Review of Taj Resort & Spa, Andamans
The remote and secluded Andaman and Nicobar Islands have mostly been overlooked by both Indian and international visitors. However, things are slowly changing, and travelers are now reaching this far-flung archipelago set in the turquoise waters of the Bay of Bengal. And why not? The Andaman Islands have everything needed for a perfect beach vacation – the picturesque islands are tucked in emerald green rain forests, the heavenly beaches are caressed by magnificent waves, and the crystal-clear azure waters are alive with colorful coral and marine life.
With the increase in tourism, new hotels are springing up on the tropical islands to suit all wallets and preferences. There are countless hostels and two and three-star hotels on the islands. What the Andaman Islands missed for many years was an exclusive resort that could provide you with an ultimate luxurious and tranquil experience. The long-anticipated Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is the first upscale beach resort to grace the relatively unspoiled Havelock Island in the Andamans.
The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa debuted in 2018 to meet the growing demand for luxury resorts in the Andaman Islands. Occupying 46 acres on the famed Radhanagar Beach at Havelock Island, Taj Exotica is an ideal getaway for anyone seeking a peaceful, luxurious, and environmentally uplifting experience. The property is just a minute’s walk from the Radhanagar Beach and it has its own private beach access.
The intimate resort is fringed by mangroves and exudes a serene and rustic charm. The lush grounds and organic garden provide fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices for the gourmet treats prepared in the hotel kitchens. The island’s fragile ecosystem has been preserved to the greatest extent possible, and not a single tree was cut during construction. To reduce its carbon footprint on the natural ecosystem, the hotel has installed an on-site bottling plant, a rain gathering reservoir, a compost-waste disposal system, and a sanitation treatment facility.
Location of Taj Exotica, Andamans
Good things are seldom easy to come by, and getting to the Taj Hotel is no exception. Taj Exotica is located on the eastern coast of Havelock Island. You’ll need to fly into Port Blair and then take a 90-minute ferry ride to Havelock Jetty, followed by a 30-minute drive to the luxury resort. Flying from Port Blair to Havelock Island is also an option.
Accommodations at Taj Exotica, Andamans
The stylish beach resort is dotted with 72 standalone luxury huts built on stilts beneath a canopy of Coconut and Palmyra trees. There are multiple options to choose from – Deluxe Villas, Deluxe Villas with Mangrove Views, Luxury Villas, Grand Luxury Two Bedroom Pool Villas, and a Two-story Tata Suite. The thatched-roof villas are inspired by Jawara tribe (Andamans indigenous people) dwellings and blend in seamlessly with the landscaped grounds. The simple, understated exteriors stand in stark contrast to the opulent interiors.
The decor of the room and en-suite bathroom are modernist and minimalist, taking cues from nature. The villas are equipped with oversized angular king-size beds, five-fixture bathrooms, a roomy dressing area, and all modern amenities. The spacious bedroom takes you into a long corridor lined with free-standing basins. A standalone tub and rain shower are located on one end of the bathroom, while the loo is positioned on the opposite end. The private patios with lounge chairs overlook the verdant greens outdoors. The villas’ urbane elegance, plush interiors, and abundance of sunlight make them perfect for relaxing and soaking in the beauty of the surroundings. You will be disappointed if you expect clear ocean views or beach villas. The rooms are not facing the beach and the shore is hidden from view by thick foliage.
Food at Taj Exotica, Andamans
The resort has three F&B outlets – The Settlers, Shoreline, and The Turtle House. Breakfast is served at the Shorelines. It’s a multi-cuisine restaurant with a menu that includes all of your global favorites. Turtle House, a poolside bar, serves customers who are lounging by the pool. It is operational only for lunch and serves beverages, finger food, and seafood. Settlers is the place to go if you want to try the regional cuisine. The fine-dining restaurant serves local dishes inspired by the island’s immigrant communities. However, the restaurant is currently closed. The hotel also offers room service.
Facilities and Activities at Taj Exotica, Andamans
If your hotel has a beautiful beach, you really don’t need much else to keep you entertained. However, the Taj makes sure that you have other facilities and activities to keep you engaged. There is a 24-hour fitness center, a recreational room, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The Jiva Spa offers an array of signature experiences ranging from Ayurveda and aromatherapies to body rituals and facials. Yoga and meditation classes are available in the mornings. If you want to go out and explore, the hotel can arrange activities such as Deep-Sea Fishing, Trekking, Nocturnal Kayaking, and Scuba Diving. The Taj also provides a Junior Islander Program for their young guests. It is a free-flowing medley of activities designed to channel the children’s boundless energy and curious minds.
Good to Know
- The hotel does not have an extravagant reception area or lobby. A table has been set up outside the gym to function as a reception desk.
- The resort has only six buggies, and two of them are usually on the charger. As a result, you might just have to wait for them. Keep this in mind when you check out, otherwise, you may be late for the return ferry.
- You will need a golf cart if your villa is located far from the lobby. Especially during the day, when it can be rather hot and sunny.
- If your sense of direction is as terrible as mine, you’ll get lost walking from your room to the lobby. There are no signages directing people to the foyer.
- The mobile network is rather patchy throughout the island. The hotel’s WIFI, on the other hand, is quite good and works even in the villas.
- There are no locks or bolts in the villas’ bathrooms. There are only sliding doors.
- A small shop near the lobby will provide you with everything you need for a day at the beach. Surprisingly, everything is reasonably priced.
- There aren’t many restaurants within easy reach of the hotel. If you want to eat something other than the hotel food, you will have to travel 6-7 kilometers.
- Taj Exotica, Andaman is roughly 11 kilometers from the Havelock ferry jetty. It would take you half an hour to get there and will cost you Rs 600.
- All ferry departures take place from the ferry jetty, so you’ll have to go there every time you want to visit another island for sightseeing or water activities.
- The hotel offers free evening tea on the beach.
- The vast grounds are dotted with fruit trees such as coconut, mangoes, pineapples, papaya, bananas, bel, and many others.
- The well-known Lacadives Diving Company has an office on the hotel premises. However, unlike other diving shops on Havelock, Lacadives does not include pick-up and drop-off in the package. Keep this in mind while you compare costs.
- The hotel beach closes at 5 pm and this rule is strictly enforced by the lifeguards.
Taj Exotica Spa & Resort, Andaman is a relatively new entrant on the horizon. Remember, the resort started in 2018, and the world had come to a halt for two years owing to COVID. During your stay, you may face minor hiccups, but the overall experience will be fantastic. When I was there, I noticed many people canceled their other plans and preferred to spend their time in the sanctuary of the serene resort. The rooms, food, service, and hospitality are all befitting a Taj property. So, make plans to visit this tropical haven before it becomes overcrowded and run-of-the-mill. You can book the property here
PC: Taj Exotica, Andamans