< INDIA | KOLKATA: The Oberoi Grand
The "Grande Dame of Chowringhee" had humble beginnings as Mrs Monte’s Boarding House with the address 13, Chowringhee Street. The building was
during time acquired by Armenian real-estate baron Arrathoon Stephen, who opened a 3-storey 500-room hotel, after the first hotel burned down in 1911.
Althought its architect remained unknown, the Neo-classical building holds the curiosity as no two rooms are identical in the hotel when it comes to dimensions.
The Grand was one of the first buildings in Kolkata to have an hydraulic lift installed while on the site of the lobby of today's Oberoi Grand, originally stood the Palm Court, authentically lush and green. Here the city's elite congregated on a Sunday morning over tall glasses of beer or more demure refreshment for thier lady wives.
One of the many extravagant entertainments that took place durign the Stephen's guidance, was the New Year's party, with expensive gifts as a part of the festive table settings.
In 1937, the hotel which formerly stood as a luxury palace, closed its doors during the Cholera outbreak and as the result of death of six guests and severe illness among the family and household. It remained empty until 1939, while at the start of World War II, 1500 beds were made available to the British Army, when thousands of troops filled Kolkata.
Today, events like the U.S. Marines' Ball at the hotel remind visitors of regularly parties of that period.
During time, the Oberoi Grand Hotel has become a landmark in the city of Kolkata and a symbol of the highest standards of hospitality. Standing stately for over 125 years it provided accomodation for the rich and famous, and it has recently been chosen as the Best Luxury Hotel in India in Travellers’ Choice Awards.
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