Oberoi Amarvillas

Old Oct 1, 14, 11:58 am
  #1  
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Oberoi Amarvillas

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Map| 6 Reviews | 83% Recommended

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Taj East Gate Road Agra, IN 28 2001

Oberoi Amarvillas (0 Photo)

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

I am very much of two minds on my assessment of this property. In some ways it succeeds admirably, and in some ways it is a total miss.

Location

Clearly the great strength is the view of the Taj Mahal from every room. And that is maybe part of the problem: the hotel relies on this one key thing too much. The views are lovely, but the rooms are perhaps a little small. The bathrooms in each of our two rooms (more on that in a bit) were not great; they lacked counter space, and in one the door to the shower couldn’t open at the same time as the door to the bathroom. And turning on the shower had the unfortunately tendency to spray water all over the bathroom floor. There were also subtle differences (different toilets, for example) that made me think they had tried but not really achieved exacting standards during construction. There are also minor examples of wear and tear that I couldn’t help but feeling could be easily remedied if management really wanted to deal with them.

The other incredibly frustrating thing is that there is no view of the Taj from either of the two restaurants or from the pool. I couldn’t help but feel that a better architect would have found a solution for this.

Dining

The quality of the food in both the Western and Indian themed dining rooms was good to very good—Indian dishes clearly being of a higher quality than their Western counterparts. Service was also strong, but not as personal as an Aman.

Service

Finally, I can’t help but mention the incident that lead to us having two rooms. Our first room flooded. At 4 in the morning. During scheduled repairs to the fire control system. Hmmm. And you know it is a crisis in India when you find an Indian woman running around in her pajamas trying to deal with the problem. The most frustrating thing is that there were about half a dozen opportunities for the hotel to prevent the noise or the flooding being an issue—most obviously, the hotel was only at 20% occupancy, so just proactively moving us from the wing and floors in which the repairs were being conducted would have been the right thing to do. Nevertheless, the hotel management was clearly deeply apologetic and did resolve the situation to our satisfaction. The manager was extremely solicitous, and clearly wanted to make sure we kept Oberoi properties in mind for future trips and I did appreciate their efforts. So, in the spirit of stuff happens, and it is how you fix problems that is probably more important that trying to pretend that you never have a problem in the first place, I have to say I was absolutely impressed.

Overall

I still left frustrated by feeling that the property could have been so much better. Although the result was really good, it is still irritating the way any missed opportunity at greatness is, if that makes sense.

Oberoi Amarvillas

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Old Feb 25, 17, 12:44 pm
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Nice stay at Oberoi Amarvilas (Agra) despite air con failure

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Map| 6 Reviews | 83% Recommended

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Taj East Gate Road Agra, IN 28 2001

Nice stay at Oberoi Amarvilas (Agra) despite air con failure (20 Photos)

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

My husband and I stayed 2 nights at the Oberoi Amarvilas after previous stops in New Delhi (The Lodhi), Jodhpur (Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace), Udaipur (Oberoi Udaivilas), and Varanasi (Taj Nadesar Palace). We assumed the extra night would allow us plenty of chances to see the Taj Mahal, which was the only reason for our visit. We were right!

This was the only hotel in India where we didn't have a suite--though we also had not paid for a suite at the other Oberoi Udaivilas but were fortunate to get a suite upgrade. Considering the next category Deluxe Suite didn't have a balcony, we made the right choice--because the cost difference for the Deluxe Suite with Balcony was patently ridiculous IMO.

We didn't take a lot of photos of this hotel...as it lacked the charm and/or character of other hotels we enjoyed IMO. This hotel is by far the nicest luxury hotel in closest proximity to the Taj Mahal, and it knows it. It's all about the Taj Mahal...and the prices reflect that demand.

Entry drive:

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Lobby (taken on our departure with our most-helpful hotel employee!):

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View from our room onto the pool deck:

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Check In

Check in was a bit messy--not unlike at the Oberoi Udaivilas. (A pattern or coincidence? We never will know.)

We were greeted by the hotel manager, whom I had contacted a month before our stay in the hope that we might get an upgrade. Not that lucky. But he graciously offered any assistance, and was extremely friendly and welcoming. 

Then we were brough to our Premier Room with Balcony, which unfortunately was located directly across from the elevators on the 3rd floor. The balcony was enormous...but the room location was not to our liking. Then we realized the air con had not been preset to 17-18 C as requested--it was actually 22 C in the room. 

They moved us quickly to another Premier Room with Balcony more to the end of the hallway on the 4th floor. While the balcony wasn't as large, we liked the room and it was considerably cooler already at 20 C. They promised us it would drop to 17-18 C...but it never did.

Room

Our second Premier Room with Balcony was more than sufficient if not overly spacious:

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But the view was nice!

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Not the biggest room, but a fairly comfortable one--with the single exception of the air con, which didn't work so well our first night and failed completely for our second night.

On check out, we expressed our dismay at the air con failure and mentioned the same happening at The Lodhi--which had refunded a half night in compensation. The Amarvilas manager agreed to refund a full night's stay in compensatio despite our asking only for the half night, so we felt the matter was handled generously. That being said, I am quite surprised that the hotel could not cool as well as every other hotel at which we stayed.

Service

Service was actually quite good overall--in spite of the air con issues (not being preset as requested, and air con failing completely for our second night). The staff really tried to go out of their way to help us, even if they didn't always get it right.

We had room service on our second night, and the set-up was a bit of a disaster. The attendant was either inexperienced or unaware that he had set the table improperly--which almost spilled our entire meal in my lap about 10 minutes into the meal! Fortunately, my quick reflexes saved the day. But I wasn't amused.

On the other hand, I was still recovering from a strep throat situation and the effect of the antibiotic, causing me some intestinal distress. One particular hotel employee was fabulous--getting us the doctor, getting someone to pick up presriptions from the pharmacy, and delivering them to us wherever we happened to be on property. She followed up with us on several occasions, making sure I was feeling better and checking if I might need anything else. We were very impressed. She was fantastic.

They also made sure to send greetings for my birthday (even though it was several days prior) and our anniversary:

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For our final night:

 

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So while our service wasn't quite perfect, we still had a fantastic service experience--even with the misses. That's saying something to us!

 

 

Dining

Dining was quite good at the hotel.

At the hotel's Indian restaurant:

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Our room service dinner on our final night (before the table nearly collapsed!):

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Breakfasts were also very good.

All in all, food and beverage were quite good.

Location

You can't beat the location just in front of the Taj Mahal. It was an easy 15 minute walk to the gate, or you could ride the hotel's transport/tuk-tuk as you preferred. We did both.

Otherwise, it is a crowded and crazy location because of the nightmarish traffic and throngs coming in and out to see the Taj. 

Overall

We enjoyed our stay at the Amarvilas, though its proximity to the Taj Mahal is its biggest plus IMO. While service could be extraordinary, there were some lapses and misses. And an air con fail is never too impressive. Unlike the Lodhi, where the air con failure was due to a random power issue, I get the sense from the 2 rooms that this hotel has air con issues in general...so I caution people in that regard.

Nice stay at Oberoi Amarvilas (Agra) despite air con failure

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bhrubin is online now  
Old Feb 25, 17, 1:40 pm
  #3  
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Thanks for the review and for taking me back. I stayed there in 2001 for NYE. We had a great visit to the Taj and they had a wonderful NYE feast. It was probably my first true luxury stay and the hotel was virtually brand new. There was something truly magical about sitting on my balcony looking at the Taj and drinking coffee every morning.

FDW
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Old Nov 1, 18, 9:53 pm
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It's 4 years later but since not much new is posted on this property, I thought I'd add my thoughts. Just coming off a two night stay (apparently one night longer than average). Overall, I felt this was quite a nice stay. I had booked a premier room through Amex FHR and was upgraded one level to a room with balcony. I was met on arrival by the relatively new (2 months) GM, Vishal Pathak, who I also saw later on. He appears to be very hands-on, which I like a lot.

Service was very good throughout. A fair number of staff did call me by name. About the only negative is that the first night, there was a Japanese tour group in the hotel and it did make things worse, particularly in the restaurant over breakfast. I also agree with Ridefar that if the room was about 1 m wider, allowing 2 sinks in the bathroom, it would have been nice. But there's not much that can be done about that now. Still there is no doubt that this is a true luxury hotel and, of course, the views of the Taj were amazing, albeit diminished somewhat by the very high level of smog in Agra. Hotel grounds are lovely and immaculately kept.

Differences from Ridefar's review above:For me, the shower worked just fine. No wear and tear visible anywhere. It didn't bother me at all that there were no Taj views from the restaurant or pool, both of which are one level below the lobby. No flooding problems at all, maybe whatever is referred to above has been fixed.

i definitely would stay here again but see no reason to come back since once you've toured the Taj and possibly Agra fort, there is nothing else really worth doing.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 10:26 am
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The big problem with Amarvilas is that staff never gets a chance to really know the guests, as the average stay is, at maximum, 2 nights, but mostly 1 night. This means that the hotel has to operate more like an airport hotel than a resort, with constant room turnarounds and numerous groups.

Unfortunately, this is the nature of Agra and I suspect that no matter who opens here, they will experience the same challenges.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 11:51 am
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DSI
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I found this hotel to be an airport hotel for large bus groups that was uninteresting except for walking around the pool area. People in poor health were sneezing all over the buffet area, just gross.

I didnít see the value proposition at all here. Iíd have preferred to save some coin and stay elsewhere if I did it over again. It gets extra marketing for being more expensive and thus more bus tours sell it
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Old Nov 4, 18, 10:49 am
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My review from Jan 2017: https://www.flyertalk.com/hotel-revi...n-failure-1830

Perhaps mods could merge the two threads?

We had a nice experience but felt this was the least impressive Oberoi properties of all those at which we stayed. That being said, it also seemed that this Oberoi is the nicest property in Agra by far. So pick your poison.

I agree that once youíve been to the Taj, thereís very little reason to return for another stay at the Amarvilas. And while we stayed 2 nights, you easily could do a Taj visit with only a 1 night stay here.
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Old Nov 4, 18, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
The big problem with Amarvilas is that staff never gets a chance to really know the guests, as the average stay is, at maximum, 2 nights, but mostly 1 night. This means that the hotel has to operate more like an airport hotel than a resort, with constant room turnarounds and numerous groups.

Unfortunately, this is the nature of Agra and I suspect that no matter who opens here, they will experience the same challenges.
This is pretty bang on, but I still agree with RichardinSF that Amarvillas is still a true luxury hotel. It's the best option in Agra and the views of the Taj are unparalleled.

My visit was 2 nights, arriving late (9pm) coming from Amanbagh. We woke up at 5:30 the next morning to be at the Taj to watch the sunrise. Spent the afternoon at Agra Fort before heading back to the hotel to check out the pool and have dinner, and left Agra the next morning. Agra is definitely a short stop for people taking a trip to India, and it's reflected in the fast turnover at Amarvillas. I doubt there are many people that stay more than 2 nights.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:56 am
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If most are staying for two nights, I know I need four. I really like to take time
to settle in wherever I go.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 6:00 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
If most are staying for two nights, I know I need four. I really like to take time
to settle in wherever I go.
Trust the collective forum wisdom on this. Most only need one night. No one needs more than two.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 6:53 am
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We were there for New Years in 2003-4.

We stsyed 3 nights. I personally hate staying anywhere less than 3 nights and we had a nice time. They had a nice New Years dinner and the pool was warmed to a nice temperature.

It it was my first true luxury stay and maybe since it was 15 years I still think of it very highly. It was just so magical to sit on my balcony and see the Taj

fdw
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Old Nov 5, 18, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
We were there for New Years in 2003-4.

We stsyed 3 nights. I personally hate staying anywhere less than 3 nights and we had a nice time. They had a nice New Years dinner and the pool was warmed to a nice temperature.

It it was my first true luxury stay and maybe since it was 15 years I still think of it very highly. It was just so magical to sit on my balcony and see the Taj

fdw
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Trust the collective forum wisdom on this. Most only need one night. No one needs more than two.
I have complete confidence in the collective wisdom here, and particularly in yours, but I am a bit of an outlier when it comes to stay length. Even for a local weekend getaway, two nights is too short for me even without as much travel time or any attractions to see. I think perhaps three nights would be enough for me, as that is usually my minimum. I like to have at least two full days at an hotel, as I cannot do much of anything on travel days.

I only do one night stays anywhere if I am in transit.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
If most are staying for two nights, I know I need four. I really like to take time
to settle in wherever I go.
You'll hate yourself for doing it - two nights MAX. One is also enough.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
You'll hate yourself for doing it - two nights MAX. One is also enough.
Itís that bad? There seems to be a strong consensus that this is a property geared toward short stays. Normally I have no problem killing some time with spa treatments and some relaxation in addition to attractions and activities. Seems like I should definitely stay for two or three nights, which for me is a short stay. One night is out of the question.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
Itís that bad? There seems to be a strong consensus that this is a property geared toward short stays. Normally I have no problem killing some time with spa treatments and some relaxation in addition to attractions and activities. Seems like I should definitely stay for two or three nights, which for me is a short stay. One night is out of the question.
I recommend you take a 4 night trip to Jaipur or Delhi, and throw in 2 nights at Amarvillas as a side trip. You can still have a ~week long trip, but only 2 nights at Amarvillas as we all recommend.
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