Nicknamed “Three Coconut Island” (rumour has it that when the island was discovered, there were only 3 coconut trees), Taj is proud to be the very first hotel in the Maldives to have started the overwater villa concept.
One of the pioneers of luxury resorts in the Maldives, this 20-year-old luxury resort prides itself on the Taj hospitality and their quality fine dining experiences. Despite competition of luxury resorts amping up in the Maldives, Taj insists on maintaining their room rates over the years yet maintaining the best service standards, making it one of the more affordable luxury resorts in the Maldives.
Getting to Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
We were very warmly greeted at Male city. After a pick up by their airport speedboat that operates 24 hours, 30 minutes later we arrived at this magical island. Our excitement was heightened as Taj came into full view.
Measuring 770m by 20m, this cosy island on Emboodhu Finolhu, South Male’ Atoll has the largest lagoon in the whole of the Maldives. Lagoons are the shallow depths of the sea, usually about 13 feet deep. While the resort is easily walkable from one end to the other, buggy rides are at your disposal.
Checking in to Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
Taj has a way of making us feel like royalty, with a glass of Prosecco wine to welcome us, as well as damp, cold cloths for us to freshen up after our boat ride. Their signature jasmine smell penetrated our senses, rejuvenating us for a day of activities. The reception was, for lack of a better word, grand. Made of fine wood furnishings, the detail that go into everything was apparent. Even the guest book and pen was made of wood.
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa’s Room
The 250-staff-strong luxury resort has 64 villas spanning 7 categories on their island:
- Lagoon Villas (71 sqm) – overwater
- Deluxe Lagoon Villas with Pool (94 sqm) – overwater
- Premium Villas with Pool (193 sqm) – semi-beach with stairs to lagoon
- Deluxe Beach Villas with Pool (200 sqm) – beach
- One-Bedroom Ocean Suites with Pool (195 sqm) – overwater
- One-Bedroom Beach Villa Suite with Pool (270 sqm) – beach
- Two-Bedroom Beach Villa Suite with Spa & Pool (365 sqm) – beach
- Rehendi Presidential Overwater Suite with Pool (500 sqm) – overwater
There is a personal butler service in every room, daily fumigation around the room and the rooms are all squeaky clean, with no stone left unturned. The treatment we received from the Taj staff made us feel very safe in their hands.
We also noticed how intricate every wood carving that make up the furniture was. The standards were simply impeccable.
Premium Villa with Pool
This 200 square metre villa boasts an extra large double bed facing the Indian Ocean and a private veranda that leads directly to the lagoon ahead of you. You could simply wake up to the sight of the turquoise waters and head directly into the sea in a matter of seconds.
Each villa has an outdoor private pool with sun beds, a hammock and an outdoor shower in a private walled garden. Raincoat, an umbrella, a beach bag, an ironing board are all provided in their walk-in wardrobe.
As with all the luxury hotels in the Maldives, the bathroom is the highlight. Our toilet consists of a double vanity bathroom, indoor rain shower, outdoor rain shower and indoor round bathtub with panoramic views of the Indian ocean.
The indoor rain shower alone has shower space for 2, and the bathroom also boasts a full-length mirror, so you can imagine how massive the bathroom is. I was so disillusioned by the sheer size of the bathroom that I almost walked headfirst into the full-length mirror. (Oh wait, I might have.)
Taj spares no effort in making guests as comfortable as they can at their resort – I couldn’t help but also comment on the massive towels they provide, both beach and bathroom towels. I could wrap myself in their oversized bathrobes alllll day.
Two Bedroom Beach Villa Suite with Spa & Pool
This two-storey suite, which houses up to 6 pax, is set on the beach with a spacious living room and private courtyard. With views of the west, guests can lie on the sun beds at their private veranda and savour the sunset down the Indian Ocean horizon. Alternatively, the master bedroom on the ground floor has a private balcony with an uninterrupted view of the sunset.
The most outstanding feature of the suite is that they have their very own spa treatment room, allowing guests to enjoy the Taj’s Jiva Grande Spa treatments in complete privacy at their villa. Not forgetting an extra outdoor bathtub in this room.
At the end of the room tour, we lost count of the number of shower spaces in this villa. :O
On top of the walk-in closet, oversized plunge pool and tropical outdoor shower (again), they also have their own pantry.
Could I make a home out of this room already?!
Price from USD2,400 on Booking.com
Rehendi Presidential Overwater Suite with Pool
This is the most opulent suite of the entire Taj property. Named after the first Princess in the Maldives, this massive 450-square-metre villa houses a 12-metre freshwater pool and a glass bathroom complete with a bathtub overlooking the ocean is the holy grail.
The Rehendi Suite is the epitome of extravagance. Floor-to-ceiling windows offering infinite views of the ocean. A master bedroom suite with ‘his and hers’ bathroom. A 12-metre freshwater pool with a private sundeck. A suspended deck filled with sand and a hammock over the turquoise lagoon water. Standing as the one and only villa at the tip of the spine jetty, you have 270 degrees of complete ocean view.
Price from USD4,900 on Booking.com
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa’s Jiva Grande Spa
Mid-day after settling in at our villa and exploring our lagoon, we were treated to a very relaxing Indian Aroma massage at the overwater couple treatment room at Jiva Grande Spa.
Prior to our massage, we had to fill in forms to indicate our preferred level of pressure and body parts to focus on, which goes to show how meticulous the masseuses were in targeting the body areas we specified. Exactly what we needed! Their strokes were so soothing we couldn’t help but doze off midway through the massage.
An unexpected, special gesture at the end of our treatment was presented to us – Tulsi beads that were hung around our necks for body balance.
Fish Feeding at Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
We joined a group of other guests to witness shark and stingray feeding. These marine creatures were fed with tuna and we watched as Taj’s in-house marine biologist educated us about the 3 loyal stingrays that return daily to be fed. Instead of baby sharks though, we spotted jackfish fiercely usurping the food that was thrown overboard. It’s a wonder how these baby sharks get their share of food with these ferocious neighbours piercing through the waters to snatch the food.
From submarine dives to catamaran sailing, big game fishing to island exploration, there are plenty of options to choose from to keep yourself entertained at Taj. There is also an in-house dive centre for you to undertake dive courses, a public infinity pool for you to spend afternoons lounging on, and daily yoga conducted at the yoga pavilion.
Taj also organises weddings in the most exclusive and pristine fashion, and there is even the option of renewing vows underwater.
With the endless amounts of activities to do and the complimentary services each guest receive, it’s no wonder the average length of stay is almost a week!
Dining at Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
The Taj Exotica prides itself on the fact that their guests never eat the same thing throughout their stay. They offer a plethora of dining choices, each distinctly different in style and atmosphere.
The 24-Degrees restaurant is their main dining option, catering for all meals throughout the day. The Deep-End restaurant opens only for the dinner crowd, offering unique upscale dining cuisine. Sitting above the crystal clear waters and set against the backdrop of the setting sun, the Deep-End restaurant offers an intimate and tantalising journey for couples to end their day.
We were hosted to lunch at the Poolside Bar and Restaurant, where the restaurant only opens for the mid-day meal. We started our lunch with the crispy fried waffle fries topped with melted cheese and salsa which felt a little too heavy for an appetiser. I had the Chipotle Seared Yellowfin Tuna, which was as fresh a dish as a sashimi can get. Each slice of raw yellowfin tuna was so soft and flavourful, I could eat them on its own. This is coming from a sashimi-lover, so naturally, I’m biased. 😛 WL had the Arabian Ocean Scampi, which consisted of huge tiger prawns grilled with garlic and spices. Even for a non-seafood lover like him, he found the prawns fresh and juicy with each crunch.
Day Visits to Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
For USD184.80, visitors are treated to a 3-course meal, and you are free to enjoy all of Taj’s facilities. This includes their beaches, 24 Degrees restaurant, Equator Bar, the library, and Game Attic. You can also catch their Stingray Feeding at 5.30pm and Shark Feeding at 6pm daily.
Other facilities such as Spa, Water Sports, and Ocean activities can be booked on availability will be charged as per actual consumption.
My most memorable moment at the resort was wading through the shallow lagoon to get to the photo spots in the middle of the lagoon and getting the picturesque photos with the backdrop of the prettiest ocean colours.
For the luxurious treatment that guests receive at Taj and the maintenance of room rates despite greater tourism in the Maldives, Taj is one of the most affordable luxury resorts in the Maldives, and one I would definitely go back to.
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Emboodhu Finolhu South Male’ Atoll PO Box 2117 [email protected]
Special thanks to Taj Exotica Resort & Spa for making this stay possible and extending their hospitality to us! All opinions remain my own.