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The Oberoi Amarvilas Review: A Luxury Hotel with Taj Mahal Views

We stayed at The Oberoi Amarvilas during our two-night stay in Agra, India. We were in Agra to see the Taj Mahal, and we had the most incredible view of it from our room. In this post, we’ll explain what it was like to stay at this luxury hotel, including how we booked it, what the room was like, and what other amenities are on the property.

This was our third stay at an Oberoi hotel during this trip, and let’s just say we are completely smitten with the brand. All of the hotels shine in terms of service and beauty, but what made this specific hotel shine was it’s incredible location and views.

Keep reading to learn what it’s like to stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas.

About This Post and Related Posts

This post reviews The Oberoi Amarvilas, the fourth of five hotels we stayed at over the course of two weeks in India. Other hotel reviews can be found here:

NOTE: None of these hotels were comped, and we paid for all of these stays in full. This post is not sponsored and we do not receive affiliate income from any of these hotels.

Booking The Oberoi Amarvilas

A brief look at the hotel options in Agra put the Oberoi Amarvilas at the top of our list. It is easily the nicest hotel in Agra and has the best views of the Taj Mahal. It is the luxury destination in Agra.

We booked our stay via the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program. As exemplified in our review of The Oberoi Udaivilas, it can sometimes make sense to roll the dice and hope for a good upgrade when booking via this program. In this case, I didn’t want to take a chance.

Filed under “once-in-a-lifetime,” I went directly for the Premier Room, with a balcony and view of the Taj Mahal. We paid a hefty $2,278 for two nights ($1,139 per night). That was $20 more than the price that included breakfast. However, the Fine Hotels & Resorts program includes an Experience credit, which at this hotel was a $100 property credit. (We used the credit for dining.) That came out to about $40 in value after accounting for the room rate difference.

Hotels booked via Amex Travel earn 5X Membership Rewards points on the Amex Platinum, so we earned about 11,390 points.

You can also book The Oberoi Amarvilas through third party sites, like

Arrival & Check-in

After taking the overnight train from Udaipur, we arrived in Agra shortly before 11 AM on our check-in day. We arranged our pick-up car service directly through the hotel. As promised, they were waiting for us with a sign as soon as we got off the train.

I say “they,” because there was actually two Oberoi staff members there for the pick up. One driver, plus a member of the concierge team sent seemingly just to make us feel welcome. This was nice, but it also meant that the three of us were a bit cramped in the back seat.

Other than that, our transit to the hotel was smooth. We brought our own car seat, which we quickly secured in the back seat. The car was cool and bottled water was provided. It took about 20 minutes to get from Agra Cantt train station to The Oberoi Amarvilas.

When we arrived, our concierge friend escorted us from the drop-off point, past the beautiful fountains and into the lobby where we received traditional marigold necklaces as a welcome. We were seated in The Lounge — the living room of the Amarvilas which offered us our first Taj Majal views — to complete our necessary check-in paper work.

Much to our surprise, our room was already ready at 11:30 AM.

The Oberoi Amarvilas Premier Room with Balcony

The Premier Rooms at The Oberoi Amarvilas are spacious and offer the most epic view of the Taj Mahal. Ours had a balcony, which was a splurge that made the experience even more incredible.

Upon entering the room, the bathroom was immediately to the left. It was a decent size bathroom, though smaller than the bathrooms at the other Oberoi hotels we’ve stayed at. There was no private toilet stall, so it could really only be used by one person at a time anyway. It had a standing shower stall and separate soaking tub. Toiletries were by Forest Essentials and dental kits, loofahs and other amenities were provided. The fresh roses were a lovely touch.

To the right of the entryway was a large, walk-in closet. I never realized that I needed a walk-in closet in hotels until I started staying at The Oberoi. It was so nice to have so much space to keep all of our luggage accessible, but not cluttering the rest of the room. In addition to plenty of drawers and hangers, the closet also had a safe, iron and ironing board, and robes and slippers.

The entry hallway then opened up to the main sleeping area. There was a King bed with night stands on each size. Each night stand had two outlets (Type D plug) and a USB port, which was super convenient.

There was no separate seating area, but there was a sofa chair and desk with two chairs just past the bed. Across from the bed was a large TV and bar cart. Inside was a Nespresso coffee and tea station and bottled water (complimentary), plus mini bar offerings for purchase including sweet and savory snacks, soft drinks and beer.

Natural light flooded the room through the large windows and sliding glass door, but the black-out curtains were highly effective at darkening the room at nap time. Speaking of nap time, we requested a crib for our little one and it was already set up in our room when we arrived.

It was a large crib, but I will admit that it was a bit wonky. I wouldn’t go so far as to say broken, but the edges were shifty and a few poorly placed toddler jumps could have broken it pretty easily. Fortunately we didn’t have any issues.

The room was lovely, spacious, and decorated with fresh flowers, but the most impressive thing about it was definitely the view. Huge sliding glass doors looked directly out to the Taj Mahal, with the stunning pools and gardens below. The doors opened up to a private balcony, edged with pink Bougainvillea, with a table and two chairs.

The only negative about this room was that it was loud and not very well sound-proofed. We could hear the buzzer from our neighbors rooms and any talking from the hallways. Plus the floors and doors were noticeably creaky. We quickly overlooked these small faults given the rest of our experience.

Restaurants & Dining at The Oberoi Amarvilas

There are a handful of dining options on property. Because we were extra cautious about what and where we ate in India, we ate all of our meals in Agra at The Oberoi. Lucky for us (though not at all surprising), the food at The Oberoi was delicious.

The all-day, casual dining restaurant is called Bellevue. They have indoor and outdoor seating available, but neither have Taj Mahal views. The breakfast and lunch menu is broad and features Indian and Western options. We ate lunch here once, but found the service to be a tad awkward — possibly because we were dining off hours and were the only ones there. The food was good, though.

Bellevue is also where the main hotel breakfast is served, which includes buffet and à la carte options. We ate here both mornings and loved it. The Indian breakfast buffet selection was exquisite, and the chef even helped guide me through the different offerings and what went together with what. They also had a brick oven where they could heat up pastries on demand, which was *chef’s kiss.*

The second restaurant is called Esphahan and is the more fine dining option. It has a “smart casual” dress code and doesn’t allow children under 8, so we didn’t dine there.

The hotel bar — simply called The Bar — is adjacent to the lobby. It’s one of the only places on property where you can enjoy Taj Mahal views if you aren’t staying in a room with a view. It has indoor and outdoor seating, but the outdoor seating has the best, unobstructed views. There is no shade, thought, so I was hot out there in the early afternoon.

The Bar is also where they serve a light breakfast for guests going to sunrise at the Taj Mahal. They have a handful of pastries, fresh juices, and a full coffee bar. This was very convenient.

Adjacent to The Bar is The Lounge. This indoor seating area is the only other public spot for Taj Mahal views in the hotel. It’s mostly just a comfortable seating area, though they do have coffee and tea service.

And finally, we get to room service. The hotel restaurants didn’t have Taj Mahal views, but our room did. For that reason, we ended up ordering room service for all of our dinners. We could even see the nightly cultural performance from our balcony. (This is a music and dance show for guests dining in the restaurants that takes place above the pool.)

The room service menu was similar to (if not the same as) the Bellevue menu. The service was quick and the food was great. We got to enjoy our meal with our epic view, and it was overall a more relaxing way to dine with a 2-year-old.

Pool, Spa & Fitness Center

One of the main focal points of The Oberoi Amarvilas (other than the Taj Mahal views) is the outdoor pool and gardens.

The pool itself is in the center. The large pool is about 4-feet deep with step entry. Though technically heated, the water was pretty cold in February. (Not cold enough to stop my toddler from wanting to swim daily, though.) What I loved most was that the pool extended under the building, so you could be in the pool and in the shade at the same time. What my kid loved most was that they had floaties available.

There was plenty of seating around the pool, including pool-side beach chairs and comfy lounge seating in variety of shaded nooks. Waterways and fountains cascaded around the entire space and the entire grounds were immaculately landscaped. Food and beverage service was offered around the pool area.

I loved everything about the pool space, whether I was swimming, lounging, or just taking in the view from above from our balcony. Honestly, the only down side to the pool area is that it doesn’t have Taj Mahal views.

The fitness center and spa share an entrance near the lower pool area. I didn’t get any spa services, but I did use the fitness center. It was a basic facility with cardio equipment, weights, and a handful of machines. The room was in a back corner, so it didn’t have much of a view.

The locker room for the spa and fitness center was fine, but the showers were broken during my visit. I went to the spa desk to inquire about a towel, and he sent me to the pool locker room to shower. The showers in the pool locker room were okay, but didn’t have a nearby changing area. I had to shower, then wrap in a towel and walk to a toilet stall to change without getting my clothes all wet.

Service at The Oberoi Amarvilas

Sections like this are tough because I constantly waver between sweeping statements that feel too broad to be useful and very detailed experiences that feel too specific to be useful. So I guess I’ll just touch on both.

The main takeaway, though? The service at The Oberoi Amarvilas was exceptional.

I’m not a fancy person and sometimes luxury service makes me uncomfortable. My idea of good service is less about being doted on, and more about proactive service that is always a step ahead. I enjoy a surprise-and-delight model more than simply being asked if I need anything. (I rarely ask for things, but I love when they are offered.) And if I do have a question or request, I love knowing that there is an easy and effective way to get it taken care of.

That is the type of service we had at The Oberoi.

Some of the best service we received was at breakfast. The chef at the buffet walked me through all the different Indian dishes. He explained to me what the different Indian dishes were, which were his favorite, and what condiments and sides went with what. Another friendly chef made our toddler Mickey-shaped pancakes and wrote their name in chocolate on their waffles.

Then there was our server, who remembered us by name each morning. He also brought us a local Indian dish, complimentary, with each meal. Speaking of complimentary treats, the pool attendant sent fries and smoothies sent to our chairs by the pool. He said that our toddler looked like they could use a snack after all that swimming, and he was right!

As far as proactive service goes, our crib was in the room when we checked in. We’ve stayed at over 50 hotels with a child, we always request a crib, and it is rarely actually in our room when we get there. In fact, our toddler was treated like royalty the entire stay. They got multiple treats and gifts, the most special of which was a custom pillowcase that was embroidered with their name on it.

When we did need to ask something, the staff was always helpful, efficient and kind. We had no plans for our Taj Mahal visit, but they matched us to a tour guide, helped us figure out what time we should go, and made sure we knew exactly where to go. Whenever I asked for directions to a place in the resort, the staff personally walked me there instead of just pointing me there.

The last thing to note about service is that The Oberoi discourages individual tips. Instead, you can leave a single tip in a sealed envelope at checkout if you choose. We personally loved this model. Our interactions with the staff were more authentic than transactional and it just yielded a more comfortable and friendly environment. Ultimately, we probably tipped more and there were no awkward exchanges. Win, win.

Taj Mahal Views at The Oberoi Amarvilas

We stayed at The Oberoi Amarvilas for the Taj Mahal views. I already touched on some of the viewing locations in the dining section, but I want to talk more about where you can and can’t see the Taj Mahal from around the property.

You can see the Taj Mahal from a few places on property, which I get into next, but there actually isn’t a ton of common area space where you can actually enjoy the views. If you want to enjoy the view as much as possible, I’d highly recommend booking a Premiere Room with a view. I felt like the room with a Taj Mahal view really made the experience for us.

If your room doesn’t have a view or if you just want a new perspective, the following locations at The Oberoi Amarvilas have a view the Taj Mahal:

  • The Bar: This is the only bar in the world that has uninterrupted Taj Mahal views (or so they claim). You can see the Taj Mahal from inside and outside, but the best unobstructed views are outside. The Bar serves drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and light bites.
  • The Lounge: This is a cozy seating area that reads high-end living room. It’s mostly just for seating, but they do offer coffee and tea service.
  • Premiere Rooms: These rooms all offer views of the Taj Mahal. The higher up and center rooms have the best views. Some Premiere Rooms have balconies, but not all of them.

The following locations at The Oberoi Amarvilas do not have Taj Mahal views.

  • Pool and Pool Area Seating: The pool is low and blocked by hills and trees, so you cannot see the Taj Mahal from the pool or surrounding seating.
  • Hotel Restaurants (Belleview & Esphahan): Just like the pool, these restaurants are too low to have a view of the Taj Mahal. They do have lovely views of the pool and an evening cultural performance, though.
  • Lobby: The main lobby is beautiful in its own right, but the windows facing out to the Taj Mahal are blocked by The Lounge and The Bar.
  • Spa & Fitness Center: These facilities are a bit buried in a back corner of the hotel and they do not have a view of much of anything.

The Oberoi Amarvilas Location in Agra

If the main reason for your trip to Agra is to see the Taj Mahal, then The Oberoi Amarvilas is a perfect location. It’s located about 0.5 miles from the east gate of the Taj Mahal. You can walk the distance in about 10 minutes or the hotel has a golf cart shuttle that takes about 3 minutes.

The exit of The Oberoi Agravilas leads right to a popular pedestrian route to the Taj Mahal. There’s lots of shops and restaurants along here, so you can easily pick up souvenirs or snacks. It’s a lively walk, particularly in the afternoon, so I’d recommend experiencing it at least once.

The other big attraction in Agra is Agra Fort. The fort is not too far from the Taj Mahal — in fact, the Taj Mahal was built where it was so that the emperor could see his wife’s tomb from the fort. It’s not quite 2 miles away, but there’s no public transportation and the walk is not optimal. Instead, the best bet is to take a car. You can take a taxi, hail a tuk tuk, or you can book a car service through the hotel. Personally, we skipped Agra Fort.

Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal from The Oberoi Amarvilas

If you’re in Agra, you’re probably going to the Taj Mahal. Overall, it’s easy to visit the Taj Mahal from The Oberoi Amarvilas. However, we had a few hiccups and learned some things. Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit to the Taj Mahal from The Oberoi Amarvilas.

  1. Leave earlier than the hotel recommends. We had no idea what time we needed to leave for sunrise so we asked the concierge while scheduling our tour. She very confidently gave us a schedule that she said is exactly what she recommends to everyone. That sounds accurate because there was a large crowd waiting for the golf cart shuttle at that time. Leave 30 minutes before whatever time they say to beat the crowds leaving the hotel.
  2. Eat breakfast before you go. There is no food or drinks allowed in the Taj Mahal complex. Grab a croissant and a coffee from the continental breakfast at The Bar on your way out.
  3. Skip the guide. This might be controversial. Our guide was good, and he did share some interesting history, but it wasn’t anything we hadn’t already read on Wikipedia. The main reason we were there was mostly to take photos, and with a guide it felt like we had less time to do that. That said, it was nice to have a built-in photographer for family photos.
  4. Don’t bring a bag. While small bags are allowed, there is a long list of items that you can’t bring with you (including food, phone chargers and tripods). If you do have a bag, you have to wait in a longer security line for bag check. If you don’t have a bag, you’ll still have to wait in line, but then you can walk straight through the metal detector instead of waiting in the additional bag check queue.
  5. Plan for crowds and lines. Sunrise is a very popular time at the Taj Mahal. Even if you have tickets already, the lines to get in can get really long right in the morning. We waited 20 minutes, and nearly missed sunrise. If you are expecting the empty Instagram photo, you’ll need to line up a few hours early to be the first ones in.

Closing Thoughts & Overall Review

The Taj Mahal was a bucket list destination for us that we only planned to visit once. We loved India and hope to come back one day, but when we do we’ll probably explore other cities and regions. So as much as we loved the Taj Mahal and were excited to see it, we always treated it as a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

And along those lines, The Oberoi Amarvilas was a bucket list hotel experience. If we were only going to go to Agra one time, we were willing to splurge a bit (okay, splurge a lot) on this epic luxury hotel.

The Premiere Room with the balcony greatly enhanced our Taj Mahal experience. We only actually spent a few hours at the Taj Mahal. But from our room with a view of the Taj Mahal, we got to experience it for three whole days. We appreciated its beauty and greatness so much more than we otherwise would have and that made for a truly unforgettable experience.

The views alone would have been worth it to me, but the rest of the hotel wowed in its own regard. The beautiful grounds, expert service and stunning pool area made our stay feel like the epitome of luxury.

From the hotel experience alone, I would actually rank The Oberoi Amarvilas third out of the three Oberoi properties we’ve stayed it. To be fair, it was facing stiff competition. (The Oberoi New Delhi was an oasis that restored us between mornings out in the city, and The Oberoi Udaivilas is one of the most stunning hotel properties in the world.) But when you add the location and the views, The Oberoi Amarvilas is definitely one of the most memorable hotel experiences we’ve ever had.

Would I recommend The Oberoi Amarvilas? You betcha! But specifically, I’d recommend a room with a view to get the full experience.

Agra was our final stop in India after also spending a few days in Delhi, Jaipur, and Udaipur. When we checked out of The Oberoi Amarvilas, we took the train from Agra to Delhi. We had one quick night at the JW Marriott Delhi Aerocity before our flight from Delhi to Doha.