With the help of MIT, the Maldives are looking for some “homegrown” islands themselves. A study taking place at Taj Exotica, is investigating ways for islands to build themselves: “MIT’s bold plan to save the Maldives–and the world”. Ocean currents notoriously strip shorelines and sandbars taking their material away. The “Growing Islands” Self-Assembly Lab is looking at ways to turn that ocean force to advantage, but instead to get it to deposit sands onto the islands to build them up.
The National Ayurveda Day is celebrated every year on the occasion of Dhanwantari Jayanti. Most Maldives spas include at least one Ayurveda treatment, but Taj Exotica’s has an entire menu of Ayurvedu treatments at its Jiva Spa…
- Consultation – 30 minutes
- Abhyanga (including Snana) – 90 minutes
- Udvartana (including Snana) – 75 minutes
- Mukhaleoa – 60 minutes
- Dinacharya (including Snana) – 120 minutes
- Kati Basti / Prushtha Basti – 45 minutes
- Pichu – 30 minutes
Snana is a medicated traditional bath experience.
When it comes to subcontinent vibe, Taj Exotica is the most authentic slice of India in the Indian Ocean. In fact, it by far the most popular resort for the Bollywood starlet with 5 out of 25 of yesterday’s list visiting Taj Exotica (no other resort has more than two). The character is not surprising as the Taj chain itself is based in India. The whole property is infused with Indian touches and flavours. For example, The Presidential overwater suite (photo above) features “Ghanta” bells considered to be an auspicious sound. Other India distinctions, I have already highlighted in previous Best of the Maldives pieces…
Taj Exotica isn’t alone with some India flavoured distinctions so with this post, I’ve added the “India” tag for all those Indo-culture fans out there.
The water villa floors are not the only place you will find an exotic glass in the Maldives. Their world class wine cellars house some of the most exquisite vintages from around the world.
One might not think of the neighbouring subcontinent as a particularly noteworthy appellation. We fell into that same trap. We went to a champagne blind taste testing which featured a Indian sparkling wine called Omar Khayam (which at the time was stocked by ASDA). We were all expecting it to taste like yesterday’s vindaloo, but in the tasting everyone (blind again) rated it as one of the top bubblys. We mistook it for Moet. It turns out that Omar Khayan had gone into to partnership with Louis Roederer and produced some actual vintage runs with exceptional quality (Unfortunately the production of at least the vintage stuff has stopped and I can’t find any bottles anywhere. We did try some N.V. bottles, but frankly, they did merit more of a comparison to curry than champagne).
But you can find some top bottles at Taj Exotica from the budding producers. Especially Fratelli Wines in Nasik, India which has produced a selection “Specially matured and bottled for Taj Exotica”.
- Fratelli, “Sette VII” Sagiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, $95
- Fratelli, “Vitae” Chardonnay, Barrel fermented, 2014, $75
शराब के बिना भोजन बिना धूप के एक दिन की तरह है
Our neighbour wakes up his wife each day by bringing her a cup of coffee in bed each day. We’ve always thought that this was a touching and romantic ritual. If that sound lime more your cuppa tea than an alarm clock blaring in your ear or even a room phone ringing off the hook, then Taj Exotica will be happy to oblige. For your wake-up call, they bring your tea or coffee (according to your request) to your villa and present it with a gentle knock on the door. As a bonus service, they will also block all calls to your room until your wake up call time.
At Taj Exotica, every day (well, every arrival day) features the fragrant Valentinesque blossoms. Each guest is welcomed with a shower of petals. You don’t have to be a bride emerging from the church or pampered by adoring sweetheart, just a fresh arrival to paradise by Taj.
If you are not Instagramming yourself, then the next most popular subject is your food. And if you want to prepare something truly worth photographing, not to mention devouring, then I recommend Taj Exotica’s house speciality Butter Chicken.
Maybe the best curry I have ever had (Maldives, London, New York or elsewhere) Our daughter Isley’s favourite Indian dish, it was one of our favourite dishes of the 2016 tour. So creamy and perfectly spiced to warm your mouth with a glow of aromatic flavours. At $43, not cheap (though not the most expensive curry I have ever had. That was a $100 Lobster Curry in Soho).
As a holiday gift to you all, Taj has shared its recipe with you all in a Maldives Complete exclusive. Remember, the is to start with fresh, juicy, prime chicken breast.
- 7 pieces Chicken Tikka
- 150 ml Makhni gravy
- 3 grams Ginger (julienned)
- 10 grams Butter (softened)
- 5 grams Coriander Leaf (chopped)
- 2 grams Kasoori Methi (powdered)
- 10 ml Fresh Cream
- 2 grams Sugar
- Heat butter in a pan.
- Add ginger and saute.
- Add cooked chicken tikkas and toss for a few minutes
- Add makhni gravy and allow to boil
- Add salt, sugar, kasoori methi powder and fresh cream allowing to cook for a few more seconds.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
If you can’t get to the Indian Ocean these holidays, at least get a taste of it at home.
Heads up! Not everywhere in the Maldives has expansive headroom. Especially since the tropical vegetation grows quite dense in places with some very low branches. The resorts try to send the paths clear of the low hanging woodwork, but on small islands, it often has few options and also wants to minimise chopping things down.
Sometimes the tropical canopy is so dense that it forms a lush awning over your sandy path. And sometimes that tropical growth is so dense that it can get right down in your face…literally. One resort with particular thick jungle canopy is Taj Exotica. And to help prevent periodic concussions for the somewhat taller guests (like me), they have affixed red reflectors onto the low branches for warning. Probably best to leave the “knocking you out” to the dazzling natural beauty.
This post has actually inspired a new category tag – “Safety”.
My first ever outdoor yoga session in my life was in the Maldives. I had been introduced to the discipline back during my West Africa travels with one lesson in Togo, but then it was 25 years later when Lori and I did the sunrise yoga at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. I’m not quite an avid practitioner though Lori and I have a weekly lesson. Lori is well into it, has done some special yoga retreats and did several yoga sessions during our last Maldives tour. I always check out the resort spa and scan the treatments and classes on offer in every visit. And I have never come across the range of yoga sessions offered by Taj Exotica.
Taj features and over water yoga and meditation pavilion (see photo above) as well as two breath-taking over-water couple spa suites and the Heat, Hydro and Relaxation Pavilion, with its welcoming sauna, generous relaxation deck and waterbeds.
We have been studying yoga for over a year now and no two sessions are the same. I’m regularly surprised by the entirely new collection of poses that our teacher Vivian Campbell introduces to us each week. Yoga seems to have no end to the variety of not just poses, but also different styles and technique variations. Taj reflects the diversity of this ancient art with its own equally diverse menu of sessions…
- Asana, Prananyama, Mudara, Banda
- Balanced – 90 minutes
- Advanced – 90 minutes
- Abhilaya – 60 minutes
- Advanced Surya Namaskar – 60 minute
- Gentle – 60 minutes
- Dynamic – 60 minutes
- Pranayama – 60 minutes
- Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana – 90 minutes
- Kunjal Kriya – 55 minutes
- Jala Neti – 45 minutes
- Yoga Nidra – 25 minutes
- Yoga Nidra Advanced – 50 minutes
- Hirdayakasha Dharana – 50 minutes
- Ajapa Japa – 50 minutes
- Antar Mouna – 40 minutes
“Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.” – Sting
Mud Pack Day! Yes, I’m not messing with you…it really is. So a skin-soothing shout out to Taj Exotica who have one of the most extensive mud pack treatment on offer at its Jiva Grande Spa. Something dirty to pack into your next Maldivian holiday.