Most people traveling to India for the first time have the Taj Mahal featured as the number one thing they want to visit in India. In order to do that, they must travel to the city of Agra, which is about 200 kms from New Delhi. Most travelers get in and out of Agra, because there is not much to do there other than the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. Unfortunately, the city also seems to have the attitude of not needing to add anything to its existence, because it can attract thousands of visitors every year just because it hosts the Taj Mahal. A visit to Agra is busy, crowded, and a big hustle. If you are however staying overnight, there are plenty of hotels in the area, and we stayed at the Retreat Hotel, just 2 km away from the Taj Mahal.
THE RETREAT HOTEL CHECK-IN
Check in was quite a smooth process, and we were promptly greeted with glasses of some kind of cold drink (I'm not sure what it was to be honest), our room keys, and the Wifi password. Unfortunately, the wifi is not very strong in this hotel. Considering the magnitude of visitors this area receives on a daily basis I was disappointed that the hotel did not have great wifi access in all the rooms.
THE RETREAT HOTEL ROOMS
The hotel rooms were pleasantly decorated, and quite spacious and welcoming. They all had TV's and complimentary coffee and tea stations, with bottles of water. This seems to be standard in many hotels in India. The only downfall in the rooms was that they were very suscetible to noise, more so than other hotels I have stayed at in India.
THE RETREAT HOTEL AMENITIES
As said before, the Wifi access was somewhat disappointing given that this area receives thousands and thousands of visitors per year. The hotel does however have a swimming pool, spa service, concerige, laundry services, and a restaurant. You can also arrange for a rental car from Delhi through your hotel if you plan on driving, at an extra cost of course.
THE RETREAT HOTEL DINING & FOOD
The restaurant at the hotel services Indian, Continental and Chinese food, as to cater to all their visitors who are coming to see the Taj Mahal. I cannot say I was blown away with the food here, or in general in Agra. But it is handy to be able to eat whatever you want when arriving in Agra and leaving quickly. There is a decent variety of food that you can have, and most of it is in a buffet style. The servers and hosts are very gracious, friendly and helpful.
THE RETREAT HOTEL SERVICE
The staff at the hotel were very helpful and friendly. I didn't stay very long, and other than the Wifi not being great here, we didn't have any issues with our hotel service.
REVIEW OF THE RETREAT HOTEL
Gosh, whining about the lack of wifi in India - I sound so spoilt don't I! The wifi did work! Just only in reception. The hotel was great for a night in Agra. The beds were comfortable and the rooms clean. It was convenient to have a restaurant in the hotel, although I wouldn't say it was the best meal I've ever had at a Hotel's restaurant. The staff were always friendly and accommodating, and you are pretty close to the Taj Mahal from here, so I would say this is a great hotel, but nothing extraordinary!
If you are visiting for the Taj Mahal then you should read my post on Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal.