Howard Plaza Agra
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TravelPod Member ReviewsHoward Plaza Agra
Nice rooms. Great position - easy walk to the Taj. Pool was a nice bonus.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Howard Plaza Agra
Fancy, equals the "Taj Mahal", great value, good service and grat decor.
Howard Park is an oasis in city of chaos.
Having read the recent reviews of the Howard Park Plaza, I arrived being prepared for almost anything.
However I was pleasantly surprised. I did have a large clean room, with a good sized bathroom. Some fresh paint would have made a difference. The corridors were clean and I did not come across any unpleasant smelling carpets as mentioned in other reviews.
The breakfast provided was excellent, mainly buffet style with a good selection of cereals and cooked foods, a chef is on hand to cook eggs as you like them. But I would make the most of it, as the meals at other times are pretty awful, though good food in Agra does appear to be in short supply.
The hotel is a tall building compared to its surroundings, so even though I was facing onto the school at the back and not the road at the front, it was still very noisy at times.
The facilities are limited, the top floor viewing terrace is normally locked, you have to go to the front desk to get the security guard to escort you round and the views are not great due to the fog and smog, a major problem in this city. The swimming pool is small, but appears well maintained, but is closed after 8pm.
The service in the bar is slow, to point of nearly not happening, better to go to the restaurant for any refreshments, where the staff are very helpful.
While the hotel lobby is indeed an oasis of calm, as soon as you step outside the hotel you are confronted with the people and poverty of Agra. Everybody is trying to sell you something, either different means of transport or various souvenirs. The hawkers will follow you constantly, we were advised by a local tour manager not to respond or engage with them, as even saying 'no' means you will possibly buy from them!
Besides, Agra is not a city you can walk around easily, as there are few pavements to walk on and I was told it was not safe to do so after dark.
Good value for the money
I am surprised at a recent review I read regarding the rooms. We had 2 rooms (we were 4 adults & 2 kids), both of which were large, very clean, and well stocked. Plenty of hot running water (which is not as common as you might think in 3-star Indian hotels).
The restaraunt food was quite good. The free buffet breakfast has a variety of items. We ordered a-la-carte for dinner, and enjoyed what we got.
As for the hotel lobby - it was clean enough. What I didn't like was the passage ways to the rooms - they were carpeted, and had that old carpet smell. Wisely though, rooms are not carpeted, so the rooms themselves smelled good, and clean.
Beware of the front desk staff though. We had pre-paid for 2 rooms, and when we got there, they informed us that they only had one room available due to over-booking. They proceeded to check us into a suite, and offered to set up 3 cots in the living area. I said that would be fine, as long as they refunded us the amount for one room. (REFUND is an unknown word in India). They said that was not possible, since we were being given an upgraded room. My arguement was that 3 members were being given cots to sleep on - not proper beds, for which I had paid. They still refused, at which point I pulled out the "Let me speak to your manage right away" card. Since I am of indian descent, they probably realized at that point that I was not actually from India, and miraculously found 2 free rooms (??). This experience left a bitter taste, and immediately let me know that that the staff is not to be trusted. Sad, because other than this, our experience was a good one.
Disappointing for the Price
We stayed one night at The Howard Park Plaza en route from Delhi to Jaipur. The Taj Mahal and other sights in the Agra area are magnificent and it is hard to see sunrise/sunset without spending at least one night in Agra. The Howard Park Plaza, while adequate, was not worth the $90 that we paid. The hotel itself and its rooms are completely characterless. The bathroom was somewhat dingy (although the hot water was centrally heated unlike some of the cheaper hotels in which we stayed). The rooms in the front of the hotel overlook a busy road and are noisy - if you do stay here, ask for a room at the back. The one real positive was the buffet breakfast which was included in the price and was very nice. Nevertheless, we stayed in places with far more character for half the price elsewhere in India. Our recommendation for people looking for accommodation in Agra at this price point would be to look at the accommodation options outside of the center of Agra. There is no real need to be in the city and the options outside the city may be slighly nicer.
Avoid it like the plague
We have just returned from a trip to the Golden triangle in India. This hotel almost ruined our trip. The rooms were dirty and smelly, especially the bathroom. The promised minibar had been removed. We had two rooms and it had been removed in our kids room also. Because of this no bottled water was available in either room. The kids had one of the refurbished rooms and their bathroom was better. In the first room the fittings were falling off the walls. The lobby had stained sofas. The furniture around the pool was broken. The check in procedure took 30 minutes mostly because of the line of people complaining about their rooms.The reception staff just shrugged their shoulders. The one bright spot was the restaurant which had good and well priced food. At check out there was a line of people disputing their bills.
The Taj Mahal is magnificent and well worth a trip to Agra. We will return their some day but never return to this hotel and would advise anyone who has a booking there to try to change it. The hotels we stayed in in Jaipur and Delhi were superb. I do not think I am unrealistic about what to expect in India. This hotel in in my top three bad hotels anywhere in the world.
Oasis in the middle of madness
We stayed in this hotel in November 2005 and it was a great relief to see this nice, clean hotel after a long and difficult 5 hour car ride from Delhi to Agra. My review, as fair as I can be:
- Very clean, large bedrooms
- Professional, english-speaking staff
- I could not go to the swimming pool or the gym because they are closed in the evening. The swimming pool seemed very nice
- I expected a horrible modern hotel block. In fact it is modern, it is a block, but it is reassuringly clean and safe as Agra is very poor and quite intimidating
- My room was still noisy as it faced the main road
- The travel desk was less than helpful. Every time we asked them questions, they desperately tried to sell us a taxi tour. They lied about trains and said they were unsafe, unclean and our trip would take 7 hours (when in fact it takes 3!). Not particularly ethical.
- Food is served as a buffet. Not a highlight of the hotel though.
We booked This Hotel because of the reviews on tripadvisor and we made a good choice. It had good large rooms with all amenities,newly decorated, and is very good value for money. The Hotel staff were friendly and efficient. I would reccommend it for anyone travelling to Agra. As for the food the Breakfast was very good but the Dinner menu was limited and aimed at the Western palate.
A beauty !
A great Hotel to view the Taj Mahal. Good size rooms, pleasant and helpful staff, good food. We had a top couple of days at the Howard Park Plaza. We walked to to the Taj from the Hotel. A great spot and a great stay. Close by to Carpet making and Handicraft workshops. This Hotel enhanced our visit to see one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Haven from the Agra-phobia!
We stayed here partly as a result of the other review here, and would agree with almost everything written. We actually got a fairly competitive price for a taxi back to Delhi from the hotel travel service, but it´s worth getting a few other quotes to check.
This hotel is within walking distance (or a very cheap rickshaw) to the Taj Mahal, (our room even had a view of it). It´s clean and quiet, and after a few weeks travelling round Rajastan, the room and bathroom were a very pleasant surprise compared to a few we´d been to. The staff were very helpful in answering any questions we had. The restaurant is also fine. Like anywhere in India, to get 5-star luxury you´ll need to pay for it, but this hotel was excellent value.
People do complain of Agra-phobia while visiting this city. It´s worth going only for a night or two - see the Fort in the evening and the Taj early the next day. Make sure that your rickshaw driver does not try to take you to a craft-shop (unless you want to!) on the way to where you really want to go.
For $60 (1/3 of other hotels farther out of town), this is a good choice. We had everything we needed including a good buffet breakfast. We walked to the Taj Mahal. Next door is a small tour agency that we used to book airlines, hotels, and car to go to FS. I would not use the hotel tour desk. I would stay here again.
TripAdvisor Reviews Howard Plaza Agra
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