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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Views of Kolkata: Hyatt Regency


Kolkata is overcrowded, filthy, and, sometimes, mighty smelly. It is loud, bustling with life, oddly complacent about its poverty, yet showing a heightened sense of entrepreneurial spirit at that lowest rung. And my first days, after being driven from the airport, were spent in impressive luxury--all of the rest of Kolkata was distant noise beyond the gates and walls.

The Kolkata Hyatt Regency is simply one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever enjoyed. The rooms are beautiful, the food often magnificent, the service irritatingly impeccable.

“Irritatingly?” you might ask. Indeed. While there is something nice about being treated well, I am, at heart, a regular guy. I like my bartenders funny and boisterous, in particular. The bar staff at the KHR were competent, the selection of fine alcohols was admirable, but it took a while to get them to let down a little. The first night was, “What would sir enjoy this evening?” The second night was, “Since sir enjoys vodkas, may I suggest Ciroc?” Which, incidentally, made me happy; I keep a bottle at home and it’s a remarkably smooth little drink. By the end of the second night, though, I had them explaining cricket, drawing me diagrams to punctuate their lessons, and then shocking me with their passion for the soap opera drama of US pro wrestling.

If I make the trip again, I’ll lobby to stay at the Hyatt again. It was a little like heaven, to be honest, even if it hardly conveyed the flavor of Kolkata. I’m not one to wallow in unrelenting trash and poverty, though; for those folks, other accommodations would be in order.

Clicking on the pictures will take you to Picasa. You can see the larger versions there.

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