Pros

  • Located on a private island with one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives
  • Gorgeous white-sand beaches and clear turquoise water
  • Only 15 minutes from Male Airport by 24-hour speedboat
  • Beachfront infinity pool with hot tub, bar, and food service
  • Luxury villas start at 764 square feet and feature ocean views and personal butlers
  • All units have Nespresso machines, DVD players, robes, and fully loaded minibars
  • Most villas include private pools and direct ocean access
  • Beachfront bar and two restaurants with fabulous food and romantic atmosphere
  • Staff is especially proficient in English
  • Private dinners are available in a tree, on the beach, or over the lagoon
  • Excursions are available (sunset cruises, night fishing, submarine dives, and more)
  • Modern fitness center over the water, plus free 30-minute yoga sessions offered six days a week
  • Overwater spa with sauna, steam room, and beauty salon
  • Dive center and water sports rentals (including free kayaks, snorkels, and windsurfing)
  • Free a la carte breakfasts and free Wi-Fi
  • 24-hour room service
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Cons

  • No all-inclusive package with alcohol available
  • No playground, kiddy pool, or designated kids’ club (pro for some)
  • Guests have complained about noisy airplane traffic
  • Limited snorkeling opportunities on-site (excursions to nearby reefs available)
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Bottom Line

It’s hard to top Taj Exotica when it comes to food, romantic atmosphere, and convenience. Located on a private island just 15 minutes from the airport, this 65-room resort is one of the most luxurious destinations in the Maldives. Highlights include personal butlers, spacious guest rooms with private pools, gorgeous beaches, and two gourmet restaurants. Rooms and food are among the priciest in the Maldives (for good reason). Those looking for a cheaper but still upscale alternative should try Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, also 15 minutes from the airport; those comfortable with this price range may also want to consider the decadent Gili Lankanfushi.

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Oyster Hotel Review

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Scene

An indulgent island resort frequented by honeymooners

Taj Exotica is one of the most luxurious and romantic resorts in the Maldives. Built in 2001, this five-pearl property offers indulgences such as personal butlers, private swimming pools, and poolside attendants who will spritz guests with chilled Evian water and polish their sunglasses. Upon our arrival, staff greeted us with shell necklaces, showered us in red rose petals, and took a welcome photograph (which ultimately became our parting gift -- framed, of course). For a hefty fee guests can also arrange private dinners -- in a treetop, on a sandbar, or floating out in the lagoon -- or even order pizzas topped with caviar and gold leaf. 

Most of the clientele is British, Indian, Korean, and Japanese honeymooners. The resort has two gourmet restaurants (one on the beach and one over the water) and a beachfront bar. To enhance the romantic atmosphere, restaurants are so dimly lit that guests are given flashlights to read the dinner menu. A casual daytime restaurant and bar are also located next to the pool.

Design-wise, the resort features warm woods, seashells, ocean-inspired artwork, palm-thatched roofs, and contemporary furniture in shades of blue, green, and orange. From the white-sand beaches it’s common to see baby herons, stingrays, and colorful fish in the lagoon.

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Location

On its own private island, just 15 minutes from Male International Airport

Situated on a small island (Emboodhu Finolhu) in South Male Atoll, the resort is accessible by a 24-hour speedboat that leaves directly from Male Airport. In a country where most resorts require a seaplane transfer, the 15-minute journey to Taj Exotica is exceptionally convenient.  Surrounded by 200 acres of shallow blue water, the island is home to one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. A staff of about 220 lives and works at the resort full time. The island takes about 10 minutes to walk across.

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Rooms

Spacious villas with private pools and direct beach or lagoon access

Each of Taj Exotica’s luxury villas features ocean views; most are built over the water and average about 1,000 square feet. Decor-wise, the rooms are stylish with hardwood floors, thatched roofs, and contemporary furniture in shades of blue. Marble bathrooms include rain showers, separate soaking tubs with ocean views, bathrobes, and Molton Brown bath amenities. All units include flat-screen TVs, DVD players, Nespresso machines, private outdoor pools (except most Lagoon Villas), on-call butlers, and fully stocked minibars with premium alcohol, sunscreen, and disposable underwater cameras. Select villas offer walled gardens, private stretches of beach, verandas with sunbeds, and direct access to the surrounding lagoon. In-room Wi-Fi is available and free. 

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Features

Overwater fitness center, spa, gift shop, and a cozy game room

Taj Exotica may not be on a big island (some Maldives resorts squeeze in soccer fields and golf courses), but it still offers plenty of worthwhile amenities. A modern fitness center perched over the water has excellent views, as does an overwater spa, which includes a sauna, steam room, and beauty salon. The spa specializes in Ayurveda techniques (incorporating Indian herbs, oils, and creams) and offers everything from couples’ massages to manicures. A cozy game room has a pool table, chess, and board games. The resort also has a stylish gift shop and multilingual library with two computer stations.

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Services

Personal butler service, free Wi-Fi, and babysitting

Each guest room comes with an on-call butler. Butlers essentially act as personal assistants and will arrange excursions, unpack luggage, run a hot bath -- you name it. While the resort caters mainly to couples, babysitting and kid-friendly activities are available for a fee. Children can play beach volleyball, join pedal boat and canoe races, do kids’ yoga, or even sign up for a “young bartenders” class. The resort also offers free Wi-Fi, daily shark and stingray feedings, and (upon request) personalized photo shoots. A number of excursions are available, including submarine dives, tours of Male city, dolphin cruises, and seaplane tours. 

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All-Inclusive / Food

Excellent a la carte cuisine with free gourmet breakfasts

With over 500 dishes (all served a la carte), Taj Exotica has some of the best food in the Maldives. The main restaurant, 24 Degrees, serves free gourmet breakfasts and has a Teppanyaki section with live cooking (reservations required). It specializes in Pan-Asian and European cuisine with rotating nightly menus. The Deep End, a dinner restaurant over the water, offers “Farm-to-Plate” Mediterranean and Western food. A beachfront bar, Equator, specializes in fine wines, cigars, and flavored shisha. Teas and coffees are custom blended, and the resort desalinates and bottles its own drinking water. Guests can pay as they go or choose an all-inclusive package: half-board (dinner) or full board (lunch and dinner). No packages include alcohol, however. If privacy is preferred, 24-hour room service is also available.

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Romance and Honeymoons

All the romantic perks that money can buy

From personal swimming pools to private sunset cruises, Taj Exotica is tailored for romance. Couples can arrange custom photo shoots, shared spa treatments, picnics on deserted islands, or champagne on the beach accompanied by a guitar serenade. A tiny lagoon pavilion (accessible by a three-minute boat ride) is also available for couples’ massages, private dining, or renewal of wedding vows. Romantic meals can be arranged just about anywhere, from a treetop overlooking the beach to the deck of your water villa. After hefty taxes and services charges, these romantic extras can easily add up to thousands of dollars over the course of a honeymoon.

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Pool

Beachfront infinity pool and hot tub with top-notch service

It’s easy to feel like a celebrity while lounging next to Taj Exotica’s infinity pool. Getting hot? An attendant will mist you with chilled water. Forgot sunscreen? Staff will supply a free assortment in varying SPFs. Smudged sunglasses? Someone will polish them to a high shine. You get the idea. Guests can also order from a huge menu of delicious cocktails, snacks, gourmet popsicles, and fresh pizzas of nearly every variety (including caviar and golf leaf).

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Physical Activities

Scuba diving, snorkeling, water sports rentals, and free yoga classes

There are plenty of great water activities at (and around) Taj Exotica. A dive center offers lessons and organizes excursions to more than 20 nearby dive sites. A water sports center also rents snorkeling equipment, wind- and kite-surfing gear, kayaks, wake boards, and catamarans for free (lessons and Jet Skis are available for an additional fee). Guests can also go parasailing or sign up for fishing excursions. The island doesn’t have a great coral reef, but snorkeling excursions are available to reefs on neighboring islands. Free 30-minute yoga lessons are offered six days a week.

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Beach

White-sand beaches, comfy lounge chairs, and drink service

Guests can take their pick from cushioned lounge chairs that line the beach; each set-up comes with beach towels, an orange umbrella, and a cooler with bottled water. Beach attendants will come by to take drink orders. Guests with villas on the beach get their own semi-private section of sand and two designated lounge chairs. The water is crystal clear and the temperature was perfect during our November visit -- cool enough to feel refreshing, yet warm enough to slip into without a chill. We couldn’t find a speck of trash anywhere.

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Airport Transportation

  • Babysitting Services

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Beach

  • Beauty / Hair Salon

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Free Breakfast

  • Gameroom / Arcade

  • Internet

  • Jacuzzi

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Smoking Rooms Available

  • Spa

  • Supervised Kids Activities

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.