I just got this question from one of Living Amused Blog readers, Andrew, regarding Oberoi Amarvilas. This is a great question and as such, I thought it would be beneficial to others, if I wrote a short Post in answering it.
“I’ve just come across your blog (via your post/review of the hotel on Tripadvisor) and was wondering if you could answer a simple question for me: roughly, what do meals at both Indian restaurants at the hotel cost? I’m visiting India in May and am in the process of planning the trip but can’t find any definitive answers as to the cost of meals at the Oberoi properties. And with regards to tipping: did you feel as if it was expected by hotel employees? Or were any service charges included in the meal/other hotel activities?”
The casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner is moderately priced. The buffet is around 500 INR or $11. You could order a-la-carte but the price difference is not much. It is neither convenient nor practical to eat breakfast outside the hotel. There is really no cafe around- not at least by walking. If you just plan to have coffee and bread/pastry basket, it should not run you more than $6/person and you have a great view over the pool and hotel grounds, not to mention the fabulous Taj Mahal. Also, a lot of hotels in India do not charge extra for room service.
The same restaurant serves lunch and dinner and there are good Indian and non-Indian choices. I would budget around $8-12/person for lunch and $14-22/person for dinner. There is a big price difference between vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian dishes. We love Indian veggie dishes and mostly ate those during our trip to India. Beef is not served and meat dishes are mostly lamb or chicken and also, some seafood choices.
The price for dinner for two at the formal restaurant, Esfahan, is 20-25% more. Indian wines are not expensive but the foreign wines will cost you dearly- starting at around $50 and mostly priced over $75/ bottle. These are wines you would pay at least 25% less in the U.S. restaurants. Also beware of alcohol tax which is steep (not happiness). Therefore, consider trying Indian wines while in India. I am a red wine drinker but enjoyed the Indian whites by Sula Vineyard specifically the Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. They run you about $8-10/glass not including taxes. The reds are OK but not as good. Do try Kingfisher beer as my husband is a beer drinker and could not stop himself from enjoying at least a bottle every night.
The great policy at Oberoi Amarvilas is that tipping is not required at the time of service and even discouraged. If you wish, you could leave a tip at the time of checkout for the staff. I think all Oberoi hotels share the same policy in India.
Final note regarding extra charges/taxes; budget 5% room supplement as it would be added to the hotel bill.
I wanted to treat myself to a massage after our long, long road journey from the Himalayas. If you wish to do so, reserve well in advance as they do not have enough therapists to accommodate guests during busier seasons. Also, make sure you are aware of the Spa’s cancellation policy. I believe there is a penalty for no or late cancellation of less than 4 or 6 hours. Even though, we were staying for two nights and tried to book treatments upon arrival, they finally could book only one of us at the very last minute. Truthfully, I don’t think the Spa reservation staff are efficient and don’t really know how to handle guests’ requests. For example, they called us by the front desk to advise of one availability, then quickly changed the story and told us there was none available anymore while we were still on the phone with them. Anyways, I did enjoy my massage and the therapist was great.
Thanks again for your readership and question. Hope you found my response helpful.
This is why I started this blog. Please keep the questions and comments coming.
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