Altogether striking, magnificent and chaotic, India's world-famous Taj Mahal is a must for any visitor to the South Asian country. Located in Agra, about a three-hour drive from the country's capital of New Delhi, many people make a daytrip for the World Heritage Site then move on.
But other sites in this city of 1.5 million people should be visited. Just down the road from the Taj Mahal, the Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre offers respite for crowd-weary tourists who are looking for some peace and calm after sightseeing.
The Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre, the largest hotel in Agra, spreads across 25 acres in the city's main tourist district in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh. Step inside the grounds of Jaypee Palace and the hustle and bustle of Agra dissipates.
The property has more than 340 rooms, including 13 suites, and an assortment of restaurants serving Indian and Chinese food as well as tapas and other Western selections.
The Jaypee Palace is focusing more on its environmental footprint and offering healthful options for guests. Workers on the property use bikes to keep the air clean, and the hotel is installing LED lighting throughout, said Aditi Verma, assistant director of marketing at the property.
For the health-conscious, a jogging track circles the pool and cricket field, and an assortment of free weights and cardio and weight machines are available in the hotel's fitness center. A tennis court is also available, and the magnificent reflection pool offers views inside and outside the water.
Focusing on fresh, organic foods is also important for the hotel, which has recently undertaken using stevia to replace sugar in as many dishes as possible to help combat obesity and diabetes among travelers, Verma said.
The convention center can accommodate 1,500 visitors.
Visitors staying at the property can also learn about India's numerous medicinal plants and see where some of the hotel's fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are grown. A new initiative at Jaypee Palace, the horticulture area is located next to the property.
The Tamaya Spa, meanwhile, offers a variety of services for men and women in a relaxing atmosphere using its own spa care line, Sansha Ayurveda.
But not all visitors to the property are looking for relaxation. The hotel also has a thriving convention center, which can accommodate 1,500 people. The business center has board rooms and meetings rooms and necessities like photocopiers, phones and internet access.
The hotel, which is part of the Jaypee Hotels & Resorts portfolio, also caters to golf enthusiasts and wedding parties.
Rates start at about $115 per night. Visit www.jaypeehotels.com/convention-center for more information.