We took our first trip to India because I needed 25k American Airlines’ Elite Qualifying Points (EQP) for my status match from United 1k to American Airlines Executive Platinum. We found a good upgradable round trip fare on BA from Washington DC to New Delhi. Originally we had thought to fly to Chennai (I’d hit the 25k on a single trip), but decided that the Taj Mahal was on our bucket list and we’d grab that brass ring. We only had 74 hours on the ground but for the miles it made sense, and we made the most out of it. We flew into Delhi and took a train down to Agra the next day to see the Taj Mahal. One could do it in a day but we decided to spend the night in Agra and splurge a bit.
Reason for Choosing
We had the American Express Platinum card with gives access to their travel services, including American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. This was the first time that we used that benefit, but for the location of the hotel, the room, the benefits, and the personal quality that we got from American Express, it couldn’t have been better.
The location was what made the choice of the Oberoi Amarvilas so simple. It is just a 5-10 min golf cart ride to the Taj Mahal and about a 15 minute drive from the train station to the hotel with the free hotel transfer.
We were able to arrange a guide and tickets to tour the Taj Mahal from the hotel and they were able to set it up such that we would be able tour it close to sunset on the day that we arrived.
Lobby and Check-in/Check-out Experience
We met the driver just outside of the train station and they ushered us through the crowds to the car. At which point we were offered bottled water. After a quick and uneventful (if you don’t count the cattle driven carts) ride to the hotel, we were greeted and our bags were taken to the room. We were shown into the hotel’s amazing courtyard and lobby.
While we waited to check in they seated us in a drawing room with a welcome drink. The actual check in process was a breeze. Before we knew it, we were being shown to the room.
Check out went just as efficient and the hotel had the transfer back to New Delhi all set for us too.
Where the hotel stood out
Where do I start, The hotel was amazing.
All of the rooms face the Taj Mahal and are of ample size with a comfortable bed and plenty of space in the bathroom. The toiletries are some of the best that we’ve had to this day.
Since we had started the day early (about 4am), we ordered room service for lunch prior to visiting the Taj Mahal. The service was great and no problems with the food.
Our room rate came with dinner and breakfast included for both of us.
The dinner was amazing. We were able to arrange for a reservation so that there was no wait once we got back from the Taj Mahal for dinner. My wife had a chicken curry dish and I had steak (I know, eating steak in India). It was probably one of the best steaks I’ve had, very ample in size, and quite tasting. Once the staff realized that we were curious about and interested in trying Indian food, we were brought traditional breads and sides for the appetizer.
Breakfast had a lot of food. They had the traditional western foods and a small table of Indian breakfast food. All of which was fantastic. The staff was awesome in their service. What you see in the photo below was the result of us asking about the small table of Indian food. Again, once we expressed an interest in the local food, dishes just kept appearing, and all of it tasted phenomenal.
Where the hotel fell a little short
It’s really hard to identify a single point where the hotel fell short. Perhaps the pool might not have been big enough, or perhaps the prices were a bit high, but we clearly were paying a premium for the location.
It was well worth the splurge. Between the great location, awesome staff, and great room, it is hard not to choose this hotel. We would recommend staying here and would definitely return if we went back. The one thing I would really highlight though, and this rang true in Delhi as well as in Agra: If you express interest in the local dishes, you will have the opportunity to try some amazing food. I’m generally not a fan of spicy foods, however, the breakfasts we had in India, were some of the best I’ve had in all of my travel.