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In the recent rack rush for five-star rooms along the Bypass and in Rajarhat, a cosy and contemporary boutique hotel, promising “streamlined comfort and hi-tech efficiency”, has quietly come up in the heart of south Calcutta. The 24-room Metropole (174, Sarat Bose Road), promoted by city realtor Nandu Belani of the Belani Group in partnership with Kanan Tondon, has been designed by young architect Ajay Arya and is run by ABNM Restaurant Pvt Ltd of Red Hot Chilli Pepper fame. The straight-line, minimalist approach and a futuristic facade bears a striking resemblance to Naumi, the latest design hotel in Singapore which reflects the same cosmopolitan look with personalised and subtle luxury, and, interestingly, is refurbished from the previous Metropole Hotel. “The design is very masculine, with a lot of steel and glass, while the use of Wenge, brushed steed and leather gives the rooms an earthy feel,” Arya points out. A series of black and white photographs of Calcutta’s colonial architecture and its festivals are framed tastefully to capture the metropolis in a microcosm for the outstation guest. The intimate experience kicks off at the groovy reception lobby itself, designed like a traventino (a rustic Italian store), and the thread is carried forward to the rooms, with their high headboards and dark wood-and-leather finish. Red Express, the 60-seater multi-cuisine all-day dining lair, marries a classic bohemian concept with contemporary sensibilities. While Arya has used the base colours of black, red and silver, the red doesn’t scream at you, limited to elements like napkins and stirrers. “We have laid out a very basic coffee-shop menu, spanning the genres of Chinese, north Indian and Continental. There’s also a sprinkling of Thai dishes like the Kang Gai (sliced chicken in Thai red curry),” explains Bharat Dhamala, director and chef, ABNM Restaurant Pvt Ltd, owners of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper brand. One can enjoy a Caesar Salad with Shrimps or Pan Fried Chilli Tofu against the pastoral backdrop of old wood planks from rail tracks, with the gentle wash of light from suspended lanterns resembling classic oil lamps of yore. “Normally we develop a residential or commercial property and sell it off. The idea with Metropole was to retain an asset and also use it as a toe-hold to enter the hospitality fray,” says Belani. His partner Tondon feels Metropole would appeal to the growing breed of business travellers “who seek cosy comfort outside a five-star ambience”. The Rs 10-crore, “strictly non-smoking” boutique hotel is offering an introductory entry tariff of Rs 3,500 per room night, with the card rates ranging from Rs 4,200 to Rs 5,500. Room roster • 24 rooms in three categories • 60-seater all-day dining • Conference room • High-speed Internet • Business centre Source : Telegraph India