Agra is home to the Taj Mahal so I left the ‘best’ for the last. I picked ITC Mughal because of the relatively affordable room rate of 10,000 Rupees (~US$160) and that includes breakfast and dinner. First impression on arriving after the long drive from Jaipur was this was an old property and the exterior looked dusty. As usual, there was security check before the porch itself and all luggage was screened separately. The lobby does feel grand and when I checked in, I was told to proceed to the Royal Mughal check-in area. Apparently it was like their ‘club room’ and suites reception except that it was located on the same floor just diagonally across the normal reception desk.
The Royal Mughal check-in area was decked in red with lots of sofas and guests are checked in while seated like in the St Regis hotels I have visited. Apparently, I was upgraded to a suite and the check-in process was very good as I had to pick an urgent call halfway while checking in and the agent just proceeded with the rest and handed me my keys while I was still on the phone. Comprised of only 3 floors, the hotel has no elevators and thus it was not easy to carry luggage across the stairs.
Room No: 519 Category: Royal Mughal Suite
On arriving at my room, the suite was large with a dining room for 4 and featured a massage chair in the living room.
The bedroom itself was separated by a sliding door and is furnished with 2 armchairs and a luggage stand. One thing I did not like was that the bed was a bit soft.
The wardrobe and luggage compartment is located in the bathroom and it was large reminiscent of the one in The Laguna Bali which was also a Luxury Collection property. Inside the bathroom was both the tub and a spacious rain shower. The bathtub also has windows with blinds that provide an open view out towards the bedroom. One of the details I liked was that the small boxes containing the amenities was decorated with Rajasthani armours and palace ornaments. Bathroom amenities were by Essenza Di Wills, an amenity brand owned by the ITC group themselves and thus most likely found in all ITC branded hotels.
SPG platinum gets the upgrade to the suite which comes with laundry for 4 pieces of garment. It was nice to have laundry being done in a day as I dropped them off at 6:30pm after checking into the hotel and it was returned on 9am next morning. The other facilities in the hotel includes a swimming pool, a bar at the lounge and a courtyard. The various wings of the hotel can be accessed via a connecting corridor to the main building so this was quite a large hotel with some spaces to explore and take a walk in.
During turndown service, there was also a health kit placed by the bedside comprising of almonds soaked in water, a lemon quarter, a small honey jar and a health drink pack with a copper tumbler all with their own significance for well being. I thought it was a nice touch for the hotel to provide this amenity. In addition, there was a cocktail drink coupon for platinum guests in lieu of the lounge.
As I mentioned earlier, my stay package also includes a meal rebate and I had this rebate indicated during check out as I dined in the hotel. There was 2 main restaurants in the hotel, one being Peshawri that is similar to Bukhara in terms of menu and restaurant decor but it was relatively empty. The other was Taj Bano, large restaurant that serves a variety of cuisines. I had dinner at the latter venue and sadly I did not really find the meal anything special. I had a set meal which includes curries, chick-peas, basmati rice and yogurt while I also ordered garlic naan which I enjoyed.
Returning from the Taj Mahal, I had breakfast at Mughal Pavilion was not bad with the usual eggs and dosa station along with Indian and continental choices. There was also a miso soup section, with lots of sweet pastries choices, so the breakfast offerings were pretty good.
Agra is one of those really touristy cities thus I figured the margins of the hotel here is not going to be high. The ITC Mughal was old and does show signs of wear and tear in the rooms. The whole stay was probably good value for a SPG Platinum member as I got an upgrade to a suite with a massage chair and includes laundry. Dinner was not the best but it was complimentary so the overall stay experience was good but not great. With the new Yamuna expressway linking Delhi and Agra, I might be tempted to just stay in Delhi and head to Agra for a day trip since the expressway was practically empty when the driver drove me back to Delhi airport.