Fodor's Expert Review Oberoi Amarvilas
Taj East Gate Rd., Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India See on Map Fodor's Choice
One of India's best resorts emulates the opulent lifestyle of the Mughal emperors—complete with a breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal. Out of all of the hotels in India, this one might have the most unbeatable location, just steps from the Taj Mahal. While Agra is a dusty and chaotic city completely swarming with tourists from all over the world, the Oberoi Amarvilas is a luxurious respite and a completely peaceful experience. The view from this hotel is absolutely breathtaking (not to mention one-of-a-kind; no other hotel is nearly as close to the Taj), but even without the view, this would be a hotel worth visiting for luxurious rooms, manicured gardens, relaxing pools, and fine-dining options.
Rooms are comfortably appointed with fluffy white beds and teak furniture. But, it’s not what’s in the room that counts--it’s what’s outside. The claim to fame here is that every room has a view of the Taj Mahal and a private patio on which to enjoy the view. While the view is better from the higher floors (where the luxury suites are located), even standard rooms have a million-dollar view.
The bathrooms in standard rooms are spacious with a separate tub and shower (but no view unfortunately). In the luxury suites, the bathrooms are especially noteworthy; from there, you can shower or soak in a tub with a view of the Taj Mahal.
The lobby is an expansive room decked out in white marble with a giant dome and glittering chandelier. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the dining patios, the pool, the manicured gardens, and the Taj Mahal in the distance.
The lovely lapis-colored pool is ideal for cooling off after a sweltering hot day exploring the Taj. There are lounge chairs and umbrellas, and a grotto where you can escape the sun.
The spa is located in the basement, but treatment rooms are located on the top floor, providing a perfect view.
There are two restaurants here: an all-day dining restaurant that serves both Indian and international cuisine (not to mention an incredible breakfast buffet) and Esphahan, a fine-dining restaurant that's only open for dinner, serving local Lucknowi cuisine made in a tandoor oven.
Esphahan restaurant is worth a visit even if you're not staying at the hotel, but reservations are essential.
The hotel can provide transportation from the airport in Delhi or the train station in Agra. The hotel also provides transportation in a golf cart to the front gate of the Taj Mahal, and they can also arrange a guide and tickets.
Dasaprakash (25-minute drive) serves light and spicy South Indian dishes, while Pinch of Spic (20-minute drive) offers a taste of Mughal cuisine in a sleek setting.
There's no nightlife in Agra, but guests can enjoy drinks on the hotel patio.
WHY WE LIKE IT
While this hotel would be worth a lovely visit anywhere on earth, the location just steps from the Taj Mahal makes this a truly spectacular property. For some, this level of special treatment and disconnect from the world outside the walls might feel a little odd. But, if you value peace and privacy, this is the best way to visit the Taj Mahal.