The Oberoi Amarvilas offers luxurious serenity with unbeatable views of the Taj Mahal.
There are hotels with a view, and then there are hotels with a one-of-a-kind view of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Oberoi Amarvilas is just that: the only hotel in Agra, India (home of the Taj Mahal) with a view of the world-famous shrine to love.
Since visiting Agra can be a headache (there’s no airport, it’s a four-hour drive from the traffic-clogged Delhi airport, and it’s a dusty and chaotic town), visitors on a strict schedule might be better off skipping the Taj Mahal altogether. However, if you can afford it, the Oberoi Amarvilas turns a potentially stressful experience into something peaceful, luxurious, and worry-free. All you have to do is make sure the batteries in your camera are charged.
Arrival into Agra is not the most pleasant or romantic experience–but at least it’s interesting. From the highway, buses and cars make their way down narrow streets lined with vendors and full of every kind of vehicle: tour buses, private coaches, taxis, rickshaws, bicycles, and horse-drawn carriages, not to mention a crowd of tourists, vendors, locals, and dogs.
If you arrive at sunset, you might be able to see the backlit outline of the Taj Mahal through the smog. The Taj Mahal is famously not lit up at night, meaning that at sunset, the color of the marble changes from white to a dusty pink. After the sun goes down, you can see the Taj faintly glowing.
There’s a gate in the middle of the road, and once past that, there are no cars allowed (unless of course, you’re staying at the Oberoi Amarvilas). The gates of the hotel open into another world with cascading fountains, soft candlelight, and a host of friendly hotel employees to welcome you to the most peaceful place in Agra. From the imposing marble lobby, there’s a faint glimpse of the Taj Mahal, but the best view is from the patio, where guests can see the imposing Wonder of the World, where Shah Jahan built a marble mausoleum for his wife in 1632.
The view is incredible from the lobby and the main floor, but it only gets better the higher you get. Every room here has a view of the Taj Mahal and a large patio on which to enjoy it. While the second and third floors have standard (but still incredibly luxurious) rooms with unbeatable views, the fourth floor has a million-dollar view (and the price tag to match). Here, you’ll find the most luxurious suites–ones that have housed royalty and foreign leaders who have come to visit India’s most iconic landmark.
The spa treatment rooms are also located on the fourth floor, meaning that you can add “getting a massage” to the list of things you can do here with a view of the Taj Mahal. Other items on the list include:
- Have room service deliver a champagne feast and have brunch with a view of the Taj
- Request a private yoga class with a view of the Taj
- Shower in a glassed-in shower with a view of the Taj in one of the fourth-floor luxury suites
- Swim in the refreshing lapis-colored pool with a view of the Taj
- Have a sunset drink at the bar with a view of the Taj
INSIDER TIPInsider Tip: Prince William and Kate Middleton once stayed in this exact suite and, presumably, showered with a view of the Taj.
While staying here is almost as good as visiting the Taj Mahal, since you’ve made it this far, go ahead and see it up close and personal. This is where the hotel’s location is important: It’s walking distance, but there’s a golf cart shuttle to take guests directly to the front entrance. The hotel will even organize tickets (which can be tricky) and a guide.
Once you’ve visited the Taj Mahal, the view from the hotel might be even better now that you know the history and lore surrounding this famous monument.