by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 19, 2019
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – Agra’s first 5-star hotel still offers colonial-style elegance and oodles of traditional charm.
Almost hidden down a quiet street in Agra Cantonment, an area of defense housing, this property is a genuine surprise. The three wings look modern from the outside, but there is so much historical elegance within – from the doorman with the handlebar mustache to the marble lobby. Terraces of checkered tiles lead to rooms which overlook the flower gardens, immaculate lawns, and/or vegetable plots. All accommodations are spacious and cozy, although the lowest-category rooms are a little undersized. Adding to the appeal are the substantial shopping arcade, sizeable pool, and stunning Raj-era restaurant/bar on the top floor. And it caters reasonably well for families, with a games room and splash area at the pool.
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – The Location
- Address: 54 Taj Road, about 200m from a large roundabout where 2 major thoroughfares converge: Fatehabad Road and The Mall Road.
- Area: On the edge of Agra Cantonment, an area of defense housing, with ubiquitous red-brick walls. Streets in the area are comparatively quiet, clean, and safe; less so the main road about 200m away.
- How to Get There: About 2km from the Taj Mahal (8-minute drive); 4.5km from the Agra Cantonment Railway Station, which has most services to/from Delhi and Jaipur (9-minute drive); and 11km from the new airport (26-minute drive). All are accessible by taxi or auto-rickshaw.
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – The Basics
- Guests: Most are foreign tourists on upmarket tours that include 1-2 nights in a suitably majestic hotel.
- Views: Rooms face the gardens and lawns. A few do face the street, which is about 50m away and quiet anyway. Some rooms claim to have ‘Taj views’, which is not as misleading as other hotels, but the Taj is still more than 2km away.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Suites feature jacuzzis.
- Wi-Fi: Available free at the lobby, but guests may be charged for use in the rooms.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +91 (0)562 222 6121
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: hotelclarksshiraz.com
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – Amenities
- Pool: Among the gardens, it’s a decent size and has shade, a splash area for toddlers, and a poolside bar.
- Spa: The Adebha Spa is in a tight area at the end of the terrace from the lobby. Nothing much but massages.
- Fitness Center: The Health Club is little more than a few exercise machines, but does have a steam bath and jacuzzi.
- For Families: Games room, with snooker, ping pong, and futsal tables. More facilities than most hotels.
- Other Facilities: Extensive shopping arcade (one of the best in Agra). Travel Desk. Laundry. Beauty Salon. Business Center.
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – Food and Drink
- Restaurants & Bars: Mughal Room – Arguably Agra’s finest restaurant, with adorable regal setting on the top floor. Exquisite Indian food, sublime views, and live music nightly. • Mughal Bar – Relive the British Raj era in this sumptuous lounge. Shares the same striking views as the namesake restaurant. Checkers Buffet – All-you-can-eat spreads at breakfast, lunch, and dinner of Indian and European cuisine. • Sunset Lounge – Another rooftop restaurant/bar on top of a different wing. • Garden View Lounge & Bar – Charming café and patisserie at lobby level.
- Breakfast: Not included, but can be paid for when booking or at the time.
- Room Service: Available 24/7.
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – Rooms
- Room Types: Deluxe Rooms • Superior Rooms • Suites • Taj View Deluxe Rooms • Shiraz Premium Rooms
- Smoking Rooms: No smoking is allowed in the rooms or any public areas.
- Best Room: The Suites are the most luxurious. Very elegant décor, especially in the sitting areas, and jacuzzis (a genuine rarity).
- For Families: Perhaps surprisingly, the hotel is not that well set up for families. The only option is 2 adjoining rooms (that won’t have connecting doors).
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – Local Transport
- Walking & Cycling: Streets around the hotel are among the most pleasant in Agra to wander about: safe, clean, and quiet, but nothing much to see. The main road, 200m away, is not so appealing, however. Would be a great area for cycling, but nowhere locally to rent a bike.
- Public Transport: Nothing of any use to tourists.
- Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Taxis (unmetered) are hard to find because it’s a remote area. If required, arrange through the hotel reception, or book an Ola cab. A couple of auto-rickshaws hang about the street outside, and there are plenty more along the main road about 200m away.
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – What’s Nearby?
Restaurants & Bars
Only 2 options within walking distance:
- New Riao Restaurant – Fairly random opening hours alongside the hotel gates. Reasonable Indian food and inviting garden seating. 1-minute walk (30m).
- Only Restaurant – Would be lovely if not for the noisy location at the roundabout, 250m up the street. 3-minute walk.
- Otherwise take an auto-rickshaw (3km) to the Crystal Sarovar Premiere hotel. Inside are Lattice (all-day European and Indian cuisine), Bello Italiano @Fizz (premier bistro with bar), and Sky Grill (rooftop views, salad bar, pizza, and live music). 6-minute drive.
And very close to the Crystal Sarovar hotel are:
- Grey House Café – Upper floor for views, offering excellent food, pleasing prices, affable staff, and bar. Next to the hotel. 6-minute drive (2.7km).
- Mocha Café & Bar – Hugely popular among well-heeled youth for coffee, western food, and beer. Just across the road from the hotel. 6-minute drive (2.7km).
- There are no shops within walking distance, so take an auto-rickshaw to the Crystal Sarovar hotel (see above). This area is packed with money-changers and shops selling carpets and other handicrafts.
- The Taj Mahal is certainly Agra’s, and possibly India’s, number one attraction. The ticket office at the West Gate is only 2km away (8-minute drive) – best by auto-rickshaw. Separate entries for men and women. Open from sunrise to sunset, but closed on Fridays.
- Agra Fort – The grand Red Fort (Lal Qila) symbolizes power and resilience. Partly occupied by the Indian Army, tourists can still see multiple mosques, palaces, and other structures inside this vast monument located close to the city center. Open from 6 am to 6 pm on all days. 6-minute drive (3km).
- Itimad-ud-Daula – Popularly thought of as the first draft of the Taj Mahal, and often known as “Baby Taj”. The tomb is the first marble structure built by the Mughals and features intricate lattice work. Open from sunrise to sunset. 17-minute drive (7km).
- Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary – A haven for several species of birds and a must-visit for wildlife photographers. Apart from birds, it also houses pythons and Wildlife SOS, the largest bear rescue center in India, as well as the only elephant hospital in the country. 42-minute drive (23km).
- Fatehpur Sikri – This majestic red sandstone fort is known for the Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chishti, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwani-i-Khas, and several other monuments on-site. Built in the 16th-century by Emperor Akbar to celebrate the birth of his son, Jahangir, in Sikri. Open daily from 6 am to 6 pm. Tickets can be bought online from various travel portals or at the fort entrance. 50-minute drive (38km).
Hotel Clarks Shiraz – The Hotel
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