A long weekend at the Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra

April saw one of the few long weekends we are blessed with in 2022 and one of the last in the year’s first half. Since Shipra and I were both spending time in Delhi, we figured it might be a good time to get out for a weekend getaway. While there are many places to go to from Delhi, we decided on heading to Agra. Agra has been long on my list of places to go, given I have long-standing family ties there, and I hadn’t returned to the city in maybe twenty years, and never with Shipra.

An easy driving distance from Delhi, we decided to drive to Agra as we’d never driven on the new Yamuna Expressway between Delhi and Agra. The drive was pretty smooth, and you could drive at a comfortable 100 kmph through and through. We made it to Agra in about 3.5 hours after leaving home early, not including the time spent fueling up the car and on a highway halt for breakfast.

We chose to stay at the Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra, one of the newest hotels to open up in Agra. The hotel was the earlier Radisson and was reflagged as a Taj property in 2019. It is also very close to the highway as you enter the city and close to the Taj Mahal. It made a lot of sense to go there for all of these reasons. a sign in front of a building

Arriving at the Taj Hotel, Agra

We arrived at the Taj Hotel, Agra, at about 11:30 AM, and as we entered the hotel, we were accorded a traditional welcome with an Aarti, and the team were ready to check us in. The hotel is over 300 rooms, and it was prime check-out time given the large number of weddings they were hosting at the hotel on the days we were there. So, the front desk crew had our key cards prepared, and they brought us straight to our room. The check-in formalities were completed in the room.

a lobby with a marble floor and a marble floor

Taj Agra, Lobby Area

a lobby with chairs and a wall with a flower on the wall

Taj Agra, Lobby Area

The Taj Hotel, Agra Deluxe Suite

While we were initially booked in a Superior Room, we were proactively upgraded to the Deluxe Suite by the hotel, perhaps given our status with the Taj Inner Circle programme. We were eventually put up in a corner suite on the 4th floor, and it looks like it was one of the two largest rooms on the floor.

a sign on a wood surface

The Deluxe Suite had a living area, a bedroom, and an enclosed bath. The living room had a work desk, a couch and a dining table.

a room with a table and chairs

The dining area had some very comfortable chairs, and in fact, a couple of the calls that bothered me over this long weekend were done from here, rather than the work desk at the other end of the room.

a table with chairs and a vase of flowers

The coffee ensemble had a supply of Lavazza coffee, which was great, in my opinion.

a machine and bottles of water on a counter

a tray with cups and saucers on it

The rest of the living room had ample space to sprawl out, whether on the couch or the solo side couch with an ottoman. The work desk was nice, but I was working off the dining table because the glass top wasn’t my style, and I could not adapt.

a room with couches and a desk a couch and coffee table in a room

A television right across the sofa completed the room. A hand sanitiser was placed in the room in case we needed it.

a tv mounted on a wall

Right about the corner was the powder room.

a bathroom with a mirror and sink

Here is a quick peep into the bedroom.

a room with a bed and a television

There was a small setup to get your morning cuppa and a dotted view of the Taj Mahal by the windows. Although it was so sunny throughout the time, we were there that we usually kept the curtains drawn. two chairs in a room with a table and a glass table

The bed was comfortable, and I always appreciated hotels with plug points on both sides of the bed more than the kinds that don’t. It makes life easy travelling as a couple not to give up your side of the bed so your partner can plug in their phone for charging overnight.

a bed with a headboard and lamps

a white rectangular object with electrical outlets on a table

Besides the usual, the closet and the luggage rack were in the bedroom corner. Just sitting there quietly.

a suitcases on a shelf

The bathroom was the usual: a tub, a shower area, a basin, and a see-through glass window.

a bathroom with marble walls and a tub

One of the reasons to love the Taj Hotels has to be their usage of the toiletries from Forest Essentials. These never go wrong, and I  sometimes even pinch a few if there is a new fragrance I run into.

a group of small bottles with gold caps

When we arrived in the room, a welcome amenity was already waiting for us, placed on the centre table. It had the usual suspects and some of the popular petha, which Agra is known for.

a black board with food on it

However, when we stepped out for lunch, we got back to another amenity, which had the most incredible rendition of the Taj Mahal, an edible one in white chocolate, waiting for us.

a cake with a castle and a cake on it

Not just that, some other nibbles were also placed along, including local favourite Dalmoth and mathri.

a table with food and objects on it

Taj View Rooms

The hotel has a whole assortment of rooms, and if you’d like a definite view of the Taj Mahal from your room, you should book one which guarantees you the view. These rooms are marked specifically, and even the door states that there is a view. We asked to have a look at one such room.

a group of buildings with trees in the background

a sign on a door

Dining at the Taj Agra

While there are many restaurants at the Taj Agra, the centre of all action is the all-day dining restaurant, Palato.

a sign on a wall

We headed to Palato a couple of times during our time at the hotel. Once for breakfast and once for lunch. The restaurant is relatively spacious and has an airy feel, but during busy times, which the weekend we stayed at was about, it got crowded, and I saw some people had to wait to get seated. Go early if you are going there during a busy period.

a large room with tables and chairs

A community table was also set up in a corner, and right behind it was the bar (not pictured).

a room with tables and chairs

The first afternoon, after we arrived, we headed straight for lunch after checking in. We tried out the buffet lunch, which had a nice mix of Indian, Western and pan-Asian delicacies on display. I remember noticing some things included noodles, fried rice, vegetables in black bean sauce, Thai Curries, Caponata, Creamy Pumpkin, Gobi Adraki, Veg Pulao, Kadai Paneer, Dal Tadka and many others.

a kitchen with many pots and pans

The salads were delicious, and there were heaps of them, even on my plate.   a table full of food

a buffet table with food on it

There were live counters, but we did not try them. You could get an excellent Pasta, for instance. Breads were served on the table. Desserts were by the heaps, but I’m usually interested in trying the Indian desserts, and that is what I did indeed.

a table with food on it

As I said, the salads were good.

a plate of food with fork and knife

The chef sent some fresh preparations from the kitchen to our table as Shipra felt like trying some of the pan-Asian food, and it was pretty flavourful. The thing with saying yes to the chef anywhere is that they will make sure you don’t go back hungry and then some!

a plate of food on a table

a plate of food with a bowl of rice and a fork a plate of noodles and a bowl of food

For dessert, I tried the Malpua with Rabri, which was terrific.

a plate of food on a place mat

In the evening, we had stepped out for a trip to the Taj Mahal (more on that later), and we last went to the local market, which had fantastic Chaat. If you don’t know this about Agra, the local chaat is terrific, and you should head to Sadar Bazar’s Chaat Gali to try some.  a crowd of people walking down a street

Fun fact, they call an Aalu Tikki a Bhalla in Agra.

a person holding a bowl of food

When we got back to the hotel, we were tired but slightly peckish and did not want to eat a full meal. So the hotel suggested we try out the rooftop lounge and restaurant called Infini. It was a dry day, so no alcobevs were being served, but we got a nice view of the silhouette of the Taj Mahal with our little Pizza and conversations. They don’t shine a light on the Taj during the dark, so just a silhouette can be seen at night. The pizza was made in a wood-fired oven and very delicious, and just hit the spot for us.

a table with a light on it a plate with a half eaten pizza

The next day we tried out the local breakfast on the streets of Agra and got around to the hotel after a trip to the Agra Fort, one of the many other historical wonders of the city. We could not make it to the Baby Taj and some other places we intended to go to on the second day, which was a full day due to the heat. In the evening, we grabbed a drink at the Liquid Lounge, and dinner was at the Daawat-e-Nawaab, which is a speciality Indian restaurant that was just reopened on the day we were there.

a restaurant with tables and chairs

The restaurant had all the details of an experiential restaurant, and since most of the residents this evening were off to an event at the hotel banquet, we were perhaps the first people to dine there in the evening.

a room with a table and chairs

There is a mega menu at the restaurant, but perhaps the best idea to do an experiential meal here is to choose from one of their fix-price meals, or Daawat’s as they call it. There are two sizes, Choti (Small) and Badi (Large). We went for the Daawat, which started with a Soup (Shorba)

a bowl of soup on a plate

It was a great experience, but we should have done one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian one to try a bit more. Trust me; we were stuffed to the brim trying to finish this off. A bread basket accompanied.

a plate of food on a table

And if that looked like a lot of food, there were the desserts we forgot about. We asked the restaurant to bring us one portion to share between us. That is some delicious Khajoor Badam ka Halwa and Khubani ki Kheer. Both were amazing. a plate of food on a table

Besides the restaurants at the hotel, we had the hotel send us some tea in the room, which came in good time, with some snacks.

a table with a coffee mug and a thermos

Other hotel facilities and amenities

The hotel has two pools, one on an intermittent level of the hotel, alongside the gym and the spa and the other on the rooftop. The rooftop one had all the traffic, perhaps because of the views, but I’d prefer the other pool for a quick dip.

a pool with a view of a city and a building

Rooftop Pool, Taj Agra

a pool with chairs and umbrellas

Intermittent Pool, Taj Agra

There is also a spa. However, we did not get enough time to go there and treat ourselves. The hotel had an excellent gymnasium as well. Given the fried food that you’d eat if you eat local, you’ll need the gym to work it off.

a gym with exercise equipment

Besides, the hotel has lined up the common area across the floors with facts about Agra, the Taj Mahal and various other tidbits. It becomes very interesting if you take some time to read it all.

a two framed pictures on a wall

a room with chairs and a table and picture on the wall

For kids, the hotel has a puppet show organised every evening. Even elders can join, of course. Every evening, the hotel also has a Noor-E-Taj show, which runs for 30 minutes frequently the evening on the hotel premises. The hotel management suggests you attend it before you visit the Taj so that you are better prepared to know about the history and what to look out for on your visit to the monument.

a man playing a flute in a room with a building

Although I have to admit, in our case, we knew everything because we’d already visited the monument on the day of arrival (Thursday), and we saw this mini-show on Friday, the day on which the Taj Mahal is closed to the public.

Visiting the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

When you are so close to the Taj Mahal, and up for the touristy stuff in Agra, it makes sense to go and make a trip. While we intended to head to the Taj on Saturday, the weather turned better on Thursday, the day we arrived, so we changed our mind. The hotel concierge desk reached out to one of their trusted guides (authorised by the UP Tourism), who met us in the hotel’s lobby in the evening.

He took over, brought us to the monument, organised tickets, and took us to the Taj Mahal. We found his depth of knowledge excellent. And he knew just the right spots to bring his customers to for their pictures as well. Our guide was very conversant in English and Hindi and took excellent images. Eventually, we had the same guide to bring us to the Agra Fort the next day.

a group of people standing in front of a large white building


If you are looking for a luxurious experience and a stay close to the Taj Mahal itself, the Taj Agra is one of the closest you can stay to the monument. I found the hotel was great for a two-night stay, and indeed, we wanted to extend our stay for a night, but they were sold out, so we had to wrap up in two nights itself. Unfortunately, many folks go to Agra just to see the Taj Mahal, but there are so many more places to visit and experience in Agra that it could easily be a 2-3 night trip, and you could still ask for more.

Have you stayed at the Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra? What has been your experience like?

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+ Proximity to the Taj Mahal and the Yamuna Expressway
+ Big Hotel managed by IHCL
+ Multiple Restaurant Options


None really


About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Hi what about the other Taj property in Agra, understand that one is much more closer to the Taj. I am confused which one to go for?
    Also did you visit the kids play area, any insights about it would be great.

    Aside very well written detailed article, thanks. I am not aware of baby Taj will Google


    • @Kapil, this is the one closer to the Taj. The other one is a SeleQtions property, about one km further out (called TajView). I believe Shipra saw the kids play area and I’ll ask her to comment on that

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