Travel: The charms of colonial Calcutta

The Glenburn Penthouse, a boutique property, is a discreet and elegant experiential getaway that is tucked away amid the hustle and bustle of what was once a jewel in the crown of British India


Joydeep Sengupta

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Published: Tue 21 Dec 2021, 11:03 PM

Which is the best view of the iconic Victoria Memorial — a large marble building that was built between 1906 and 1921 and dedicated to the memory of British Empress Victoria — in central Kolkata?

On a whirlwind trip to my hometown, I saw the landmark in all its glory from the Glenburn Penthouse as the mellow winter sunset and the evening was spread against an overcast Kolkata sky.

The ninth floor of Kanak Towers — a colonial building in the business district of central Kolkata on the Russell Street-Park Street area and where the Glenburn Penthouse is housed — offers a majestic view of Victoria Memorial and Kolkata Maidan, the lungs of the City of Joy.

An experiential getaway

The Glenburn Penthouse is a discreet and elegant experiential getaway that is tucked away amid the hustle and bustle of central Kolkata, which seldom sleeps.

The boutique property, which is spread across three floors (7th-9th), exudes stunning landmark views and is a treasure trove of antique Bengal furniture and art as an ode to its colonial past.

Hindoostan wallpaper adorns the drawing and dining rooms that depict scenes of rural India from a bygone era.

The balcony and tea veranda overlooking Victoria Memorial are perfect for outdoor dining, and where breakfast and afternoon tea is served.

The Infinity swimming pool on the ninth floor is the perfect setting for a leisurely dip and relaxation.

The terraces, which have vintage fans, white wicker furniture, tropical plants, and marble floors, are used for the better part of the year.

Brand Glenburn

Husna-Tara Prakash, who has powered the Glenburn brand of tea-and-hospitality, is the guiding force behind the stylish boutique penthouse since October 2018.

The exquisite property’s expert guides conduct historical and academic tours of Kolkata. Husna-Tara says, “Our philosophy is to create intimate havens of sophisticated luxury where visitors can deepen their understanding of local culture, history and cuisine as we indulge our special guests.”

The rooms — four Grand Bengal and five Calcutta Suites — offer breathtaking views of a city steeped in her colonial past.

Grand Bengal Suites are known by their distinctive names:

Victoria Suite: It has a king-size bed and direct views of Victoria Memorial and the Calcutta Maidan.

Maidan Suite: It has a king-size bed, direct views of Victoria Memorial and a private balcony overlooking the Calcutta Maidan.

Park Suite: It has a private sitting area with chaise lounge acting as a third bed, private veranda and terrace. There is also an interconnecting door from the terrace to the Chowringhee Suite.

Similarly, the five Calcutta Suites are also known by their distinctive names and are inspired by the places they look out towards:

Eden Suite: It has a king-size bed, chaise lounge which also acts as an extra bed, views of the Calcutta Maidan, and indirect views of Victoria Memorial.

Russell Suite: It has a king size bed, city views and a private balcony.

Loreto Suite: This suite has twin beds and a view towards Loreto Convent, Park Street and central Kolkata. The twin beds are four-poster king single sizes (approximately four feet wide).

Middleton Suite: It has a king-size bed.

Hooghly Suite: It has twin beds and a view towards the Calcutta Racecourse, and a corner of Victoria Memorial. The twin beds are four poster king single sizes.

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