The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
What We Love
- Spectacular views of the Taj Mahal from all rooms
- Design and decor transport you to the splendor of 17th-century India
- Swimming among the columns in the outdoor pool, which is set in a Mughal era–inspired terraced garden
- Intuitive staff with an enthusiasm for the Taj Mahal that never wanes
- Live Indian music and dance performances that add to the romance of an already impossibly romantic setting
What To Know
- The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays — keep this in mind when choosing your dates
- Dress sharp. The Amarvilas’s bellhops are better dressed than most businessmen
- Book two nights if you want to have time to explore the opulent hotel grounds
- The house restaurants are popular with non-guests, so make reservations
- The hotel is within walking distance of the Taj, but nothing else. You’ll need a car and driver to explore Agra
- Parking On Site
The Oberoi Amarvilas is the place for travelers who want to see the world’s most famous mausoleum from all sorts of angles, and to live (at least for a night or two) in a state of luxury fit for a Mughal emperor. From the marble lobby to every elegant room, the world’s greatest tribute to undying love is always on show, and the resort’s splendid architecture and rich interiors are a throwback to a time when princesses were aplenty in Agra. Just 600 meters away, it’s the closest hotel to the Taj, and it gives guests an exceptionally intimate encounter with the world wonder.
Bed and Bath
The 102 guestrooms echo the art and history of the Mughal Empire, with decorative marble inlay tables and hand-knotted carpets. The interiors showcase meticulous traditional craftsmanship and attention to detail, but all eyes are drawn to the Taj, which can be seen from every room. Mod cons including flat-screen TVs, DVD players and walk-in closets are standard, as is personalized butler service. The spacious marble bathrooms are stocked with a basket of ayurvedic products.
The pool and gardens embody the same sublime aesthetic found in the grounds and fountains of the Taj. The lone traces of contemporary design are in the restaurants: Bellevue, which serves a breakfast buffet of dizzying variety, and Esphahan, where diners can try fine Indian food accompanied by live sitar and tabla performances. Before dinner enjoy a glass of champagne on the terrace bar at sunset as a dancer performs her nightly salute to the mausoleum from across the pool. If the luxe accommodations don’t make you feel like royalty, the super-attentive staff surely will. You can count on it for expert tips about visiting the Taj, which vary depending on the season and the latest preservation regulations.
In the Area
The Archaeological Survey of India offers about five night tours of the Taj Mahal a month (around the full moon). Tickets are very limited, so book as far ahead as possible. Take the one-hour trip to Fatehpur Sikri; the onetime capital of the Mughal Empire was abandoned 14 years after its construction in the late 16th century, and it retains an air of mystery today. If you don’t want to haggle over the price of souvenirs, visit the Marble Emporium. You’ll spend a little more, but you won’t have to wonder if you’re paying for marble but getting soapstone. Agra Fort would be the signature monument in any other city, but it inevitably gets overshadowed by the Taj Mahal. See where Shah Jahan, the creator of the Taj, lived and ruled. A nightly light and sound show takes place at 7:30 p.m.
How to Get There
With the perfect view - Taj by the night and awesome cocktails it couldn’t have been any better. This place can not be given a miss. Avoid sitting out for long unless you love mosquito bites though I didn’t compromise as the view was too beautiful. Awesome hospitality is always synonymous with The Oberoi. Hope to visit soon this time for a stay.
We arrived at our hotel to be greeted with a warm reception. The entrance to the hotel acts like the first part of a play leading you to the dramatic conclusion and reveal of the Taj through open patio doors.
Only then do you take in the wonderful pool and gardens you are gazing over.
Our room was on the top floor, had a wonderful view of the Taj, and at sunset we gazed over to the nearby house tops from where kites arose and were bouncing through the warm breezes.
A wonderful introduction to the Taj where on our visit in April, the weather was perfect and at sunrise we almost had the Taj to ourselves!!!
The room was well appointed and a welcoming fruit bowl appreciated but its the view that dominates our memory.
The restaurant provided delicious choices and we were entertained by a highly accomplished Santoor player who was subtle but audible.
At breakfast the staff were very welcoming, were willing to engage in conversation, listen to your food tastes and provide well targeted recommendations from the expansive and enticing breakfast menu and buffet.
Golf carts are available to take guests to and from the Taj for a 5 minute trip but a walk through a public park on the way was a nice way of watching locals enjoy their own tourist experience.
The carts allow you to make several visits at differing times of the day but an internal tour at sunrise allowed for quiet enjoyment and reflection both of the construction but also while taking in the view over the river and the sounds of the town waking up.
We were made to feel very welcome at this hotel from our arrival to departure.
In terms of the Taj we were very lucky that it was not being renovated but I note that the dome is to cleaned some time soon so you may like to work your bookings around that. Thoroughly recommend the time of year we traveled.
There are honestly not enough words to share my happiness and gratitude to all the staff here at the hotel. I had a warm welcome and they made sure to first ensure I was comfortable after my long journey before checking me in. The massage was awesome, the level of detail and care put into every single interaction with all staff was remarkable, my room was stunning, the food was great, the whole experience was amazing...I travel a great deal around the world and never have I had the same experience anywhere else...highly recommended!
Everything about this hotel lives up to and exceeds expectations. We traveled as a family and from the moment we arrived to the moment we departed nothing was too much trouble. Not only does it have fabulous facilities what really sets is apart are the staff at the hotel where their whole approach is how they can make things better for the guests. The kids had welcome gifts and milk & cookies for when they arrived ... a really nice touch. All the dining experiences in the hotel are 1st class and rooms are very tastefully decorated. You have a perfect view of the Taj and for your actual visit the hotel arranges entrance tickets and the golf buggy down to the entrance. Yes its expensive, but definitely worth it and definitely lived up to expectations. All of this combined ensure that our visit to the Taj Mahal was definitely a life experience to remember.
Seeing the Taj Mahal was a bucket list item for me, and when I learned there was an Oberoi (1 of 2 in Agra) with balconies facing the Taj, we absolutely had to stay here. Our expectations based on reputation were high, and the hotel delivered.
The balcony view was divine, worth every penny day or night. Though the Taj isn't lit, seeing its silhouette by moonlight was special. Our first night, we splurged on dinner served on our balcony, which was actually quite reasonably priced given the amount of food and the location. If you choose this option, prepare for a three hour, five course marathon of a thali, but it was a phenomenal introduction to Indian food, using a variety of vegetables in season (May) and grown locally. There was a nice wine list, and turns out a variety of different whites pair nicely with Indian cuisine.
The hotel provided golf cart service to and from the Taj, a nice touch, and the staff was warm and friendly. A special shout out to Mandeep, who served us our balcony dinner, and was in the restaurant the next AM - not sure he ever sleeps.
The breakfast buffet was phenomenal - fruits, cereals, yogurt, pastries, and a variety of both Indian and western breakfasts. Try the dosa, a huge, rolled up pancake made of lentils stuffed with your choice of items (we chose curried potatoes) with a variety of dipping sauces.
The room was generally fantastic - just some minor quibbles - the shower drain was slow (turns out this was an issue throughout India), and there was only 1 sink with no real space to hold toiletries, but if you can, absolutely stay here.