Are there enough 5* hotels in Agra? Technically yes. Do they all give 5* services? Ah… there they start to falter. Despite hotels mushrooming in the City of Taj, the services still remain a factor. Maybe they are a tad lackadaisical due to the presence of that marvelous monument. Agra is the city that receives the second highest number of tourists in the country after New Delhi. Here we are strictly talking about foreign tourists. And that is no surprise.
This time, the Maavalan team did a full take on the Radisson Blu in Agra.
Location: It is almost walking distance from the Taj East Gate. It would take you a trifle less than 10 minutes to walk. Among the 5* hotels, the Radisson has the best location. I am not comparing with the Amar Vilas here. Apples to apples!
It is a typical Radisson building. The CI is evident the moment you approach the hotel. Blu flags, boards and the shape of the edifice clearly announce that you are at the Radisson.
In fact, it almost becomes more important than the city itself. But it is not intrusive. The lobby is very modern, large, airy, naturally very well lit, modern structures that sit well with the whole décor.
Front Office Staff
Friendly, smiling and welcoming, they handled my arrival quite well. The whole check in procedure was seamless and efficient. It was off season but they had a good 60% occupancy of a mix of Indians and foreigners, mostly from the Far East. They seemed adept in handling FIT and Groups.
The Food & Beverage is good. I would not rate it as excellent. I look at it from the point of view of all kinds of tourists.
Radisson Agra does not showcase bacon or tenderloin. But they will get it for you if you order. For me that does not work. Evidently they are catering to the conservative Indian clientele. It does put the brakes on people from the UK, the US, France, Germany, who form the bulk of the tourist inflow into India, particularly the Germans and the French and who may associate strongly with the Radisson brand. But quality of food is commendable. The Bar has a good ambience. However the pool table is chargeable. The quality of cocktails that I tried at the bar is also very good.
Their espresso in the Tea Lounge is standard.
The Pool is excellent. Well placed, in the sun, right next to the gym, it is a pleasure to use the pool. The gym is well stocked as well. The steam sauna is very effective and is complementary for residents.
Standard rooms are excellent. You will find everything that you expect in a 5* hotel. The room size is very good, conforming to Radisson Blu standards. Interestingly, some of the Club Floor rooms have a view of the Taj Mahal. I also saw how they prepare a special invitee room for a newly married couple. Excellent effort they are putting in.
(The photograph of the bedroom is that of a special occasion prepared for a special couple.)
The hotel is excellent. Especially for Indian guests. However, when a hotel is catering too much to Indian clients, the service quality is a little different. I am not saying poor. I am saying different. And that begins to show. The lack of bacon and tenderloin on the buffet are cases in point. Screaming Indian children in the corridors at 11 in the night is another. If I am recommending a hotel to a client in Agra, I want the place to be quite after 10 in the night because I want my clients to wake up early to visit the Taj at dawn to best enjoy the light and the aura.
Overall, a pretty good hotel. Some minor changes in policy would make this a true competitor of the Trident.
Article and Photographs by Krishnendu KES.