Most Calcuttans would romanticise the idea of cha, singara, and shorshe maach for lunch on Sundays. The same Bengali ethos is relayed by The Mandeville, a charming Bed & Breakfast in one of the quaint frangipani-lined lanes of Ballygunge.
An unassuming entrance leads you to the quirky reception, where a dissected Ambassador greets you with the boot of the car acting as a couch. The wooden panelling, floorboards, and cast iron arches have all been hauled from old Zamindari houses in the city to recreate a 70s Kolkata vibe; a monochrome painting of the iconic hand-pulled rickshaw further adds to the charm.
Owner Priti Sen Arora says, “The Mandeville is an oasis in the City of Joy that aims to seamlessly blend nostalgia with modern amenities creating a B&B offering for an authentic experience.” The outdoor garden-style atrium has a cosy vibe, with cast iron arches and stain glass windows. It serves Indian and English breakfast over cups of tea and if you’re looking to explore more, they recommend taking the rickshaw stationed at The Mandeville to the nearby Karma Kettle. Five minutes away, it offers a large spread of breakfast, munchies, and high-tea. For mains, they suggest Kasturi Restaurant that serves traditional Bengali fare.
Owners Dhiraj Arora and Priti Sen Arora have put in a lot of thought that is evident as you walk up the stairs – small elements tie into the socio-cultural scenario featuring the infamous Kalighat Paintings, local artworks, harmonium and tanpura, and a vintage typewriter – highlighting the city’s character.
The rooms have four poster beds, kitchenette, colonial-style switchboards, leisurely tram, and paintings of a jhalmuri wala. Tiffany lamps add to the vintage element. The rustic wooden finish and neutral shades of brown and beige add warmth; there’s also a snug corner where you can sit and let your imagination run wild over cups of cha and pneyaji (pakoras) every evening.
“We would like guests to step back in time and experience the Calcutta of a bygone era. Showcase artwork that celebrates the spirit and history of the city. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the labyrinth of streets, consume art deco architecture in South Kolkata, savour Bengali cuisine, and shop like a local at vibrant bazaars,” added Sen Arora.
Opened earlier this year, The Mandeville is stuck in a time wrap, exclusively for those who wish to be part of an immersive experience in Kolkata.
Address: 7D, Anil Maitra Road, Ballygunge Place
Contact: +91 87770 90903
Price: Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500 per night, exclusive of taxes
All images: Courtesy The Mandeville