Calcutta: Oberoi Grand

Built in the 1880s near the green acreage of the Maidan, this colonial hotel sits imposingly in the center of Calcutta. It is a quintessential example of the city’s iconic architecture—porte cochere, white stucco arches, a central courtyard of palms (now with a pool and bar), and large high-ceilinged guest rooms with French windows, many overlooking the garden (as did my four-room suite, no. 201). There are several places to eat, including a Thai restaurant, and there’s a spa for steam baths and massages by Thai staff who pummel the strains of travel from your body. The front desk is extremely attentive (the concerned concierge murmured to me one morning as I hurried across the enormous lobby, “I understand that Madam did not eat her breakfast…”). Anything can be arranged at your request: entry to the private Turf Club at the racecourse, a car and driver (complete with white sailor’s cap), a walking tour with a Calcutta architect, tapes of films by Bengal’s renowned director Satyajit Ray, hand-delivered letters, even custom khaki covers for your luggage made overnight. From $450 to $1,400. At 15 Jawaharlal Nehru Rd.; 91-33/2249-2323;