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Luxury Tour of India: Thoughts on these hotels?

Luxury Tour of India: Thoughts on these hotels?

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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:55 am
  #166  
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Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
Well purely as a tiger destination, one should go with the photographers and/or perhaps camp out in the woods with a real tent. But this is not a tiger forum.
I visited the Oberoi Vanyanvilas. I am not sure about the guides/tigers, but I didn't think the Oberoi was superior in any way as a resort to Aman-i-Khas, other than being more of a family destination.
Without having been to the others, wildlife photographers etc I've spoken to - agree that Ranthambore is not the premier tiger destination.
When spending many hours and many thousands of dollars to visit tiger country, it's of paramount importance to see a Tiger, don't you think?

Given that the property/property service/guides are all packaged up at the top tiger resorts, I'd be happy to "sacrifice" a slight reduction in service/room quality for a better shot at a better wildlife experience.

With the Oberoi or Taj properties, you're not giving up a lot, either (if anything.)

But maybe that's just me.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 6:08 am
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Originally Posted by beachfan View Post
Surprised at the one night in Agra suggestion. Even with the new road, it took 6 plus hours to drive from Delhi (left at 7pm)

for me, the Taj was the highlight of both my trips to India, and the lesser sites in Agra are major sites elsewhere(baby Taj, Akbars mausoleum, both impressed me more than the fort).
And Fatehpur Sikri can have lots of traffic getting in. 40 minutes for the last 10 Miles.Why. Stay at a luxury hotel if you will only be spending 8 hours there?
Personally loved all three Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur . Probably in that order, but Iíd go with whichever transportation options are smoothest for. Jaipur is the most modern of the 3.Havenít been to Varanasi, but looked into it and decided against it because of the rawness of the experience. If you are the spiritual type, it might be compelling, but Iím not so thatís what I dropped.Khajurao was awesome. If doing Varanasi from Delhi, some flights continue in to Khajurao so many do them together.
Note that I suggested two nights in Agra, but mentioned that 1 night is manageable. Two nights would be to be able to see that Taj twice; once in morning and once in evening, and the Oberoi pool area is one of the nicest I have experienced. Rooms/suites, themselves, not so much.

Also, I am pretty sure the drive is only 3-3.5 hours to Agra from Delhi, with the new highway. Not anywhere close to 7 hours. IIRC we did it in about 3 hours and was an easy drive on the highway. The car service was ridiculously expensive when hired from the Oberoi, so for that trip I would definitely try for an alternative service at a fraction of the cost.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 9:11 am
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You obviously didnít have fog on the trip. My trip was on 12/30/17. It took many hours, more than 6, close or more than 7.not uncommon in winter , so I heard.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:22 pm
  #169  
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It's interesting that no one seems to think Delhi is worth spending much time at. Is there really nothing much there?

The Sujan Ranthambore resort doesn't mention air-conditioning but their website is a useless mess in any case so maybe it was just omitted? It's almost impossible to find prices on that site as well.

Ultimately, I expect to do bookings through an agent but in the itinerary figuring-out stage it is useful to get decent online data. It is interesting that Amanbagh essentially offers all Virtuoso/FHR benefits as a "special rate" on their website directly.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:41 pm
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Delhi has some sights but you have to handle major crowds for the most interesting part (markets in old Delhi). After 4 hours seeing the city (and sitting in traffic), I was done. The fort is worthwhile too. The British Colonial stuff I could give a pass to (and did my second time(

i had to overnight in Delhi and took the morning to see Old Delhi again and that was great.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It is interesting that Amanbagh essentially offers all Virtuoso/FHR benefits as a "special rate" on their website directly.
If IĎm right thatís not so unusual with Aman resorts. Wonder which booking gets the upgrade if only one upgrades room is available.......
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Old Feb 12, 18, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It's interesting that no one seems to think Delhi is worth spending much time at. Is there really nothing much there?

The Sujan Ranthambore resort doesn't mention air-conditioning but their website is a useless mess in any case so maybe it was just omitted? It's almost impossible to find prices on that site as well.

Ultimately, I expect to do bookings through an agent but in the itinerary figuring-out stage it is useful to get decent online data. It is interesting that Amanbagh essentially offers all Virtuoso/FHR benefits as a "special rate" on their website directly.
Delhiís sights werenít as impressive as those in other locations mentioned thus far...but itís worth a night or two if youíre flying in or out from there. We did 2 nights; that was plenty.

if you like to dine, though, there are some great restaurants. We loved Bukhara at the ITC, and Indian Accent is world class.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 4:57 am
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Originally Posted by KI-NRT View Post
When spending many hours and many thousands of dollars to visit tiger country, it's of paramount importance to see a Tiger, don't you think?

Given that the property/property service/guides are all packaged up at the top tiger resorts, I'd be happy to "sacrifice" a slight reduction in service/room quality for a better shot at a better wildlife experience.

With the Oberoi or Taj properties, you're not giving up a lot, either (if anything.)

But maybe that's just me.
Well said.

IME, you will not "sacrifice" ANY going with Oberoi or Taj. I think many times we get sucked into one brand and start thinking too much of them...

Also, agree with bhrubin, if you like food, Delhi is a wonderful place. I hate the traffic there and the pollution levels have only gotten worse. However, its a gem for food.

Going to Agra from Delhi, another option is by train. Now this was many years ago, but their first class on the train was great...really better than driving at the time.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 5:00 am
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Stopped in Delhi for 4 nights on second trip to India and really enjoyed staying there...lots to see and great shopping, traffic was not that bad but we had an excellent guide and driver provided by our agent.

Stayed at The Lodhi which was excellent and had no problem with air quality in the city.

On the first trip we went to Agra although I originally removed it from the itinerary and was persuaded it is a must do which it is, especially if you stay at the Amarvilas...took us around 4 to 5 hours to get to Agra from Delhi and would recommend 2 nights for sunset on day of arrival and sunrise.

Varanasi...mixed feelings...did not totally live up to expectations but was not happy with guide. Taj Nadesar Palace is the only place to stay.

​​​​​​Udaipur - stayed Oberoi Udaivilas - don't consider The Leela...dreadful
Jodhpur - stayed Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace - would like to try The Raas next time

For something different between Jodhpur and Udaipur look at Mihir Garh.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 2:18 pm
  #175  
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I've now heard some answers back from the two Amans as well as Sher Bagh. I have to say that the more I look into these, the more impressive Amanbagh looks compared to the others, consistent with the view of my fellow forumistas . I am now inclined to just do Amanbagh for 4 nights and use one of those days to get a taste of the Indian safari experience by taking their day trip to the newer reserve.

One question I haven't asked these folks: what is the mosquito situation like? Will we have to give our clothes the permethrin treatment before the trip? Or are the mosquitos mostly gone by the end of October?

It is frustrating that all these folks quote prices excluding value added tax of 28% and, in the case of the Amans, an additional service fee of 10%. I really find this sort of thing to be deceptive.

Last edited by RichardInSF; Feb 13, 18 at 3:33 pm
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Old Feb 13, 18, 5:55 pm
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A few things to consider in planning:

In Udaipur we loved Devi Garh Raas Devigarh | Luxury Boutique Hotel Devigarh, it is about 30 minutes outside of town, serene, historic, fun, and you feel like you are part of the surrounding village. We chose it over the Aman and never regretted our decision.

At the Oberoi in Agra be sure to request, in advance, a tour of the kitchen. The executive chef gave us the tour and educated us on how Indian cuisine varies across the country.

In Delhi, Bukhara is touristy but a fantastic place to dine. One of the former chefs has opened a restaurant in Sonoma called Delhi Belly (awful name) if you'd like to pay it a visit before your trip. He even will make you a family naaan on request and several Bukhara dishes are on the menu.

The food at the Rumbaugh Palace is some of the best Indian cuisine we have had.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 6:38 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
I've now heard some answers back from the two Amans as well as Sher Bagh. I have to say that the more I look into these, the more impressive Amanbagh looks compared to the others, consistent with the view of my fellow forumistas . I am now inclined to just do Amanbagh for 4 nights and use one of those days to get a taste of the Indian safari experience by taking their day trip to the newer reserve.

One question I haven't asked these folks: what is the mosquito situation like? Will we have to give our clothes the permethrin treatment before the trip? Or are the mosquitos mostly gone by the end of October?

It is frustrating that all these folks quote prices excluding value added tax of 28% and, in the case of the Amans, an additional service fee of 10%. I really find this sort of thing to be deceptive.
Service at Aman-i-Khas was a real, real highlight, and the food was very good too. Amanbagh was not as good. Amanbagh certainly in a unique location, but again, Aman-i-Khas is a wonderful place to start your first tented camp if you haven't done African or other safaris/lodges yet.

Regarding the tax etc - ask them to send in a full invoice with all the inclusions or ask them to quote in full accordingly. Yea the taxes run really high.

One nice thing about Sher Bagh is a couple of their tents have private jacuzzis/pools.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 2:07 am
  #178  
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I have been engaging in correspondence with Amanbagh and they have mostly answered my questions. So I am thinking of finalizing the first part of the trip:

Wed Oct 24 -- Sat Oct 27 Delhi (hotel TBD)
Sat Oct 27 -- Mon Oct 29 Varanasi (Taj Nadesar Palace)
Mon Oct 29 - Wed Oct 31 Agra (Oberoi Amarvilas)
Wed Oct 31 - Sun Nov 4 Amanbagh
Sun Nov 4 - Fri Nov 9 still leaving open but likely to include Udaipur

We will get a taste of the animal reserves by taking a one day safari from Amanbagh instead of going to Aman-i-khas

The last 6 days of the trip are not finalized because I have a very good relationship with an Indian charity that is headquartered in Silicon Valley and the managing director of the charity keeps offering to take responsibility for part of the trip. He may well smell a potential donor, but he is a very decent guy and we get along well. If this doesn't happen, I think most likely 3 nights at Udaipur and also flying from Jaipur to Udaipur because I suspect by then we will have had enough long Indian road trips.

Amanbagh has finally admitted it would be OK to book their Shanti package through Virtuoso/FHR so I will eventually likely make all the bookings that way.. The Shanti package seems to have somewhat better inclusions than either Virtuoso or FHR.

Last edited by RichardInSF; Feb 20, 18 at 2:16 am
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Old Feb 20, 18, 5:52 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
We will get a taste of the animal reserves by taking a one day safari from Amanbagh instead of going to Aman-i-khas
I'm assuming you mean an outing at Sariska National Park.

If you do go, make sure you do not visit on a Tuesday or Saturday - that's when they allow self-drivers to enter the park, meaning that any hopes of peace and tranquility will be dashed.

Please be aware that a recent census suggested there were 14 Tigers in the park. Sightings of them, however, have been few and far in between.
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Old Feb 20, 18, 5:55 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It's interesting that no one seems to think Delhi is worth spending much time at. Is there really nothing much there?

The Sujan Ranthambore resort doesn't mention air-conditioning but their website is a useless mess in any case so maybe it was just omitted? It's almost impossible to find prices on that site as well.

Ultimately, I expect to do bookings through an agent but in the itinerary figuring-out stage it is useful to get decent online data. It is interesting that Amanbagh essentially offers all Virtuoso/FHR benefits as a "special rate" on their website directly.
Adore Delhi, no idea why people gloss over it.

Yeah, itīs a poluted madhouse/complete mess, but then again, so is Mumbai, Bangkok, Saigon, etc etc (many other Asian destinations people donīt forget to glance over).

A TON to see in Delhi, and really adore the old town.

(ps, I am a tad biased, as I love India - and itīs faults - wholeheartedly. I actually lived there for a year a half decade ago - Bangalore and Mumbai)
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