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India honeymoon itinerary - your thoughts!

India honeymoon itinerary - your thoughts!

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Old Jan 23, 10, 7:28 am
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India honeymoon itinerary - your thoughts!

Currently in the middle of honeymoon planning, and would appreciate input on our planned India itinerary....

Booked flights into and out of DEL (BA F ) in September, so we're looking at options for what to do whilst we're there. Spoke to the lovely people at Greaves India, and they've suggested the following itinerary. Coming out at about £2,400 each, including hotels (b&b), internal flights, car and driver for duration, some other meals, excursions etc.

Suggested itinerary is as follows - seems to cover the main spots, including our requested time at the Amanbagh. Never been to India, so any inputs gratefully received!


Day 1 Delhi The Taj Mahal
Arrive DEL at 06:25. Mid morning visit The Red Fort, followed by sightseeing of New Delhi

Day 2 Delhi The Taj Mahal
Morning sightseeing tour of Old Delhi. Rest of the day at leisure

Day 3 Agra The Oberoi Amarvilas
Morning transfer by road to Agra (approximately 04 hours and 30 minutes drive). Afternoon at leisure, Evening sunset visit to The Taj Mahal

Day 4 Agra The Oberoi Amarvilas
Morning sightseeing of Agra visiting Agra Fort and Itmad-ud-daulah. Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 5 Ajabgarh Amanbagh
Morning transfer by road to Ajabgarh with an en-route visit to Fatehpur Sikri. (approximately 06 hours and 30 minutes drive including stop). Rest of the day at leisure

Day 6 Ajabgarh Amanbagh
Morning excursion to Bhangarh – City of Ghosts

Day 7 Ajabgarh Amanbagh
Day at leisure to enjoy the facilities of Amanbagh

Day 8 Jaipur Taj Rambagh Palace
Morning transfer by road to Jaipur (approximately 02 hours drive). On arrival sightseeing of Jaipur “The Pink City”. Afternoon at leisure. Early evening Champagne walking tour at hotel

Day 9 Jodhpur Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace
Morning excursion to Amber Fort with an elephant ride up the hill and descent by jeep. Transfer by road to Jodhpur (approximately 06 hours drive)

Day 10 Jodhpur Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace
Morning visit Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada including visit to spice market. Rest of day at leisure with car and driver at your disposal to explore local surroundings.

Day 11 Udaipur Taj Lake Palace Hotel
Morning transfer by road to Udaipur with an en-route visit to Ranakpur Jain Temples (approximately 06 hours and 30 minutes drive including stop). Lunch at Maharani Bagh Orchard Retreat/Ranakpur. Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 12 Udaipur Taj Lake Palace Hotel
Morning sightseeing tour of Udaipur. Rest of day at leisure with car and driver at your disposal to explore local surroundings.

Day 13 Udaipur Taj Lake Palace Hotel
Morning excursion to Nagda and Eklingji Temples followed by lunch at Devi Garh Fort Palace Hotel (approximately 45 minutes drive each way). Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 14 Delhi The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon
Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer Udaipur Airport to board Jet Airways flight for Udaipur/Delhi. Rest of the day at leisure

Day 15 Leave Delhi on day flight back to London

Our initial thoughts:
- Would probably prefer Aman in Delhi
- Might be a bit much - could perhaps do with a bit more R&R
- Swapping some of the longer car journeys for plane would be preferable

Am going to speak to Ampersand Travel, and probably Amex as well (most of the above are FHR properties) - but then need to look at constructing the tour element separately.

All ideas, inputs and suggestions welcome!
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Old Jan 23, 10, 8:17 am
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the big reports here (aman-i-khas, amanbagh, oberoi amarvilas)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...as-report.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...amarvilas.html

if you meant charter flights
http://www.oberoihotels.com/aviation...n_overview.asp
http://www.tajaironline.com/index.htm
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/11805683-post2.html (taj discount)

what greaves put together for elite traveler
http://magazine.elitetraveler.com/el...2/?pg=100&pm=2

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Old Jan 23, 10, 9:04 am
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Congratulations on your marriage.

First, As you haven't been to India before, the poverty there could overwhelm you (having 20-30 beggar children in tow throughout) which may cast a shadow on your honeymooon experience.

Second, you indicate a number of long transfers by car. How are you arranging this? Beware of the quality of cars often available in India - even through luxury hotels. Going from Delhi to Agra, you should leave VERY early in the morning to reduce travel time --- that road trip may well be a "highlight" of your visit to India. You will experience cows, elephants and impromptu street markets closing/slowing traffic...

Third, the Oberoi Agra is just lovely. Never visit the Taj Mahal w/o hotel staff. They make life so much easier --- you bypass all the hassle and they offer you cold bottles of water (and sunglasses!) which are both needed in the extremely hot, marble reflecting monument...

Fourth, Oberoi hotels offer a special package where you can stay at a number of thier hotels in India over a 1-2 week period for quite a good package price. I'd investigate. The Oberoi in Delhi is wonderful.

Again, congratulations !

Last edited by Braniff; Jan 23, 10 at 11:11 am
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Old Jan 23, 10, 10:28 am
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Just came back from a two week work trip to India but will base my
comments on a trip we did during Christmas about 3 years ago.

The road trip to Agra is painful with gypsies parading dancing bears along the road as you approach Agra. An interesting experience with the other half loved was a train trip from Delhi to Agra. Make sure you are in first class. It make take the same amount of time but taking a train in India is a truely unique experience.

Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra is lovely and probably the best option in Agra. All rooms get a view of the Taj Mahal. The swimming pool is an interesting set-up and a great place to order afternoon tea. If you want a romantic honeymoon dinner, then contact the hotel direct and ask them to set-up a special dinner for two outdoors over-looking the pool. Its akin to dining by the beach (only it is by the pool area but is a lovely setting). Alternatively, if you want good India food, the posh Indian restaurant there is one of the best with live Indian music (personally I can do without that). The great point about the Amarvilas is that it is the hotel that is closest to the Taj Mahal. The hotel golf buggy can take you (and tour guide) from hotel to Taj Mahal gate. For most other hotels, you have to switch to an electric bus as no petrol vehicles are allowed near the Taj Mahal. An afternoon visit to the Taj Mahal at sunset may be pretty but is going to be crowded. My recommendation is to go again on your own first thing in the morning (again by hotel buggy) since you can have the place to yourselves before the crowds begin to arrive. No queue to sit on the Princess Diana bench for the photo opportunity in front of the Taj Mahal. To be honest, you can do a morning tour of the Taj Mahal and a tour of Agra in a full morning.

Beware, the Udaipur Taj Lake Palace Hotel. Yes it looked absolutely lovely in James Bond's Octopussy movie but beware the following
- if there is draught on (which there has been), the lake will be very low. Dependant on the level of the lake, you can take a nice shuttle boat to the hotel if the lake is full, you can take the shuttle boat to the lake but have to climb up a ladder to get up to the hotel level if the lake is half full, or take the jeep to the hotel and really climb up a ladder if the lake is dry (it has been known)
- unless you upgrade to the top suites, the normal rooms are not that wonderful
- expect signs of age on the building and its facilities
- pool is not heated and is relatively small. Does not get the sun for long
- there will be tourist visiting the hotel during the day as it is a tourist attraction.
If you read the web-site, the top suites come with a "swing" (say no more )

We were very lucky that when we were there, the lake was full. You might want to consider the Oberoi Udaivillas instead will is one of the best hotels in the Oberoi group by the shores of the Lake.

In Jaipur, I personally would recommend the Oberoi Rajvillas over the Taj Rambagh Palace. So it is slightly out of town but based on various comments made here in the past, the Oberoi is better and newer. The Rambagh Palace while famous has not necessarily been maintained at tip top condition. We did our elephant ride there (one elephant for one person) on a quiet road on the hotel's own elephants. You may wish to upgrade to one of the tented rooms. Restaurant there is wonderful. Rajvillas have a lovely pool area and a great Spa (I still remember end my treatment soaking in a milk bath with rose petals!). I know how Cleopatra felt like!

Just stayed at the Leela Kempinski Gurgaon last week for work. it is a business hotel next to a highway. It is a business hotel. Rooms are nice and I was upgrade to a suite but there is nothing else around the hotel. I know the hotel is on top of a mall but I do not think there is much there. The only reason I stayed there is that it is a 6 min car trip to the office. It is also a 10 car trip if you are getting the BA early morning flight. It is about 20 mins by car during rush hour - mainly due to queues at the toll gate on the highway. The hotel is about 1 min after the toll gate.

You might wish to look up the Trident Gurgaon which is just across the highway from the Leela (I could pick up their very strong internet signal from the Leela). I think you will find that this is more a resort type hotel in keeping with Oberoi Rajvillas or the Amarvillas. There is still nothing around the hotel (there is nothing in Gurgaon fullstop apart from traffic) but it is close to the airport.

I'll PM you an India firm I used which works off the internet. I just specified the places and hotel and types of rooms/suites I wanted (I am fussy) and they did all the rest and gave me a quote. Just be aware that at times, while this maybe a private tour for the two of you, on the trip from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri, expect one driver, one tour guide for Fatehpur Sikri and one tour manager who speaks English be in the car with you. You drop off the tour guide for Fatehpur Sikri at the train station after the visit before continuing your journey.

My view is that that the Taj hotel chain is fine but the Oberoi hotel to me are usually one step better since we are talking honeymoon here.

Last edited by KenJohn; Jan 23, 10 at 11:00 am
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Old Jan 23, 10, 10:40 am
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Firstly, I love the itinerary, although ideally I would have added a few more days if possible. You might be living out of a suitcase, given the check-in & check-outs virtually every 2nd/3rd day.

I have stayed in all the above hotels you have chosen, except the Amanbagh. Totally agree with all these hotel choices, bar one, but more on that later. And knowing the two of you, I know you will adore some of those Rajasthan hotels, especially the Lake Palace. I can almost picture you just loving the pomp and grandeur of being "garlanded" upon arrival, while J turns a rather deep shade of beetroot in embarrasment.

There are quite a few posts about these hotels in this forum, (including a few by me), but some individual hotel tips:

Taj Mahal Delhi - Try and get a club level hotel room. Must go and have a meal at "Varq" the new modern Indian restaurant. To get a taste of what to expect, go for a meal at the Cinnamon Club in London. Food and style is remarkably similar!

Taj Rambagh - Some of the suites are just superb, and the supplement is often quite reasonable. Sip a G&T in the evening in one of the verandah lounges, while reading a copy of the Telegraph, and the "Sahib" in you will really come out, (not that it is ever far from the surface! )

Lake Palace - Get a lake view room, and preferebly a couple of categories above base! Also try out their spa which is really divine (although quite expensive, even by London standards!) Book a couples treatment if possible.

Leela Kempinski - Any particular reason to choose this hotel? It is a decent property, very new, but still significant teething problems. Not a great choice of restaurants either. Other options I would suggest would either be The Imperial or back to the Taj Mahal. Or if you want to be nearer to the airport, then the ITC Maurya (SPG!) is a good option, and quite acceptable, especially in the ITC One wing.


Obviously, we'll discuss this in more detail next week, over a civilized drink or three!
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Old Jan 23, 10, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
Beware, the Udaipur Taj Lake Palace Hotel. Yes it looked absolutely lovely in James Bond's Octopussy movie but beware the following
- if there is draught on (which there has been), the lake will be very low. Dependant on the level of the lake, you can take a nice shuttle boat to the hotel if the lake is full, you can take the shuttle boat to the lake but have to climb up a ladder to get up to the hotel level if the lake is half full, or take the jeep to the hotel and really climb up a ladder if the lake is dry (it has been known)
- unless you upgrade to the top suites, the normal rooms are not that wonderful
- expect signs of age on the building and its facilities
- pool is not heated and is relatively small. Does not get the sun for long
- there will be tourist visiting the hotel during the day as it is a tourist attraction.
If you read the web-site, the top suites come with a "swing" (say no more )
Answers to some of the above comments:
- I was there a few weeks ago and the lake this year has been at its highest level in several years. The monsoon was good. And Sept when the trip is planned is typically a time after the monsoon months when the lake generally has enough water.
- Personally, I also found that the renovations had done their job and everything was in excellent shape. Especially a stunningly cute sommelier!! I did thus end up buying a ridiculously expensive bottle of wine!
- Tourists are now banned from the hotel! They cannot even go there for lunch. It is exclusively residents only, and that has remarkably improved the experience.
- The Shuttle-Bored's I'm sure will enjoy the "swing", but do beware, they are rather fragile and somewhat ancient! (I'm talking about the swings here, and not the <ahem> riders!)

Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
You might want to consider the Oberoi Udaivillas instead will is one of the best hotels in the Oberoi group by the shores of the Lake.
Sorry, it might just be personal taste, but I disagree entirely. I have also stayed at Udailvilas, but it just came across as a new pretender. A piece of Zirconia, shiny and new from the outside, but nothing compared to the real old diamond, the Lake Palace. The service was okay, but the rooms were just average (and I was in an upgraded pool access room). It just felt like any other hotel. The worst feeling is seeing the Lake Palace from the windows of Udaivilas, and knowing that you're not there! Just the history of the Palace is incredible.

Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
In Jaipur, I personally would recommend the Oberoi Rajvillas over the Taj Rambagh Palace.
Unfortunately, I would once again disagree, and have stayed in both. Rajvilas is a great property if you are in Jaipur for a few days at leisure. If you are there for an overnight, and plan to see any part of the city, you definitely do not want to be a 40 minute bumpy road drive away from the centre. And again, IMHO, the history of Rambagh Palace is just incredible. As a history buff, the story of the Jaipur Royal Family is just incredible. As was the charisma of Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, whose home it was.
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Old Jan 23, 10, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by AJLondon View Post
Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
In Jaipur, I personally would recommend the Oberoi Rajvillas over the Taj Rambagh Palace. So it is slightly out of town but based on various comments made here in the past, the Oberoi is better and newer. The Rambagh Palace while famous has not necessarily been maintained at tip top condition.
Unfortunately, I would once again disagree, and have stayed in both. Rajvilas is a great property if you are in Jaipur for a few days at leisure. If you are there for an overnight, and plan to see any part of the city, you definitely do not want to be a 40 minute bumpy road drive away from the centre. And again, IMHO, the history of Rambagh Palace is just incredible. As a history buff, the story of the Jaipur Royal Family is just incredible. As was the charisma of Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, whose home it was.
luckily, rambagh has changed for better. AJLondon, i presume you posted this before staying after renovation/etc?
Originally Posted by AJLondon View Post
The other Taj business/leisure hotels, I personally feel are inferior to the corresponding ITC Welcomgroup / SPG offerings in the same cities. I don't need to point you towards a SPG forum thread on most bang for buck! I was in a simlar villa at that hotel a couple of weeks ago. Way better than the Taj Jai Mahal or the overrated Rambagh Palace.
rambagh & lake palace after recent renovation/etc >
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
...Rambagh Palace...is an exceptional hotel since its massive refurbishment - quite unrecognisable in many ways from its original incarnation. Some of the best butler service anywhere - not at all intrusive. Really good food, extremely comfortable, individually decorated rooms and suites and a real sense of historic Jaipur.
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
The best butlers ever are in India - Rambagh Palace, Umaid Bhawan etc., where they organise everything, clean your shoes, book your restaurant tables, accompany you to markets etc etc etc.
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
Best Spa treatments:
...
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur.
Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur.
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
1. Taj Lake Palace - Indian foot massage - best ever..
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
I love the resort feel of Oberoi Udaivilas but the service is not as good as it used to be. The Lake Palace, after its major renovation is transformed. Service and food are excellent as are the revitalised rooms and suites. Their spa, although tiny, is by far the best, and now they have the spa boat, the experience is unique.
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
Waking up in the Khush Mahal Suite at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, and watching the reflected light from the stained glass windows merge with the ripples of the lake, creating a kaleidoscope of patterns on the ceiling...
Originally Posted by deer View Post
...Gallivanter Ratings:...Taj Lake Palace Udaipur fantastic, no more day-tourists allowed and brillantly refurbished in every detail (5,5), Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur excellent, only the lousy spa resembles a hair saloon (5,5), Taj Rambagh Palace Jaipur very good (5)...

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jan 23, 10 at 11:51 am
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Old Jan 23, 10, 12:13 pm
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Are you sure you don't want to see tigers? Could be your last chance to see them in the wild.
This photo was shot at Aman-i-Khas.


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Old Jan 23, 10, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
luckily, rambagh has changed for better. AJLondon, i presume you posted this before staying after renovation/etc?

rambagh & lake palace after recent renovation/etc >
Spot on kage. Thanks for all the quotes about Rambagh et al.

The transformation in Rambagh has been indeed remarkable. I used to stay there ages back, and then gave up after a while and tried other places, including Rajvilas, Jai Mahal and even the Rajputana Sheraton and the Meridien (which is on the DEL-Jaipur highway, about 40 minutes outside Japiur, and 10 minutes after Amer Fort).

I have now returned to Rambagh on several occasions post renovation and have been absolutely delighted with both the rooms, ameities and most importantly the service and the tradition. Knowing some of the staff, and as a regular, also certainly helps! My Jaipur rating is now:
1. Rambagh
2. JaiMahal
3. RajVilas (if I can afford to be 40 minutes away from the city centre!)
4. Rajputana
5. Meridien (if I can afford to be 40 minutes away from the city centre!)
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Old Jan 23, 10, 12:32 pm
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amazing pic Ericka

perhaps your and jkirk's trip reports will help.

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Old Jan 24, 10, 5:07 am
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Wow! Thanks for all the inputs - hugely appreciated. This is one trip we want to get just right, so all of the suggestions/critique above are very very useful!

Wondering perhaps whether we need to drop one of the destinations (though no idea which one!) to free up a bit of time. We're both of the view that you don't have to see everything in a single trip - there's plenty of time to return somewhere in the future.

The itinerary above covered all of our car transfers, guides etc - whilst not our usual modus operandi, I think we'd be a bit more comfortable with packaging this trip with a tour operator than booking everything seperately. However if anyone can suggest a company to handle everything bar the hotels, we'd be interested in looking at that.

AJLondon - looking forward to the detailed review!
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Old Jan 24, 10, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
Just came back from a two week work trip to India but will base my
comments on a trip we did during Christmas about 3 years ago.

The road trip to Agra is painful with gypsies parading dancing bears along the road as you approach Agra. An interesting experience with the other half loved was a train trip from Delhi to Agra. Make sure you are in first class. It make take the same amount of time but taking a train in India is a truely unique experience.

Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra is lovely and probably the best option in Agra. All rooms get a view of the Taj Mahal. The swimming pool is an interesting set-up and a great place to order afternoon tea. If you want a romantic honeymoon dinner, then contact the hotel direct and ask them to set-up a special dinner for two outdoors over-looking the pool. Its akin to dining by the beach (only it is by the pool area but is a lovely setting). Alternatively, if you want good India food, the posh Indian restaurant there is one of the best with live Indian music (personally I can do without that). The great point about the Amarvilas is that it is the hotel that is closest to the Taj Mahal. The hotel golf buggy can take you (and tour guide) from hotel to Taj Mahal gate. For most other hotels, you have to switch to an electric bus as no petrol vehicles are allowed near the Taj Mahal. An afternoon visit to the Taj Mahal at sunset may be pretty but is going to be crowded. My recommendation is to go again on your own first thing in the morning (again by hotel buggy) since you can have the place to yourselves before the crowds begin to arrive. No queue to sit on the Princess Diana bench for the photo opportunity in front of the Taj Mahal. To be honest, you can do a morning tour of the Taj Mahal and a tour of Agra in a full morning.

Beware, the Udaipur Taj Lake Palace Hotel. Yes it looked absolutely lovely in James Bond's Octopussy movie but beware the following
- if there is draught on (which there has been), the lake will be very low. Dependant on the level of the lake, you can take a nice shuttle boat to the hotel if the lake is full, you can take the shuttle boat to the lake but have to climb up a ladder to get up to the hotel level if the lake is half full, or take the jeep to the hotel and really climb up a ladder if the lake is dry (it has been known)
- unless you upgrade to the top suites, the normal rooms are not that wonderful
- expect signs of age on the building and its facilities
- pool is not heated and is relatively small. Does not get the sun for long
- there will be tourist visiting the hotel during the day as it is a tourist attraction.
If you read the web-site, the top suites come with a "swing" (say no more )

We were very lucky that when we were there, the lake was full. You might want to consider the Oberoi Udaivillas instead will is one of the best hotels in the Oberoi group by the shores of the Lake.

In Jaipur, I personally would recommend the Oberoi Rajvillas over the Taj Rambagh Palace. So it is slightly out of town but based on various comments made here in the past, the Oberoi is better and newer. The Rambagh Palace while famous has not necessarily been maintained at tip top condition. We did our elephant ride there (one elephant for one person) on a quiet road on the hotel's own elephants. You may wish to upgrade to one of the tented rooms. Restaurant there is wonderful. Rajvillas have a lovely pool area and a great Spa (I still remember end my treatment soaking in a milk bath with rose petals!). I know how Cleopatra felt like!

Just stayed at the Leela Kempinski Gurgaon last week for work. it is a business hotel next to a highway. It is a business hotel. Rooms are nice and I was upgrade to a suite but there is nothing else around the hotel. I know the hotel is on top of a mall but I do not think there is much there. The only reason I stayed there is that it is a 6 min car trip to the office. It is also a 10 car trip if you are getting the BA early morning flight. It is about 20 mins by car during rush hour - mainly due to queues at the toll gate on the highway. The hotel is about 1 min after the toll gate.

You might wish to look up the Trident Gurgaon which is just across the highway from the Leela (I could pick up their very strong internet signal from the Leela). I think you will find that this is more a resort type hotel in keeping with Oberoi Rajvillas or the Amarvillas. There is still nothing around the hotel (there is nothing in Gurgaon fullstop apart from traffic) but it is close to the airport.

I'll PM you an India firm I used which works off the internet. I just specified the places and hotel and types of rooms/suites I wanted (I am fussy) and they did all the rest and gave me a quote. Just be aware that at times, while this maybe a private tour for the two of you, on the trip from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri, expect one driver, one tour guide for Fatehpur Sikri and one tour manager who speaks English be in the car with you. You drop off the tour guide for Fatehpur Sikri at the train station after the visit before continuing your journey.

My view is that that the Taj hotel chain is fine but the Oberoi hotel to me are usually one step better since we are talking honeymoon here.
Sorry, but this information is completely out of date now.

The Taj hotel chain has seriously surpassed Oberoi in the past 3 years. You would not recognise Taj Lake Palace (now with tourists banned entirely and everything fabulously refurbished). They have a new arrival jetty which is palatial, and frankly, if the lake is going through a drought, then this affects The Oberoi Udailvilas just as much. The Rambagh Palace, too, is completely renovated and is now sensational. It is much 'newer' than some of the tired accommodation at The Oberoi Rajvilas, which really needs a major re-fit.

I agree that it is much better taking the Shatabdhi Express train to Agra - the drive is very taxing. I also agree that the Oberoi Amarvilas is by far the best option.

Trident Gurgaon (operated by Oberoi) is a much better option than the Kempinski.

This itinerary is much too busy. I would cut out a couple of destinations and spend more time really taking in one or two places. Amanbagh, definitely - a splendid choice. Umaid Bhawan Palace, too - utterly unique.

I would also fly rather than drive - these drives of 6 hours or more are ridiculous and very tiring. You can fly instead (Jet Airways or Kingfisher - both excellent, but especially Jet).

I would let the hotels organise all your sightseeing as they are much more knowledgeable and will take you to more unusual places. For instance, you do not need a tour operator at Amanbagh - the resort will look after everything and do it with far more panache. Same goes for all the others.

I would get Greaves Travel to book exactly what you want, but leave out the tours - ask the hotels instead.

At Rambagh and Lake Palace, it would be worth splurging on suites, especially as this is a honeymoon. You will never forget the experience.
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Old Jan 24, 10, 7:47 am
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Shuttle-Bored, id agree with vuittonsofstyle re tours, and maybe transfers - stick with hotels, they are good ones. only if your budget was a lot higher might the top tour companies be better. OTOH jkirk did mention some issues at amanbagh...

re tour companies - offhand i recall things like formal meals with maharajas at umaid bhawan / rambagh. and when geoffrey kent himself led a group out of aman-i-khas, perhaps he was allowed to go off route/etc in the park. OTOH for example FS mumbai arranged a bollywood film role for $100K.

tour companies and elite traveler (above itin, and suite blurbs) are good sources for itin ideas as well, in addition to the trip reports here. then you can talk to hotel or tour company youre making arrangements with re specifics / personal preferences / updates / etc. im sure people here would be happy to discuss things in more detail as well, as you go through planning process. this is the right (only) forum.

vuittonsofstyle, can you comment on how the 3 good taj camps compare to aman-i-khas?

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jan 24, 10 at 10:23 am
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Old Jan 24, 10, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by Shuttle-Bored View Post
The itinerary above covered all of our car transfers, guides etc - whilst not our usual modus operandi, I think we'd be a bit more comfortable with packaging this trip with a tour operator than booking everything seperately. However if anyone can suggest a company to handle everything bar the hotels, we'd be interested in looking at that.

AJLondon - looking forward to the detailed review!
Peirce and Leslie is a Virtuoso onsite in India. They are very good at making travel in India as luxurious as possible, given the difficulties with logistics.
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Old Jan 25, 10, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
Shuttle-Bored, id agree with vuittonsofstyle re tours, and maybe transfers - stick with hotels, they are good ones. only if your budget was a lot higher might the top tour companies be better. OTOH jkirk did mention some issues at amanbagh...

re tour companies - offhand i recall things like formal meals with maharajas at umaid bhawan / rambagh. and when geoffrey kent himself led a group out of aman-i-khas, perhaps he was allowed to go off route/etc in the park. OTOH for example FS mumbai arranged a bollywood film role for $100K.

tour companies and elite traveler (above itin, and suite blurbs) are good sources for itin ideas as well, in addition to the trip reports here. then you can talk to hotel or tour company youre making arrangements with re specifics / personal preferences / updates / etc. im sure people here would be happy to discuss things in more detail as well, as you go through planning process. this is the right (only) forum.

vuittonsofstyle, can you comment on how the 3 good taj camps compare to aman-i-khas?
If you book a Royal Suite (2 of these) at Umaid Bhawan Palace, you automatically get an audience with the Maharajah of Jodhpur, if he is in residence. Best way to do this is direct with the GM - Ashish Kumar Rai. All those promises made by tour groups of exclusive trips and audiences can all be achieved via the hotels direct - you just have to ask. They do it so much better.

Agree that Pierce & Leslie are considered to be one of the best ground handlers, though I have not used them. I have a friend who used them for his first India trip and thought they were very good, but his second India trip, he booked everything direct. India is very civilised at the top end - you do not need to be afraid. The top hotels (Taj & Oberoi) can accomplish just about anything, including booking all your internal flights.

As for the safari camps, you cannot compare Ranthambhore (Aman-i-Khas and The Oberoi Vanyavilas) with the four Taj Safari Camps of Madhya Pradesh. The landscape is much more lush and unspoilt in Madhya Pradesh and the experience is less touristic in many ways. They also have leopards as well as tigers (and more of them).

The best camp, IMHO, is the newest, Banjaar Tola in Kanha National Park, but for a seamless transfer, you must get them to book you a private charter from Jabalpur (90 mins flight from Delhi) as the 5-hour (or more) drive is, for me, not acceptable. If you get Taj Safaris to do this for you, they drive your luggage ahead of you, whilst you fly - only 90 minutes and very picturesque as the landscape is stunning.
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