Friday, October 19, 2012

Stay at Kolkata: Casa Fortuna

I short listed some hotels for our stay at Kolkata. The typical middle-class me tried different deals to get some discounts. Make my Trip was one of those. But later, I realized that you get a better deal by directly talking with the hotel rather than going through any agent. Especially, if you are not clubbing it with a tour package.
I also learned that using TripAdvisor is like using a spell-check in MS Word. Some things may not fit your requirement but are still okayed. This applies especially to Kolkata Hotels.
The hotel we selected, Casa Fortuna, ranked 7 as per TripAdvisor, was Rs. 6000/- per day for a teeny-weeny room. An extra bed, and there was no room for maneuvering. We had to wait to give space when another person walked by. They are so crunched for space that the bathroom had a sliding door with a mirror which doubled up as a dressing table. If you have the other person in the room wanting to use the bathroom, you find your dressing table sliding away like in a bhooth-wala cinema.  The room reeked of cigarette smell, doubly unbearable as none in my family smoke. On complaining, we had some kind of a triangular devise which was said to absorb the smell! 
We arrived in batches of two. One person in the morning as per his train timing and two of us by the noon flight. This was clearly told to the hotel. Upon arriving at around 1330 or so, we were very starved as we had had a meager breakfast at 0730 before we caught the flight to Kolkata.A welcome drink was part of the deal. We had to ask for this welcome drink (imagine). And then it arrives a good forty minutes later as we were just about to leave for lunch. Sometimes a warm moist napkin accompanies your welcome drink but what I was unprepared for was a small towel almost dripping with water along with our drink (canned juice). 
The house-keeping services were pathetic too. When we left the hotel for lunch and came back late evening, we found that the dishes ordered for breakfast were still not cleared though someone had stepped into the room to take away the smell-absorbing device.
And due to the highly congested traffic, during the time of check out, we barely were left with any time to talk to the hotel for the discount discussed earlier, and though we overstayed by 2 1/2 hours, we were charged for one extra day despite the fact that we had had complementary breakfast only on two days and not three days which is supposed to be a part of the package.
To top it all, the hotel calls itself a Boutique Hotel. LOL! They need to search for the meaning of the term before calling themselves one.
If one were to pay the same amount in Hyderabad, one gets a far superior room and amenities. For less than half this price, we got an excellent room, much larger and with same amenities in a tiny town like Rourkela (Hotel Radhika) in 2010. And to our great surprise, it had such a vast spread for a breakfast, that we couldn't do justice to even half the fare.
Casa Fortuna, the plus: Proximity to many significant places, including the Metro. A decent breakfast buffet. Noise-free room. No unnecessary intrusion from the staff.
My take away: Take any review of Kokata Hotels with sackfuls of salt as the expectations of a room, amenities and service seems pretty low. Rooms priced as they are with the service provided would not last two weeks in a city like Hyderabad where hotels are compelled to provide services exceeding expectations all the time.