Raichak is primarily known for the sprawling Raichak-On-Ganges, a complex of private homes and hotels, which serves as a leisurely weekend getaway (about 2 hours by road) for Kolkata’s families. The complex’s newest property, Anaya Kutir, is hoping to attract a different kind of holidaymaker, specifically travellers who wouldn’t mind indulging in a luxurious holiday.
The views are good all around; each of the 19 duplex villas surrounds the pool, so you’re close enough to enjoy tea on the terrace or stroll out through the French windows and dive into the pool. The architecture draws inspiration from Mediterranean and Moroccan themes, so blue and white dominate the interiors. You can also lounge in the open-air bubble baths on the terrace that allow for views of the Ganga.
The star attraction at Anaya Kutir is the Anaya Spa run by French cosmetics company L’Occitane. There are a range of treatments on offer, including some locally inspired ones like the Holy Ganges Sand Scrub that uses river mud, honey and hibiscus essential oils. The spa building is thoughtfully designed; a pond is surrounded by a white, round stone structure and brick-red walkways that lead to just a handful of treatment rooms, including intimate set-ups with jacuzzis for couples.
This sort of holiday is about two things: luxury and food. You can spend your days alternating between spa sessions and long bouts of lazing by Anaya Kutir’s pool, munching on healthy food from its in-house restaurant that is kind to your waistline without sacrificing flavour.
If you visit during winter, make sure you have the nolen gur ice cream. You will absolutely not regret it.
The complex also hosts other restaurants that are well-worth a meal. Definitely have the Bengali thali at Sonar Tori. If you are planning to have lunch at the restaurant, you might want to make space by skipping breakfast.
You can also explore the areas outside Raichak. About half-an-hour away is the town of Diamond Harbour with its centuries-old fort, a remnant from the Raj, still crumbling on the beach. The town doesn’t boast many tourist facilities but its Marine Drive is a great walk along the Ganga and you can stop by for some hot chop (a fried potato vada) and moori (puffed rice) along with chai served in kulhads as you enjoy the sunset. Other excursions include a day trip to the quiet beaches of Bakkhali, dotted with casuarina trees. Anaya Kutir will organise a ferry and a car to the beach.
Even if you don’t leave the Raichak complex during your stay, try and squeeze in a sunset cruise on the Ganga. The views will not disappoint.
Getting there Anaya Kutir is part of the Raichak-On-Ganges complex, about 70km/3hr from Kolkata airport. The hotel organises pick-ups and drops from the airport.
Anaya Kutir, Raichak-On-Ganges, West Bengal. (raichakonganges.com)
Kamakshi Ayyar is a former member of NGT India's digital team. She is partial to places by the sea and desserts in all forms. When she isn't raving about food, she's usually rambling on about the latest cosmic mysteries. She tweets as @kamakshi138.