That a hotel like this can exist in a place like Agra is amazing. While Agra does have some nice old colonial architecture which you can spy while whizzing by in a car, there is not much else in the town to recommend it, other than the obvious world class tourist sites in the vicinity. Simply put, Agra is quite an unpleasant and dirty place, and the Oberoi is a fantastic refuge.
I think the most amazing aspects of this hotel are the views over the Taj Mahal from all of the rooms, and the fantastic grounds. Looking out from our balcony, I was totally wowed by what I saw. The pool is simply magnificent and huge. The surrounding Mughal style gardens were filled with fourntains and small flowing rivers of water. Peaceful and visually stunning. Perfection.
The rooms of the hotel are also quite nice, although I did think our rooms were on the small side. The furnshings were Indian in style, but despite this, the room did seem a little lacking in personality. No major deficiency, but something just felt missing to me., In addition, I found the windows a bit shabby, with peeling and poorly applied a paint. It was a little incongruous with the rest of the room, which was very well kept. The bathrooms, however, are large, and very well equipped. Lovely large marble showers and amenities. These are nitpicky complaints, but for the price, the rooms are not the strongest suit of the hotel.
I enjoyed the hotel's restaurants, and there aren't any good alternatives in the area, that I could see, so you are pretty much going to patronize the hotel's restaurants. Breakfast was good. In particular, we enjoyed the South Indian breakfast at the hotel. However, the breakfast service was quite uneven despite what appeared to be an adequate number of staff. One morning, it took us at least ten minutes to get a cup of coffee in an almost empty breakfast room. When the coffee finally arrived, it was cold. Staff did apologize, but the breakfast service could be improved.
The Indian restaurant for dinner was quite memorable, especially with the live sitar and tabla music which was provided nightly. The restaurant itself is richly decorated with Indian fabrics and is lovely. However, the food was uneven. The chicken curry which was advertised on the menu as spicy, barely had any flavour. When we mentioned this to the staff, they quickly removed the charge from our bill, which was quite unexpected. The second night we ate at the restaurant, the food was much better. I loved the Indian pancake dessert on the menu. It was delicious. And the music just transformed this dining experience into a simply sublime memory.
The hotel has several nice shops under its roof, including a very nice bookstore and a branch of the Gem Palace of Jaipur with beautiful jewelry items to buy. I was quite pleased to find them, as we were not going to Jaipur on this trip.
So, this hotel really is a little miracle in Agra. It's not perfect, but it is quite astonishing and memorable in many respects. If you are going to Agra, you should stay here if at all possible. Now that I've seen the Taj Mahal twice, I don't think I will go back to this area of India again, but I will always have great memories of our stay at the Oberoi.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Taj Mahal is extraordinary as much for what it is as how it has escaped the banality of cliché. For 350 years, this monument evokes a sense of wonder. Only by being there can you witness its true majesty, its symmetry, its setting and the delicacy of its carved marble inlaid with precious stones. Now just suppose you were to overlook it from your hotel room? The Oberoi Amarvilas is 600 metres from this tribute to love. The lavish interiors and elaborate gardens add to the serenity of the scene. The guestrooms are palatial: all have magical views and are luxuriously furnished with traditional fabrics, white marble, hand-crafted ornaments and every modern amenity. There is a luxury spa offering a range of therapies, a swimming pool where snacks and drinks are served; an ornamented ballroom and fine restaurants to suit the international palate. But the lobby lounge is a feast for the eye designed, as it was, around that glorious view of the Taj Mahal. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel Agra
- Oberoi Hotel Agra
- Oberoi Agra
- Agra Oberoi
- Amarvilas Agra