Quite simply the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa in the Maldives IS Paradise. Visit at your peril as go once and we promise you will want to return! This was our third visit; our first experience was for our honeymoon in December 2004. On this occasion we were only on the Island for 3 days when the fatal tsunami hit which is obviously a much longer story than what we could write here. However the one thing that was positive about that dreadful day was the Taj Staff. Despite the fact that we had witnessed their home being destroyed (all staff live on the Island) every single member of staff went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our safety and comfort. This was enough to make us want to return to the Island in December 2005 for two heavenly weeks of sheer indulgence and luxury. At this time the resort had only been open a week or two and wasn’t completely finished. So moving forward to January 2010 and we have just visited again - wow!
From the moment you arrive at Male airport the Taj Staff take over. Your bags and you are whisked away onto a suitably large boat for a short 20 minute trip to the Island where luxury awaits you. The Island is small and idyllic and with only 64 rooms this is THE place to go for ultimate romance and to completely get away from it all. On our first trip we opted for a lagoon villa, stunning and maybe a little more private but our choice now is definitely for a deluxe beach villa. Room 304 to be precise as this offers the best sunbathing location! The beach is not private but the most people we saw walk past in a day would be about 6, more often than not your have total uninterrupted views with not a single person in sight. No idea where everyone goes, it’s amazing! Children are allowed on the resort but they are few as there are no specific facilities for them. Fortunately as a rule the children are well behaved and do not spoil the romance and tranquillity of the island. We’ve seen a number of negative comments about planes flying overhead. One of the shortfalls of the excellent short trip from the airport but you are only talking about 6 or so planes a day and you soon don’t even think about it. Similarly negative comments on the location as to seeing the lights of Male, well it’s hardly a view of skyscrapers!! Personally we quite liked seeing the few twinkling lights of Male and other small islands in the distance, and it is very much in the distance. All the rooms and villas are totally luxurious with huge comfy beds, scrumptious sheets and amazing bathrooms with gorgeous fluffy robes. The Molton Brown toiletries supplied are to die for so leave your shampoos and body lotions at home! The only negative would be the hairdryer which proved neigh on useless. The little gifts left in your room such as scrumptious cakes are an excellent extra. The rooms are kept immaculately clean by extremely friendly, polite and discreet staff. We wanted to take our housekeeper Fayaz home with us! Towels are in abundance both in the bathrooms and for the pool and beach, they could be softer but this is something we were told is being worked on! An iPod dock would have been a welcome extra but you are able to connect your iPod to the TV system so not a problem. Wi-Fi is available but at a rather high cost which we opted not to pay, perhaps this should be free in a resort of this calibre but then not looking at emails for two weeks is a holiday in itself! Then there is your “butler”. They are there to take care of your every need from restaurant bookings to experiences to excursions. Nothing is too much trouble and they will do whatever they can to make your stay on their Island Paradise more memorable. Our butler Hanoo was extremely helpful and efficient, again such a shame we couldn’t fit him in our suitcase!
So what can you do, well you shouldn’t be looking at visiting The Maldives if you are looking for an action packed holiday. It’s all about relaxation, romance and over indulgence! We visited from the 17th to the 31st of January, every day was full of sun with temperatures around 87 degrees in the day and 80 in the evening. No shoes required, don’t even attempt to walk in stilettos! No jackets and definitely no ties! This is a very relaxed resort and refreshingly unpretentious. The lagoon at the Taj Exotica is one of the largest in the Maldives and is simply stunning, shallow and warm turquoise water full of amazing fish. Hire snorkelling equipment at a very reasonable cost and go and explore. There is a pavilion you can walk to more or less or a boat will take you for $12. Amazing!! Just like swimming in a tropical fish tank and just a few metres from the shore. We saw fish of every size and colour not to mention turtles and dolphins! The Dive Centre is fantastic with very friendly and helpful staff offering many excursions for snorkelling or diving. The Taj offer many other excursions all at varying costs - visit Male or other islands, sea plane flights, etc. And then there is the Sunset Cruise - what a memorable experience!
There is a well stocked library where you can grab a novel or two to read, free computer access and pool and snooker should you wish as well as a boutique offering a wide range of goods although quite expensive. And then for total relaxation and indulgence there is The Spa. This will leave you speechless, totally amazing treatment rooms overlooking the turquoise waters of the lagoon. A wide range of luxurious treatments are on offer, they are expensive with a massage costing around $150 but the location and quality of service offered is second to none.
So to the food - excellent and both restaurants offer amazing settings. Don’t even think about having breakfast in your room, time it right to get one of the tables on the beach and to be greeted by Andrea and Vidhya your day will start off with a wonderful smile. Breakfast offers every choice imaginable and if it’s not on the menu - just ask! The service is impeccable and nothing is too much trouble. All food is plated with thankfully not a buffet table in sight. Lunch, if you need it, can be taken by the poolside or the main restaurant or our option was for in villa dining. More or less the same menu, again an amazing choice suitable for every palate, but it costs only a couple of dollars more. Portions are extremely large and we often just had one dish between us - the Nasi Goreng is delicious as is the Taj Burger. Next comes sunset drinks in the equator bar. Very friendly staff, huge choice of cocktails and any drink you can imagine, you can even have a lesson on cocktail making. Drinks are fairly expensive but then you are in a 5* resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean! There couldn’t be a better setting to watch simply amazing sunsets. A lovely addition is the telescope, what a place to view the craters on the moon! And then there is Luigi, the Sommelier, a great addition to the staff at the Taj. We spent a very pleasant, informative and amusing 2 hours wine tasting with Luigi and refreshingly it was not all about trying to get you to spend too much money on wine! We saved that extravagance for the cognac!! An excellent wine list is offered with Luigi always on hand to guide you. A very decent new world wine will set you back around $70 to $90 dollars but again you are in a luxury resort.
So finally to dinner - a choice of restaurants, in villa dining or “private dinners” anywhere you choose on the Island. The choice of food offered is very extensive, of excellent quality and superb presentation. Fresh fish in abundance but then so is anything else you could wish for. There are a number of Theme Nights as well where you can experience true Maldivian cuisine as well as Indian (the best you will get outside of India), Asian, BBQ, etc. Wherever you choose to dine the service is impeccable. 24 degrees the main restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and if you are lucky a table on the sand - magical. The Deep End is a truly romantic setting offering an a la carte menu with more of a European twist. Private Dinners are expensive - but you have to try it once - superb - it will probably be the most romantic and delicious meal you will ever experience!
We opted for bed and breakfast only so we could choose where we wanted to eat and experience all the Island has to offer. We didn’t actually make dinner after our wine tasting!! We ate and drank totally what we wanted and as a guide we spent around £250 a day on food and drink for us both. But that seriously included quite a few extravagances!
It is the staff at Taj Exotica that makes this Island so special. They are so happy it is infectious. Whatever you need or desire if they can do it for you they will, nothing is too much trouble. The General Manager, Girish and Food and Beverage Director, Bjoern are fairly new to the Island and are very keen to continue to improve what the Island has to offer. A hard task to improve on perfection and from our experience we could not have been looked after better. So to them and to Mohit, Luigi, Andrea, Vidhya, Hanoo, Fayaz and every single member of staff who looked after us so well - thank you - our suntans will soon fade but our memories of sharing your Island with you will remain with us forever. See you in March 2011.....
So to sum it up this is a 5*+ luxury resort with totally impeccable service, amazing staff, luxurious rooms and a refreshingly relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere. Because of this, yes, it’s expensive but seriously it is so worth it!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Award-winning resort is a sublime fusion of luxury and nature. Nestled amidst one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. Accommodation is a choice between villas built entirely over water and beach villas. Pan Asian. World Progressive. In villa dining. Interactive dining. Or a romantic dinner for two under the stars... Dining is a culinary adventure. The acclaimed Jiva Grande Spa provides an extensive range of holistic treatments in the over water treatment rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Taj Exotica Hotel Emboodhu Finolhu
- Taj Exotica Resort And Spa
- Taj Exotica Maldives
- Taj Exotica Resort All Inclusive
- Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives/Emboodhu Finolhu