Kolkata, East India, India

The Fairlawn is, quite simply, a Calcutta institution. Located on the corner of Madge Lane and Sudder Street, it stands in the heart of the city’s cultural enclave, only a short walk from the Indian Museum.

In the same family for more than seven decades, it’s a steadfastly old-fashioned guest house run with enduring efficiency by the venerable Violet Smith, who was born and raised here but is no more Indian than her full English breakfasts.

The building itself is a real period piece, dating from 1783, and wonderfully well preserved under its coat of green paint. Memorabilia from colonial times crams the upstairs sitting room and landing, where Felicity Kendall (née Bragg) and her thespian family lived between tours of British India, and where her elder sister and Bollywood heartthrob, Shashi Kapoor, spent their honeymoon.

Our opinion

A clean and comfy b&b with oodles of history and charm.

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