as with Mumbai, I didn’t have the best guide so there are no contact details to share. But if you do your research, or contact your hotel, you’ll be able to see the sites, even if the guide isn’t great.
My experience has been that most guides ask “what do you want to see?” so be prepared. And in my opinion, the first thing out of your mouth should be “Mother Theresa’s House”. I must admit that I enjoyed having this as my last stop because it was humbling, and peaceful, and truly returned me to a centered disposition. There really are no guides within the house, and some places are off limits as the Sisters still live there and practice, so watch for the signs and be sure to see the “museum” (hours vary) and Mother’s bedroom. Truly, it puts all else in to perspective.