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The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, hotel review

Just steps from the majestic Taj Mahal, the Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra is a five-star resort shrine to Mughal splendour. It offers modern comfort, elegant grounds, and an opulent stay steeped in India’s rich history.

Traveller: Cathy Wagstaff
Room: Premier Room
Address: Taj East Gate Rd, Paktola, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Date: September, 2023
Best for: An opulent stay on your journey to visit the Taj Mahal 

The Signature factor

Besides the spectacular service, every room has a view of the Taj Mahal and the property has possibly the best hotel pool in India that’s surrounded by a tiered wall setting designed by Bill Bensley, who landscaped the grounds, creating the steps and terraces of the pool area.

The hotel’s exclusive access to the Taj Mahal, with the property just five minutes away, offers VIP entry tickets and transportation via golf cart to the monument entrance.

The concept

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra. architecture is inspired by the grandeur of Mughal palaces, with elaborate arches, ornate domes, and lush gardens with terraced lawns, pools and pavilions, reflecting the opulence of a bygone era. The property is strategically located, offering guests a front-row seat to the timeless beauty of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The hotel’s décor – designed by Bill Bensley – pay homage to the region’s history, featuring local craftsmanship and art that tell the story of Agra’s glorious past.

Read: The best way to see India in style

Pool grounds by Taj Mahal
Pool © The Oberoi Amarvilas

First impressions

As part of a welcoming ceremony in the fountain-lined courtyard surrounded by fragrant gulchadi and jasmine, I’m greeted by several staff members in bright uniforms who offer flower necklaces. Once inside the hotel lobby, the palatial feel of the property continues with a dramatic Mughal-style dome and an ornate crystal chandelier that is a centrepiece of the space. 

The room

Each of the 102 guest rooms boast a view of the Taj Mahal from private balconies or large windows with interiors a sophisticated blend of Mughal-inspired design. Handcrafted furniture in rich fabrics, specially crafted for Oberoi, add to the colonial charm from the cotton silk armchair to hand-knotted rugs and intricate marble inlays on the floors. A well-stocked minibar and luxurious en-suite bathroom with bathtubs invite relaxation. All rooms come with a butler on call.

Top suite

The Kohinoor Suite is the hotel’s jewel in the crown, spread across 230 square metres. The primary suite’s king-size bed faces the Taj Mahal, and the interior decor includes white marble elephants, golden-domed ceilings, mirrored walls, and marble columns.  

Read: Exploring the palace hotels of Rajasthan

Premium and Kohinoor Suite © The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra.

Dining at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

The hotel features multiple dining venues, including Bellevue, an all-day restaurant with an a la carte menu with hand-rolled pasta, sourdough pizzas, and contemporary pan-Asian and Indian delicacies. Esphahan, the specialty tandoori restaurant, is known for its authentic Mughal dishes from master chefs. The Bar is the place for an Oberoi signature cocktail, and The Lounge boasts an open-air terrace with a stunning monument view for a relaxing setting any time of the day. Guests can also enjoy private dining experiences – from a candlelit poolside table for two or on your suite balcony, served by a butler with personalised menus.

Read: 32 of the world’s best luxury design hotels

Esphahan dining Oberoi Amarvilas, India

Spa life

The Oberoi Spa offers treatments inspired by ancient Indian traditions and modern therapeutic practices, from holistic Oberoi signature massages to Ayurvedic therapies and beauty treatments by skilled therapists. The hotel also has a well-equipped fitness centre, a stunning temperature-controlled outdoor pool, and complimentary yoga and meditation sessions led by experienced instructors.

Staying in

From its restaurants serving authentic Mughal and international cuisines to private dining with the silhouette of the Taj Mahal as your backdrop, to spa therapies, a 24-hour gym and a 24-meter swimming pool, there is little reason to leave the enclosed hotel grounds. And not forgetting the two elegant bars.

The Lounge | Private dining | Balcony with a Taj Mahal view © The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra.

Stepping out

Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, it is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, all easily accessible from The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra. But most people come to the region to see the Taj Mahal, and as it’s just 600 metres from the hotel, a stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra would only be complete with a visit.

Insiders’ tips

Take advantage of early booking rates when making reservations 30 days before check-in. And keep in mind the weather. The winter months are cool, the summers are very hot and humid, and the shoulder season is the monsoon in Agra.

Final verdict

When you think of travelling in India, the Taj Mahal is a must, as is a stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra. Its exquisite rooms, fine Indian dining, and proximity to the Taj Mahal – with its VIP access – make it the go-to luxury hotel in Agra.

Where to find The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra is located in central Agra, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from New Dehli.

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