ITC Mughal, Agra, India

LOCATION: In the heart of Agra, a stone’s throw (or in more practical terms, less than 10 minutes’ drive) from the Taj Mahal.

LOCATION: In the heart of Agra, a stone’s throw (or in more practical terms, less than 10 minutes’ drive) from the Taj Mahal. This north Indian city is one of the points on the famed Golden Triangle, which also includes Delhi and Jaipur, and is a popular route for first-time visitors given its combination of culture, history and insight into the Indian way of life.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: It’s a tricky balancing act: travel to the home of the Taj Mahal and you expect to see evidence of India’s rich history at every turn. But you also want a modern, comfortable place to rest your head. The answer? ITC Mughal.Elegant, opulent and Indian through-and-through, this Luxury Collection hotel recalls its heritage in every nook and cranny, from the traditional Mughal motifs that accent its gold and silver-decorated white marble lobby, to the intricately carved fittings in Taj Bano restaurant, serving contemporary Indian cuisine.

THE FACTS: Rooms are spacious and comfortable, with plush furnishings and ample storage space. Mine also boasted a delightful day bed perfectly for lounging in air-conditioned comfort when the afternoon sun gets too much.There is a selection of suites to choose from including some in the newly built Khwab Mahal wing, though some communal areas in older parts of the hotel could do with updating. The property’s 233 rooms and suites sit within 35 acres of beautiful gardens, along with a shopping arcade and impressive spa.

A GOOD BASE FOR: Exploring the endless of delights of Agra. The historic city, capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries, boasts three Unesco world heritage sites: the spectacular Taj Mahal, imposing Agra Fort, and the fascinating imperial complex of Fatehpur Sikri just outside the city. There are a host of other treasures too, less well-known for a British audience but each boasting equally fascinating stories behind them, from the Tomb of Akbar to the so-called ‘Baby Taj’. Most visitors only stay a couple of nights, so make sure to pack your time with as many highlights as possible.

WOW: The grand entrance hall, which offers an immediate sense of decadence without the stuffiness that often goes along with it. Take some time to stroll through the gardens too, for a moment of calm amid a packed sightseeing itinerary.

HOW MUCH: From £184 per night for the Royal Mughal Suite, including taxes, charges, breakfast and butler service.