At a Glance
Created to provide luxurious respites from the beautifully chaotic sights and sounds of India, Rajasthan’s urban Oberoi properties are themselves extraordinary in their opulence and spectacular architecture. The hotels and resorts, each set in fantastic locations with easy access to the region’s sights, center around pavilions, pergolas, pools, fountains, courtyards and colonnades, as well as guest rooms with super comfortable amenities, traditional design touches and modern details throughout. Service, too, is prioritized across the hotels belonging to this nearly century-old, family-owned brand. If the Taj Mahal seems “the embodiment of all things pure, all things holy,” as Kipling wrote, then Oberoi’s pleasure palaces are the embodiment of all things amazing. At the Oberoi Amarvilas, all rooms in this grand Mughal-style hotel have views of the Taj Mahal. Lush gardens, reflection pools and pavilions create a regal and romantic atmosphere.
The Standout: The views of the Taj Mahal in the distance from every room
Don’t Miss: Waking before dawn and going by golf cart for an early-access visit to see the Taj at sunrise, when shadows and light play on the white marble
- Complimentary outdoor yoga sessions (nothing like striking a lotus pose facing the Taj)
- Visiting Agra’s other great cultural treasure, the Red Fort, one of the most spectacular Mughal fortresses
- A candlelit dinner in the garden overlooking the pool
While Agra boasts a population of close to four million people, there is only one place in the city for luxury travelers to overnight, and that is the Oberoi Amarvilas. Built in 2001, Amarvilas offers 102 rooms, all of which face the Taj Mahal, which stands only 650 yards away. The stunning hotel is the perfect perch for viewing the monument—an oasis amidst architectural majesty.
The property's elaborate grounds include a gorgeous swimming pool, terraced gardens, fountains and an excellent spa. You’ll also find a lovely boutique, a grand pool area where performances take place each evening, a great spa and one of the best Indian restaurants in Agra. The city is not known as a shopping destination, but the fabulous Tijori in the Oberoi sells such souvenirs as gems, marble pieces and cashmere.
Guest rooms have lovely local touches like embroidered headboards, light quilted blankets, hand-blocked paisley curtains and carpets with Mughul patterns. There are also teak wood floorboards, marble inlaid desks and bathrooms with wicker and brass accents. The best room in the house is the Kohinoor suite, with a stand-alone bathtub overlooking the Taj.
Due to its size and location, Amarvilas does attract lots of large tour groups, so it is not uncommon to see tour buses or groups of people. You can still find your privacy, however, thanks to the way the rooms are spread out and the fact that many have balconies.
Who Should Stay
Anyone going to see the Taj Mahal—it’s the best choice in town.
Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley