Taj Exotica is located on the south west coast of Goa, and is by far one of the best resorts to stay in Goa. The resort is located on the Benaulim beach and has one of the best private beaches to offer. A perfect getaway for a family get-together.
It was the month of August (when the monsoons are still active in the western India) and there were couple of long weekends to look forward to. We started short-listing the places to visit and after some deliberation zeroed on Goa again. Having already spend a monsoon vacation in Goa, we were absolutely sure about what to expect this time around. We had a great time during our last visit – in-spite of the dull beach life and thus had no second thoughts about vacation. We were getting a good deal with Taj exotica and packed our bags and went ahead exploring Goa once again during monsoons – an experience that I can relive time and again.
We drove down from Bangalore and after a 10hrs drive, reached the resort. (Read following post for the drive from Bangalore to Goa).
Thankfully we did not face many challenges during our drive, was a bit tired though when we reached the resort – guess the extra level of concentration required while driving through rain took a toll on me. As we reached the resort, our car was thoroughly checked and the guard checked the list of guests who would be checking in for the day. Post these mandatory checks we drove into the resort – was impressed with the security. We were welcomed with traditional Goan music and after a refreshing drink Faize (the manager) helped us with the formalities. We had a brief chat about the drive, if we were celebrating any special occasion etc, before allocating our room.
I visit Goa every year and have stayed in many properties, but this one easily will be one of the best if not the best. The property is around 56 acres and encloses a variety of activities – Mini golf, football, archery, cricket, tennis, pool tables, cycling (this was the best part), TT, pool volleyball, 2 spas (Jiva and ayurveda) etc.
As I had stated earlier, this being the monsoon season, water sports activities were not available. There was live music at the bar every evening and performances in the lobby – like fire eaters. The food was very tasty and we were very happy with all our meals – Good food, good spreads and good service. One would not get bored of the food as there are 6 restaurants serving Italian, Goan and other cuisine.
This is a lounge bar featuring a unique interior of movie posters (Hollywood theme). They recommend Prawn Chilli Olive Skewers & Masala Cottage Cheese Nuggets.
This place serves incredibly-fresh flavours of Goan cuisine. Their signature dishes are Kullanche Mass, Nistiachi Koddi, and Caldin de verdura.
This restaurant serves authentic Indian food with specialities from South East Asia and classic continental dishes. The chef suggested us their signature Parmesan Crusted Chicken dish – it was heavenly.Would recommend it to anyone who loves a chicken dish.
We did not try this restaurant. This places serves flavours of the Orient with Sichuan, Canton, and Hunan specialties.
This is a beach-front restaurant and offers a wide range of seafood and a wide spread of wines. Unfortunately, this place was closed when we visited this resort. This restaurant is usually closed during the monsoon season – I guess it should be functional by October.
This restaurant faces the Arabian Sea and serves a variety of Mediterranean cuisines, as well as a lively show kitchen and pizza oven. They recommend the following dishes: Lebanese mezze, hummus, falafel, tabbouleh , oven baked red snapper, honey glazed shrimps and wine leaves dolmas
In-room dining was also good. Orders reached the room before 30 mins – the food though is a bit pricey but to be honest everything in Exotica is a bit pricey …. one should be prepared to shell out extra bucks.
The lawns were very well maintained and the swimming pool area is in great shape – there is no dearth of sun beds.
The room: Would not term the rooms as “out of the world”.. but they were well maintained. The entry level rooms were pretty large with a bathtub, enclosed shower area and a huge sit out overlooking the garden. The room was very neat and had a huge LCD TV. The bed was comfortable and I was really glad that I did not wake up with a sore neck.. had a good night sleep..
The beach: Benaulim beach is one of the best beaches that you can find in Goa. Though the beach does not have white sand like Zuri andKenilworth, it is buzzing with activity during the peak season – read from October to April. As we were visiting during the Monsoon season, this time around we did not see much activity on the beach. The beach was exclusively for us (hardly found even a single soul apart from the folks staying the resort). The beach is very clean and we had a great time walking by the beach.
Spa: The highlight of our stay was the Jiva spa sessions that we availed on both the days. Very clean, beautifully designed – the entire spa had a very serene environment. After consulting the therapist, our sessions were carefully tailored to our requirements.
The Taj service: This is where this resort wins over others. Taj scores over all the other resorts that we stayed when it comes to hospitality:
- The welcome and check-in process. Faize and others ensured that we were comfortable from the moment we checked-in. It was not a mere customary chit chat.
- The surprise birthday cake along with flowers and decoration made my wife’s birthday that much special.
- The complimentary plunge pool experience at Jiva spa
- While checking out, when the front desk got to know that we would be driving back to Bangalore, they packed couple of chicken sandwiches, muffins, croissants, water bottles etc. We had so much stuff that we did not stop for our lunch.
- During one of the lunches, the curry that we ordered turned out to be a bit spicy. The staff were quick to notice this and gave us complimentary desserts.
- Practically everyone in the resort wore a smile and acknowledged us when they cross by.
Few areas though where they can improve are:
- Wifi at rooms could be complimentary.
- It will be helpful if they could set up direction boards at a 5kms radius. We had a torrid time when we were returning from Panjim in the night (around 10PM). Google maps navigated us through a road that did not exist and we were kinda lost.. Considering that the resort is in a remote location, it is scary to be lost in middle of nowhere during night. Leela and Holiday inn used to have guiding boards right from the moment we exit the main road. Guess Taj can also work on something like that..
Overall, this has to be one of the best vacations for us. I will definitely return to this property and will recommend to families who would like to enjoy a peaceful vacation in luxury.
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