The Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel in Agra, India

Home > The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra Hotel Review
by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 8, 2019

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Review of The Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel in Agra, India.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – Oh-my-God opulence and genuine Taj Mahal views at Agra’s premier hotel.

This multi award-winning resort is simply impossible to fault. Facing the tranquil access road to India’s magnificent monument of love, the Oberoi is majestic, sumptuous, and exudes an adorable colonial-era vibe. Designed like a Mughal palace among flourishing gardens and immaculate lawns rarely seen anywhere in India, the setting is mesmerizing. This is especially so around the sparkling blue pool flanked by terraces, gardens, and courtyards. All suites are as luxurious and elegant as expected, and amazingly, all of them boast views of the Taj Mahal (albeit at a distance). Also remarkably, all of this is within an unparalleled location: in the nicest part of Agra, and only a short stroll along a traffic-free lane to the Taj.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – The Location

  • Address: Taj East Gate Road. About 650m from the ticket office at the East Gate of the Taj Mahal.
  • Area: In a very likable area, more relaxed and certainly quieter than other parts of Agra. The hotel faces a street devoid of cars and buses, with only cyclists, cows, and electric shuttle buses.
  • How to Get There: About 7km (22-minute drive) from the Agra Cantonment Railway Station, which has most services to/from Delhi and Jaipur, and about 15km (36-minute drive) from the new airport. Both are accessible by taxi or auto-rickshaw.
  • Handy to: Taj Mahal.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – The Basics

  • Guests: Caters for upmarket tourists, especially those on special packaged trips.
  • Views: Remarkably, all rooms face the Taj Mahal, which is about 700m away. But full-frontal views are blocked partially by buildings within the hotel grounds and by foliage near the Taj. Some rooms offer a balcony.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Neither expected nor provided at a historic-style hotel like this in Agra.
  • 
Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)562 223 1515
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: oberoihotels.com

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – Amenities

  • Pool: The pool seems impossibly blue. Flanked by resort-style lounge chairs and umbrellas, and with a Mughal-inspired layout of fountains, terraces, and columns.
  • Spa: Truly magnificent, with a majestic setting. Uses locally-made organic products. Also, steam room and couples’ rooms with Taj views.
  • Fitness Center: With all the latest gear. Open 24/7.
  • Other Facilities: Travel desk. Money-changing. Laundry. Butler service.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants: Esphahan – Bright décor, traditional Indian food, and live music. Evenings only and bookings essential. • Bellevue – Fascinating décor and intimate seating. Specializes in Italian cuisine with an Asian twist, as well as Indian favorites. Open all day, and offers lunchtime buffets.
  • Bars: The Bar – Unparalleled views of the Taj from the terrace, or sit at a stool along the counter. For martinis, imported spirits, and signature cocktails. • The Lounge – Also with Taj views. Stylish and historic, featuring chandeliers, gold-domed ceilings, and afternoon High Teas.
  • Breakfast: Not included. Pay for it when booking or at the time.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – Rooms

  • Room Types: Kohinoor Suites • Luxury Suites • Deluxe Suites (some with balcony) • Premier Rooms (some with balcony)
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking is allowed in the rooms or public areas.
  • Best Room: Kohinoor Suites are exquisite, with maximum windows offering the world’s finest views of the Taj. Luxurious, featuring marble columns and statues, gold-domed ceilings, stand-alone bathtubs (with Taj views, of course), separate living/dining areas, and private terraces. Even a bedroom for the butler in each suite!
  • For Families: Many suites have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and connecting doors.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – Local Transport

  • Walking & Cycling: Easy walk to numerous facilities and to the ticket office at the East Gate of the Taj Mahal. Agra is one of the very few places in India worthy of cycling. Roads are flat, far less crowded than major cities, and there’s plenty to see on 2 wheels. Bikes can be rented at agencies and cafés along the street towards the Taj Mahal.
  • Public Transport: Nothing of use to tourists.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Taxis (unmetered) are hard to find because they’re rarely needed in this area and don’t come along the access road anyway. If required, arrange through the hotel reception, or book an Ola cab. A few cycle-rickshaws are along the street outside, and some auto-rickshaws are further away from the Taj. Also some horse-drawn carts.

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Surprisingly few options considering this is a major access road to the Taj. While actively hyped by staff of various establishments, ‘rooftop restaurant with views of the Taj’ are a little overrated and certainly overpriced.

  • Full Treat Restaurant – Rooftop setting and excellent range of thalis (set meals in steel plates). Next to the Little Pink Homestay. 2-minute walk (150m).
  • 25 Hours Hangout Café – Friendly owner and charming courtyard setting. Simple meals all day and shady seats for people-watching. 250m towards the Taj. 3-minute walk.
  • Dostea Café Agra – Indian food and world-class coffee in an inviting garden courtyard with shade. Virtually opposite the 25 Hours Hangout. 4-minute walk (300m).
  • El Clasico – Cute café offering a limited but tasty range of Indian and western meals. At Shilpgram (see below). 7-minute walk (550m).
  • Riva Restaurant – In the unassuming Pearl of Taj homestay. Long menu of well-priced thalis, pancakes, and lassis (sweet/savory drinks made from yogurt). 200m past El Clasico. 9-minute walk (700m).

Shops & Markets

  • Plenty of shops of various quality along the street between the hotel and Taj Mahal. Among the usual T-shirts and fridge magnets are some quality silverware. A small Craft Bazaar is at the back of Shilpgram, a purpose-built (but mostly abandoned) tourist complex about 500m down the street, away from the Taj Mahal. 7-minute walk.

Attractions

  • The Taj Mahal is certainly Agra’s, and possibly India’s number one attraction. The ticket office opposite the East Gate is only a 9-minute walk (750m) up the street, with 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. 18-minute drive (4km).
  • 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. 28-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. 52-minute drive (26km).
  • 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. 1-hour drive (43km).

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – The Hotel

The hotel entrance is along a quiet access road.

The main gate to the Oberoi is along a quiet access road to the Taj Mahal.

The traditionally-dressed doorman welcomes the guests.

The elegance of the hotel starts with the traditionally-dressed doorman.

The Oberoi is easily Agra's best and biggest hotel.

The Oberoi is easily the most superior hotel in Agra, with space and gardens that rivals can only envy.

The hotel design is inspired by the Mughal empire.

The overall design is very much inspired by the Mughal empire.

The hotel lobby is opulent, and the staff is also traditionally-dressed.

The hotel lobby area is as opulent as imagined, with the entire staff in traditional attire.

The lobby's guest lounge is pleasantly old-fashioned.

The guest lounge at the lobby is likeably old-fashioned.

The hotel also has a lovely and extensive shopping arcade.

Between the hotel gates and lobby, yet often ignored, is an extensive arcade of lovely boutiques.

The extraordinary hotel gardens have Mughal-era themed tiles, fountains, courtyards, and statues.

The gardens are extraordinary, with tiles, fountains, courtyards, and statues reminiscent of the former Mughal empire.

The hotel gardens are in layers.

The amazing gardens and area around the pool are layered in both directions.

The blue pool is lined with colorful lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Sparkling blue and lined with colorful lounge chairs and umbrellas, the hotel pool is reminiscent of a tropical resort.

One end of the pool ends in a Roman-bath style terrace.

One end of the pool meanders into a covered terrace area similar to a Roman bath.

Another end of the pool has a terrace with outdoor seating.

At the other end of the pool is another terrace where meals and drinks can be served.

There are several pavilions with fountains and sofas.

Along steps from the pool are pavilions with fountains and alluring sofas.

The large hotel lawns are big enough to play cricket.

Lawns substantial enough for a game of cricket are between the pool and boundaries of the hotel grounds.

The colonial-style The Bar offers pool, garden, and Taj Mahal views.

The Bar is a reminder of colonial times, with views of the pool, gardens, and Taj Mahal.

The Bar's staff is traditionally-dressed.

Staff at The Bar are also dressed in a traditional way.

A spiral staircase in the lobby leads to the 2 on-site restaurants.

A spiral staircase from the lobby area leads to the 2 hotel restaurants.

Breakfast is served at the Bellevue bistro.

The Bellevue bistro is where buffet breakfast is served to guests.

Bellevue bistro also offers lunch buffets and a la carte meals.

The Bellevue also offers buffets at lunch and a la carte all day.

The sophisticated Esphahan restaurant is open for dinner only.

Opposite the Bellevue, the Esphahan provides a sophisticated décor and live music. Open for dinner only.

All suites offer views of the pool, garden, and the Taj Mahal.

All rooms (called ‘suites’) face the pool, gardens, and – most importantly – the Taj Mahal.

Some suite balconies offer views of the Taj Mahal.

Some suites have private balconies from which the Taj can be seen.

The spacious suites are gorgeous.

All suites are as gorgeous as imagined and pleasingly spacious.

The exquisite suite decor reminds one of the Taj Mahal and the Mughal empire.

Décor in the suites is exquisite, with plenty of reminders of the Taj Mahal and the Mughal empire.

Suites come with personal touches like fresh fruits.

There are so many personal and welcoming touches within the suites, e.g. fresh fruits.

The bathrooms are as lovely as the bedrooms.

Unsurprisingly, the bathrooms are as lovely as the bedrooms.

The hotel neighborhood has several facilities for guests.

There are enough facilities for guests along the street which the hotel faces.

Bicycle and auto-rickshaws are a convenient way to get around.

Two ways to get around the general area is by auto-rickshaw or the old-fashioned bicycle version.

Electric shuttle buses take tourists from Shilpgram to the Taj Mahal.

Electric shuttle buses link the Shilpgram tourist complex about 500m along the street with the entrance to the Taj Mahal.

Dostea Café nearby has a pleasant courtyard setting.

Only 300m towards the Taj, the Dostea Café has a quaint courtyard setting.

25 Hours Hangout Café is popular for its cheap food and friendly staff.

Popular for its cheap food and friendly staff is the 25 Hours Hangout Café, virtually opposite the Dostea Café.

El Clasico café in Shilpgram complex nearby is very colorful.

In the Shilpgram tourist complex, about 500m along the street (away from the Taj), is the cute El Clasico café.

Riva Restaurant serves excellent thalis.

Worth a short walk just past El Clasico, the Riva Restaurant serves up some of Agra’s finest thalis (set meals in steel plates).

The street leading to the Taj Mahal has lots of souvenir stalls.

The street from the hotel gates to the Taj Mahal is lined with tacky souvenirs stalls, but some quality stuff can be found at negotiable prices.

Craft Bazaar features better souvenir stalls.

At the back of the Shilpgram tourist complex is a Craft Bazaar.

The Taj Mahal has separate ticket lines for men and women.

There are separate lines for men and women to buy tickets to the Taj Mahal.

It also has separate lines for men and women to enter.

There are also separate lines for men and women to enter the Taj.

The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

And note: the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

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