Ranjit Phillipose, General Manager, Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Male
Before being appointed general manager of the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa in Male, the capital of the Maldives, Ranjit Phillipose headed operations at the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. In a quick chat with You & I from the island nation, Ranjit shares his reasons why the Maldives is where you should plan your next vacation.
What about the Maldives entices visitors to its shores?
The beauty of the Maldives is unparalleled – pristine white beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, small coral islands surrounded by turquoise lagoons, beautiful coral reefs, and magnificent marine life. The climate is pleasant year-round with a constant temperature of around 30°C – a never-ending summer. The concept of ‘one island, one resort’ is quite unique, too. You can completely unwind and relax in safety and total privacy, and enjoy being close to nature in the comfort of world-class luxury. It’s the perfect paradise escape.
What does the Taj Exotica offer for different travellers i.e. newlyweds, families, older couples?
We are an exclusive, intimate, private island resort – a haven of peace and serenity with romance in the air. Our villas offer tremendous privacy, and we have many options for secluded, private dining, couple’s spa treatments, and private watersports and excursions for those who wish to spend time with their loved one. A renewal of vows ceremony on the wedding pavilion or the beach – or even underwater – is the ultimate romantic experience.
The Taj Exotica is located in one of the biggest lagoons in the Maldives, where the warm, shallow water is the perfect playground for children of all ages. We offer many different watersports, catering to all ages and all levels of thrill-seekers. Our two-bedroom beach villas are perfect for families, located right on the beach with oversized plunge pools and plenty of space for children to roam around.
The pristine natural setting of the Taj Exotica immediately makes you relax and switch off from the craziness of life. It is the perfect destination for a relaxing hideaway in luxurious surroundings. Whether you chose to be active or idle, there is something for everyone. Our butlers are experts in tailoring guests’ stays to their needs and wishes, whether it be island exploration, diving and snorkelling, watersports, spa treatments, private dinners, the celebration of a special occasion, or just doing absolutely nothing.
Our island, Emboodhu Finolhu in the local language Dhivehi, may be a very small coral island in the vast Indian Ocean, but that does not limit the creativity and ambition of our award-winning team of chefs. Through a perfect combination of flavours, colours, aromas and textures, they create drama on every plate and delight in every mouth with all their dishes. The culinary journey at the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa takes you around the world, high into the sky, and deep underwater. All our food is cooked fresh to order, and the variety and quality is second to none in the Maldives.
How does one go about planning a trip from India? Are there any specific requirements?
Air India flies to the Maldives from Bengaluru, Maldivian Airlines from Chennai, SpiceJet from Kochi, and SriLankan Airlines via Colombo from various Indian cities. Visitors receive a free 30-day visa on arrival with a valid passport and return ticket.
What is the main attraction in Maldives? What type of person will enjoy it most?
The unique geography and natural beauty of the islands and surrounding lagoons and atolls are hard to beat. Most people come here to relax, unwind and rejuvenate. Some like to do that by doing nothing – just enjoy the good weather, beautiful surroundings, pristine beaches and luxurious services. Others do that by exploring the magical underwater world that is right at your doorstep everywhere in the Maldives, perhaps the best place in the world to snorkel and dive with its warm waters, excellent visibility, and an abundance of colourful, tropical marine life and coral reefs.
If you do not like to get wet or are not comfortable in the water, you can enjoy marine life from the deck of your over-water villa, on a dolphin cruise, as you walk along the beach, and even by taking a submarine dive. We also have sting ray feeding every day, and frequently get sharks and dolphins visiting in the lagoon. We have guests from all over the world and many walks of life. Everyone loves to experience the wonderful marine life close up, and many guests get involved with our coral conservation project Reef Recharge (reefrecharge.com) by sponsoring one (or several) coral frames.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Taj Exotica’s award-winning Jiva Grande Spa is almost a destination by itself. All the treatments are based on the ancient Indian philosophy of Ayurveda and its techniques, but with a modern twist. Our resident Ayurvedic doctor will tailor your treatments, and our experienced therapists will transport you to a different level of relaxation and bliss.
We also offer a completely unique dining experience in the spectacular Ocean Pavilion, which sits in the heart of the lagoon. Though only minutes from shore by boat, it seems like a world away. For a romantic lunch surrounded by blue oceans and endless horizons, as an exclusive sunset lounge for two, or for an intimate evening with your loved one, the Ocean Pavilion is a magical and breathtaking experience of romance and gourmet dining. ..... as told to Ashwin