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Published on: May 30, 2022, 2:22 p.m.
Polo Floatel offers a date with maritime world
  • The reception: giving a feel of the maritime world; Courtesy: Polo Floatel

By Sajal Bose. Deputy Editor, Business India

Been there, done that! Here is an experience for the jaded palate. A unique reminiscence of maritime legacy, the iconic Polo Floatel offers inspired hospitality on the bank of Hooghly River in the City of Joy. 

Anchored next to Millennium Park on the Strand Road, this riverfront property, flanked by heritage Howrah Bridge and the Vidyasagar Setu (second Hooghly bridge), this truly boutique hotel on Ganges in Kolkata offers unparalleled city views including sunrise and sunset. It also offers boat rides, guided city heritage tours showcasing the rich history and culture of Kolkata and romantic candle light dinners with panoramic views of the cityscape on demand. Lucky ones can also see river dolphins. 

Owned by Hotel Polo Tower group, The Polo Floatel, stresses on de-stressing and exclusive privacy. “This is the only floating hotel in the country,” claims Deval Tibrewalla, CEO of the group. “It is designed to give more than just a vacation. We have all types of guests coming to our property like business executives, leisure travellers, foreign tourists, weddings and MICE,” Tibrewalla adds.

Floatel was built on a barge in Singapore and brought to Kolkata by the city-based Manor Floatel. The company managed the property till 2018, before it was referred to NCLT as it failed to pay back the loan. Hotel Polo Towers group, one of the largest hotel chains in North-east India, with more than 11 hotels and cafes, bought the Floatel through the NCLT bidding process in 2018.

It refurbished the massive structure and re-opened its doors as Polo Floatel. Today, Tibrewalla and his wife Srishti are running the property successfully.  After two years of lull due to Covid, it has now achieved a high average occupancy rate of 85-90 per cent.

Making meaningful connection

 Polo Floatel has not scrimped on the mod-cons and yet carries a strong traditional line, with its antique furniture, bric-a-brac and paintings. The eco-friendly boutique hotel showcases re-imagined design elements to provide meaningful connection to local culture, while enhancing the facilities for an elevated guest experience. “We have restored several priceless antiques like artefacts and paintings,” says Srishti, a designer who oversees the decoration of the property. “And, we have also added many collected by us across the world.” 

It has a large car parking area. The reception is quite amusing, painted with marine blue with several shipping paraphernalia including a giant ship steering wheel hanging from the ceiling. The reception area and the hotel are connected with a jetty. The Polo Floatel emphasises on discreet understated service, the property manager personally greets each guest.

The hotel has 58 cabins, with beautiful interiors that reflect its maritime style. It offers six categories of cabins – Strand View Cabins, River View Cabins, River View Suite with Balcony, Strand view Suite with Balcony, Strand View Heritage Suite with Deck and River View Heritage Suite with Deck. The cabins are crafted to perfection and guests can wake up to serene views of the river Ganges and the city beyond. Plastic is not encouraged in the cabins, which feature eclectic decor elements.

There are also specially sourced map designs in the cabins, reflecting the old Calcutta of the erstwhile Raj, which serve as a perfect way to contrast the changed riverside of today with those of the old. The rack rate for the cabins varies from Rs4,500 to Rs7,500. Interestingly, the city doesn’t have any luxury hotel situated on the bank of the river.  

Bridge Bistro Bar is the multi-cuisine restaurant on board. The chef is completely versatile and can dish up anything the guest wants on a one-on-one basis. There is a well-stocked wine cellar to accompany the tasty dishes. 

The adventure of staying on the Ganges in a pollution-free environment with warm hospitality is making all the difference. 

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