Old Calcutta Hotels

Old Calcutta known for its spectacular old-world glory, with the British-Raj designed architectural marvels and capital of India, had some magnificent hotels and restaurants...some had the distinctions of First in Asia.

Asia's first luxury hotel, The Great Eastern is a heritage landmark being the longest continuously operating hotel for 165 years. Built in 1841 as Auckland Hotel, it has been referred to as the 'Jewel of the East' and the 'Best Hotel East of the Suez'. Over the years, the hotel has been the favourite haunt of royalty and celebrities from across the world. It is now "The Lalit Great Eastern", restored to its original glory, is an amalgamation of the styles of 3 different eras of history – Victorian, Edwardian and Contemporary, reflected in Heritage Block 1, Heritage Block 2 and the New Block respectively. The original Heritage Block radiates the charm of the British Colonial Era, while the New Block incorporates a contemporary look and feel. These blocks have been seamlessly connected despite their distinct character and decor.

Firpo's Restaurant in Chowringhee in the year 1917

Firpo's Restaurant in Calcutta was established after the Great World War I around 1917by Angelo Firpo, an Italian birth and culture. He opened several famous restaurants, a tea room that was favorite spot for the high society, a renowned pastry shop and a popular catering service that delighted Lord Irwin, the Viceroy and Governor of India, several Maharajas and other important dignitaries. His refined cuisine made him famous worldwide. The restaurant produced bread for the entire Bengal region and it had a turnover of one billion liras at the time.

Spence's Hotel & St. John's Cathedral, Calcutta, 1858-61

The last photo from the above is a hand-coloured print of Spence's Hotel, Calcutta, from the Fiebig Collection: Views of Calcutta and Surrounding Districts, taken by Frederick Fiebig in 1851. This is a view looking south along Clive Street, with Spence's Hotel on the right and the grounds of Government House on the left.

Spence's Hotel (Estd. 1830), Calcutta.

Spence's Hotel (now not in existence) was one of the first hotels in Calcutta, opened in 1830. It was necessitated due to the large numbers of visitors coming to Calcutta from Britain and other parts of India. As the Government encroached on buildings around Government House, Spence's Hotel was moved to another location before eventually being demolished.

The Great Eastern Calcutta, 1836

The Great Eastern Hotel is a colonial era hotel in the Indian city of Calcutta. The hotel was established in 1840 or 1841; at a time when Calcutta, the seat of the East India Company, was the most important city in India. Referred to as "the Jewel of the East" in its heyday, Great Eastern Hotel hosted several notable persons visiting the city.

It was established by David Wilson as the Auckland Hotel, named after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, then Governor General of India.] Prior to opening the hotel, Wilson ran a bakery at the same site. The hotel opened with 100 rooms and a department store on the ground floor (Spence's Hotel, established in 1830 but no longer in existence, is considered to be the first major hotel in Calcutta). The Auckland was expanded in the 1860s and its managing company renamed from D. Wilson and Co. to Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. In 1883, it was electrified, and is thought to be the first such hotel in India. It was also amongst the first to have an Indian on its board of directors, in 1859. It became the Great Eastern Hotel in 1915.