Get the best of CF straight to your inbox.

Subscribe, sit back, and let your mind travel.

CF Hot Hotels

Where To Stay If You're Visiting The Taj Mahal

Just 600 metres away from the famous landmark, The Oberoi Amarvilas is the place to stay if you’re visiting the Taj Mahal. 

India is renowned for its hospitality and, at the very top end of the luxury spectrum, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts has spent the last 90 years mastering its ‘the guest is everything’ approach to a fine art across its portfolio of 32 properties.

With an unwavering commitment to guest experience, a unique proximity to the Taj Mahal and exclusive views of the mausoleum, The Oberoi Amarvilas is the epitome of luxury – and the place to stay when you’re visiting the Taj Mahal. No surprise, then, that it was named one of the World’s 50 Best Hotels in 2023.

The Vibe

Beyond the usual hustle of Agra’s city centre, the cobbled road that leads to the Taj Mahal’s East Gate is alive with the buzz of excited tourists, street hawkers, and tour touts. Pass through the hotel’s gates, however, and you’ll be greeted by the serene sounds of birdsong and trickling water features, instantly forgetting the dusty bustle behind you. In true Oberoi fashion, hospitality is king, and at one of India’s most celebrated hotels, you’re welcomed as if you’re royalty – no fingers need be lifted, no whim is left uncatered, and nothing is an inconvenience to the team here. 

Sprawling over nine acres of elaborate gardens, terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools, and pavilions, and with only lush greenery between the monument and the hotel grounds, The Oberoi Amarvilas is full of romantic grandeur and intricate detailing, its architecture reflecting the exquisite Moorish and Mughal aesthetic of the era of Emperor Shah Jahan.   

Though you will have seen it a thousand times over in photographs, nothing will quite prepare you for seeing the Taj Mahal in all its in-person glory – which is well recommended to be at sunrise or sunset. At The Oberoi Amarvilas, you can see it at both – and anytime you want, actually. Marvel at the view from the bar with a glass of champagne, while relaxing in one of the spa’s treatment rooms, or from the comfort of your bed accompanied by room service. Wherever you place yourself, hues of hazy pink illuminate the white marble façade of the world’s most extravagant testament of love.                                 

The Rooms

Rightfully taking centre stage, the complex was built and designed around making the most of the sweeping vistas – and every one of the 95 guest rooms and seven suites gets its uninterrupted share. If you can peel yourself away from the view – and the time-stopping ambience of your private terrace or balcony (if you have booked anything above a Premier Room) – there is much to be admired inside, too. 

An ode to Indian craftmanship, classic décor is dressed in fine fabrics and elegant furnishings. Intricate teak-inlay features throughout the desks, lamps and sideboards. Hand-knotted rugs warm polish timber floors, while hand-embroidered silken headboards make already plush beds regal. Walk-in wardrobes keep the main space clear of any luggage, and spacious white marble-clad bathrooms are far from an afterthought, equipped with twin vanity counters, bathtubs, and separate showers.

The suites follow the same refined design as the guest rooms but are elevated by the extra square footage that allows for dining and lounge spaces, as well as powder rooms and pantries. For the ultimate Oberoi experience, the presidential Kohinoor Suite holds prime position at the centre of the building, complete with an expansive terrace perfect for indulging in the private dining experience, which brings a candlelit dinner to your room via a personal butler for the evening.

The Food + Drink

Start the day at Bellevue, the hotel’s all-day multi-cuisine restaurant, where a comprehensive spread of breakfast dishes allows those prone to menu indecision to graze on everything without fear of missing out. Though a predominantly continental selection, the waiters and chefs will eagerly help you navigate a choice of local delicacies such as crispy dosas or moreish uthappams – two delightfully Indian takes on savoury pancakes made from rice and lentil flour. 

Dinner is also available at Bellevue – inside the restaurant or out on the terrace – but an evening at Esphahân, the hotel’s speciality restaurant serving heritage Indian fare, is not to be missed. Recently relaunched following a soft renovation, Esphahân’s new look adorned with red sandstone and Greek Thassos marble exudes an opulent ambience. Opt for a tandoor tasting platter or a traditional thali, and request the centre-front table to be mesmerised by the hypnotic hum of the resident Santoor player for an authentic royal feasting experience. One floor up, both the bar and lounge, joined outside by a scenic shared veranda, are perfect to wind the evening down with a nightcap before retiring to the comfort of your room.

After a morning sightseeing, return to the hotel to relax on a very well-cushioned sunbed under the shade of a colourful parasol. Sunken below the gardens and framed by tiered levels akin to a traditional Indian stepwell, the central lapis-coloured pool is one of the standout features of the hotel and is the best way to while away the remainder of the day. Individual cool boxes keep water, fresh fruit, and cold face towels crisp, whilst the Bellevue poolside menu satiates swimmers and sun-seekers. Complete with all the luxuries of dining inside, no fuss is spared and lunch comes served on a delicately-crafted rattan butler’s tray table lined with bright and bold block-printed placemats.  

The Spa

Though entirely discreet, The Oberoi Spa features an extensive menu of holistic, non-clinical therapies, massages and beauty treatments incorporating ancient Ayurvedic principles, as well as aromatherapy and Western techniques. Three therapy suites are nestled between the guest rooms and suites on the fourth floor, with huge arched windows looking out to the Taj Mahal from a new vantage point. For ultimate privacy, your therapist will collect you from your room and take you directly there. Feeling as if they are an extension of your bedroom, the therapy suites are luxurious and indulgent, and are equipped with two massage beds, a freestanding bathtub, a steam and shower, and an en suite washroom.

The Little Extras

Daily at sundown, traditional Rajasthani dancers and musicians grace the lawn stage for an hour-long performance which can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the hotel – whether you are getting ready for dinner in your room, or still splashing about in the pool. In the guest rooms, you’ll find beautiful block-print cotton robes to float around in for the duration of your stay. Along with the robes, the hotel’s carefully-curated retail space offers an incredible selection of authentic local crafts and artisanal luxury items from regulated vendors to take home with you.

The To-Do List

There’s no denying that most people flock to Agra to do one thing – visit the incredible Taj Mahal. So if you’re coming here, you might as well do it in style with The Oberoi Amarvilas. The hotel team make the whole experience – from booking your tickets to the visit itself – entirely seamless. If you manage to go for sunrise, the bar is armed and ready with coffee and pastries from 5am to soften the blow of the early morning wake-up call. You’ll then be whisked away by golf carts right up to the Taj Mahal entrance gate, and they’ll also be there waiting to take you back whenever you’re ready. Taking one of the hotel-recommended guides is a no-brainer. They’re a select pool of only 25 guides that are government approved and personally vetted by the hotel’s general manager, before being handpicked for guests dependent on requirements and preferred approach. 

We may earn a commission if you buy something from any affiliate links on our site.

What to Pack

You May Also Like

Any Questions or Tips to add?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What to Pack?