ITC Sonar got on my radar for two reasons: My brother and father had visited it on their trip. According to them, this was one of the best culinary experiences they’ve ever had. They really enjoyed the lunch here and wanted me to try it.
I was visiting Kolkata anyway and found amazing new year rates.Hence I decided to go ahead and booked for two nights. I am going to write two separate accounts of the two different rooms I stayed in. I would have to talk about both the rooms separately.
As you enter the hotel, there is an atrociously attractive flower design at the entrance. I fell in love with it at first sight.
The reception wasn’t easily visible, and I had to seek assistance from a staff member to find it.
It’s “simple”: You have to turn right from the entrance and then take another right.
After reaching the reception, I was informed that I wouldn’t be upgraded. I would be provided with a tower room instead. I was disappointed like anyone. However, I was promised that if I let the night pass, I would be upgraded the next day. I had no issues with that. Initially, I assumed they didn’t wish to upgrade me. However, upon further inquiry, it turned out they really didn’t have a room.
They had separate wings in the hotel, each with its own elevator. Interesting indeed!
The elevator was right at the reception. My room was on 2nd floor, but in the elevator, I had to press 12th because it means first wing and 2nd floor.
As I reached my floor, I realized this hotel looks quite unlike any other ITC hotel. If I hadn’t known better, I could’ve easily confused this hotel with any Hyatt Regency hotel. This hotel is designed in a modern way. There is a wooden finish like Grand Hyatt Mumbai.
As I enter the room, there is a long hallway. On the left side is a storage area while on the right side is the washroom.
There is nothing” ITC” about this room. Furniture is modern. You have a proper king size bed on the right.
There is the signature sleeping kit on the bed. They didn’t contain sleeping perfumes. However, I am sure if I asked for it, I would get it.
The switchboards are local. I didn’t like the look of tiny switches.
Plus they were made to look dirty white which didn’t quite go with the room. On the plus side, though, is there are so many charging spots in the room. I truly appreciated that.
Across the bed is a nice large TV.
Next to the TV is Indian sitting couch. Charming! This is the first time I am seeing something like this in any hotel that does not fall under the Taj/Oberoi Palace umbrella.
There is a lounge chair and an ottoman with round table by the window. The look and feel of furniture are splendid.
Right next to lounge chair is really long study table by the window. This is the perfect location to have your study table. I ‘m a man who’s learned to appreciate a study table is by the window. You can look out and admire the view. You can get work done. It is a genuine escape from the prison of an office cubicle.
The view outside is of a pond. I could see small fishes swimming in the pond.Later I was told that fish feeding is a routine activity for the guests of the hotel.
While visiting, there was a lot of fog outside.
I swiftly got ready and went out to meet my friends.
As you enter the washroom. There is a large modern sink with towels beneath. Again, I keep asking myself if this is really ITC? Except for bathroom fittings and boxes. There is nothing ITC about it. The sink has a lot of space to put your stuff.
On the right side, there was a proper square shower cabin. The shower was classic ITC if that counts. Water temperature and pressure are excellent.
Next to the shower cabin was an open toilet with bidet spray.
The toiletries are standard ITC DJ Willis toiletries. You have one bottle that you can use for shower gel and shampoo and another for conditioner.
There is a separate spa center where the gym is located.
The gym is on the first floor. The gym is a rectangular room. It is just one room. There is no separate room for stretching.
The gym is modern and has a lot of equipment. They have a pool facing treadmills, stationary cycles, and ellipticals.
The treadmill hadn’t been programmed properly. However, it is the standard treadmill which has TV and some circuits designed into it.
The chill outside finally got to me, and I managed to catch a cold. The pool here didn’t t look unique. I wish they made a pool overlooking the pond. That would have been beautiful.
Food and Beverage
There isn’t much to the lounge. This was probably the largest lounge room I have seen in ITC hotel. There were a lot of sitting arrangement.
Despite being a sworn teetotaler, I was able to fathom that the alcohol menu was average at best. The snacks too left a lot to be desired. There were no warm snacks. Just some cheese, cold cuts, sandwiches and nuts ( available on request).
As I went there, I had a hard time figuring things out as a lot of items were not labeled at all. As per usual I went around and started clicking pictures of everything, till the server “politely requested” me to delete my photographs and it was not permitted to take photos there.
I stood my ground and asked why I am not allowed to click any pictures. He said, “It’s hotel policy.”
I requested that I wanted t to see the policy in writing as he was obstructing my work.
The rude server and the manager later came and apologized. However, they made it up with amazing service I got from that point onward.
I am not kidding, but ITC Sonar is the best culinary experience so far among all the ITC hotels I have visited date. I don’t know why ITC Maurya is hailed so much for the food when it should be ITC Sonar that sets the benchmark for culinary excellence.
The spread, the local dishes, the chef’s enthusiasm to make you try different stuff is beyond anything I have seen so far. They made sure I tried all the local specialties. Man, did I eat!
I surpassed all my personal records for gluttony at this point. Chef Swayanand made it his mission that I try all their vegetarian delights.
The taste, the presentation, and warmth I received is beyond appreciation. All I can do is share the food porn and tease you with this celebration of my indulgence. Mamma Mia!I kid you not! They even gave me some tender coconut for breakfast. My smile was brighter than a kid in Santa’s toy store.
Of course, the Signature ITC dishes have to be displayed just to stupefy you!
I acted out the typical Bengali stereotype when ate like a pig in human form.
The way it works here is that you have to let the chef feed you. You will eat till your stomach starts growling and laments for it being not of the size that could keep up with Chef churning out new dishes from the kitchen. Your stomach would ask you to stop, but your mouth would be salivating for another eclectic, ecstatic and frankly orgasmic culinary present on the table.
I warn you if you come here. Expect your six pack to transform into a family pack.
The chef is delighted in serving local delicacies and takes you away from monotonous same buffet breakfast that you have at all other hotels.
I had to call the IT guy and tell him that my internet was mind numbingly slow. However, after he changed my account to high-speed internet, it became blazing fast. I could work my night away before seeing the buffer button.
I really loved the service here. They went the extra mile to be more caring. I was sick for a day, and they made sure that I was in good spirits. The sheer diversity of experiences I encountered was literally incredible.
A special token of thanks for Ms. Kunju Sherpa. She took the time to explain to help me explore the hotel and get acquainted with it’s past. Features, life at ITC and so many other things. She showed me a model of the new upcoming ITC Bengal. I would definitely call her up on just about anything. She treated all of this as part of her work.
Special thanks to both chefs Swayanand and Subhankar Roy. They created a feast that will flash before my eyes as one of my most cherished memories on my dying day.
- Luckily, for people like me, Starwood has decided to drop category of ITC Sonar from category 3 to category 2. This is just a brilliant opportunity for someone like me to truly enjoy ITC Sonar.
I would definitely return here in a heartbeat. I will be found sitting in kitchen gossiping with chef and staff working here. They were genuinely caring and provided one of the finest hospitality experiences I have seen in India. I can only compare this to ITC Grand Bharat or Taj Lake Palace, but I’ll leave that for some other time.
Till then, Sayonara