by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 19, 2019
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.
- 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
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