A Favourite Luxury Family-Friendly Hotel in the UAE
Without doubt, one amazing hotel that is worth highlighting is Taj Exotica Resort on The Palm, which opened its doors in 2022. For anyone with children that wish to visit Dubai, we recommend staying at this hotel. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa has all the fabulous five-star amenities that many have in the region, but add the extra warmth, charisma, high standards of service, unique Ayurvedic spa concept, a beautiful beach, top family entertainment, and a particularly impressive fine dining restaurant, and you’ve got an exceptional leading family-friendly hotel that’s a must-stay, in Dubai.
Location & Style
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa is built in a distinctive island oasis nestled on the white sands of the East Crescent in Palm Jumeirah. Beautifully located overlooking the Burj Al Arab and surrounded by turquoise sea and sand, with a pristine private beach, the hotel is distinctly elegant, with contemporary-design features that resembles a modern-day palace.
It’s inspired by nature: the sea, stars, and sunsets. The moment you walk in it’s hard to miss the standout signature design chandelier made by leading lighting company Preciosa, which features over 11,000 crystal pieces. This is a product of more than 3,000 hours of traditional expert craftsmanship, which really sets the design tone of the whole resort. The stunning interior by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) was inspired by the sea itself and Dubai’s beautiful sunsets. As you walk through the lobby you visit an underwater world – subtle ocean elements can be found in shapes, colours, and textures throughout the property, representing the calmness and peace, as well as the vitality and dramatic energy of the sea.
Outside, where all the fun outdoor activities are, you enter a large square u-shaped design courtyard which overlooks the azure sea. There’s a large fountain, which is lovely if you love the sound of water and dotted around the courtyard are comfortable seating areas. During the summer it can be too hot to enjoy this outdoor space but during the autumn and winter months this is an exceptional space to hang out and enjoy delicious food and drinks.
Inspired by modern Arabian lifestyle design, the rooms and suites reflect the blue and gold hues of the Arabian Sea. The six-storey resort is spread over 48,000 square metres, featuring 325 rooms and suites (258 rooms and 67 suites to be exact), with private balconies. The rooms and suites are beautifully appointed, with fine linens, exquisite furnishings, bathrooms with standalone bathtubs and walk-in showers.
The resort’s largest suites range in size, from 165 to 500 square metres, and feature spacious living areas and private outdoor Jacuzzis. The Presidential Suite on the fifth floor has four bedrooms. This sprawling suite features a combination of two kings and two twin bedrooms. It has 500 square metres of sophisticated luxury with a spacious living area, powder room, balconies, luxury Hermès bath amenities, Noritake crockery, a dining room with kitchenette, and balconies overlooking the Arabian Sea. Another top suite worth booking is Exotica Suite Sea View, which also has an outdoor Jacuzzi. It’s designed for luxury and exclusivity, with incredible views of the sea. Along with a large bedroom, the suite features a living and dining room, kitchenette, a Lavazza coffee machine, powder room, and luxury Hermès and Molton Brown bath amenities. You’ll also have access to a butler service.
A Family-Friendly Hotel
Children will be happily entertained with the Popsicle Kids Club, with brightly coloured soft play and relaxation areas surrounded by a green outdoor activity space. There’s a game room which is a recreation centre for teenage guests, featuring foosball, air hockey and video games. It’s designed to relax and unwind in, with little nooks and corners built for one to sit and read in as well. The kids club also has a shaded outdoor shallow water pool and a fantastic large outdoor playground. Popsicle Kids Club opens from 10am to 7pm and they have the best trained staff to help entertain the kids. Children under 3-years-old will only be allowed with an adult though.
There’s a private beach, a tennis court, and a mini-putting green. The multi-court can be used for basketball, volleyball, and badminton. Whilst 230-metres of private white sandy beach allow guests to lounge on the stunning shoreline upon daybeds and cabanas. Guests looking for more action can choose from a range of water sports activities. The Olympic-size 70-metre swimming pool is the Palm Jumeirah’s longest pool we are told. And adults looking to be a little more active, can also enjoy a 24-hour fitness centre.
Food & Drink
There are seven food and beverage outlets. You’ll start your day at the Palm Kitchen which offers a fabulous buffet breakfast. There’s pretty much anything under the sun on offer from a selection of freshly baked bread to Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean delicacies. This striking global eatery is the centrepiece of Taj Exotica’s gastronomy. We very much enjoyed the live music at breakfast. You’ll get to hear a violinist or flutist from Tuesday to Sunday. In the evening it transforms into a casual dining destination, boasting a delectable dinner buffet.
For lunch or snacks, try Lime Pool Bar, which is outdoors, by the Olympic-size pool. Lime Pool Bar has two swim-up bars which offer a comfortable, shaded lounge seating area for those who prefer to stay on land. Order from a selection of refreshing cocktails, mocktails and light bites. The bar staff are incredibly creative when it comes to drinks. Our bartender called Stinto managed to create a bespoke drink which got other guests who saw our refreshing green beverage wanting the same. We also recommend the signature mocktail ‘Fruit Punch’ and ‘Cucumber Slushy.’
The Coast is another outdoor restaurant that’s open until the early evening. It’s adjacent to the beach. The relaxed al fresco shoreline bistro is designed for lazy days under the sun. For afternoon tea, or a casual lunch, we experienced the Emperor’s Lounge. The atmosphere is very chilled, but it has chic surroundings, and lots of natural lighting. Try the traditional English or Mumbai Afternoon Tea which is pure indulgent luxury. Gourmet coffee or a variety of soothing tea blends are accompanied by a tantalising selection of pastries and baked delicacies.
Varq restaurant is the highlight when it comes to Indian fine dining. There are so many dishes to try for lunch and dinner. The choice of delectable interpretations of traditional Indian are some of the best Indian food in Dubai. Enjoy their 10-course tasting menu, and their selection of vegan cuisine.
At night, visit Raia Rooftop Bar and Lounge. It’s one of the best places to go for panoramic views of the Palm’s horizon and Dubai’s iconic skyline. Raia is a cosy and modern lounge with Moroccan and Andalusian aesthetics and eccentric wall hangings that add colours and playfulness, while the bull skulls evoke images of the desert. The casual and chic eatery offers a plate sharing concept. There’s also an array of inventive cocktails to choose from, inspired from the Spice Route with exotic ingredients from Mumbai to Marrakech. Also try The Roaring Rabbit, which is like a British pub, with modern eclectic design touches. It offers a delicious gastropub menu, and they have a super fun traditional pub quiz night at the weekends. It’s great for a casual night out or a lazy Sunday lunch.
Award-Winning Jiva Spa
Inspired by traditional healing methods, the ethos of the carefully curated Jiva treatments is drawn from the rich and ancient Indian wellness heritage. You’ll find holistic wellness in the treatments that blend the age-old Indian healing techniques, the finest ingredients, meaningful rituals, and ceremonies designed to create a sense of complete serenity. We love the Indian Aromatherapy treatments like the Champi, which is a traditional Indian head massage, and any of their selection of signature treatments which is a fusion of different therapies lasting 120 minutes of sheer bliss. One of the signature treatments available is the Imperial Dahab, an indulgent experience for deep nourishment and glowing skin. You will indulge in an aromatic footbath, heavenly scalp massage, and a unique camel milk bath followed by a luxurious massage using 24k gold oil. The treatment uses rare active ingredients to promote collagen production along with repairing and enriching dry skin.
The nine spa rooms offer treatments such as Ayurveda, Indian therapies, yoga, meditation and much more. Ayurveda treatments specialise in addressing not only the physical, but also the mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental aspects of wellbeing.
The resort offers the Bihar School of Yoga at Jiva, an experience firmly grounded in true spiritual values and knowledge of the Vedanta and Tantra practices. It is globally renowned for its pure, simple, and systematic yoga. The yoga practice is headed by Suyog Jadhav, yogacharya, who was trained under the guidance of Bihar School of Yoga founder Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
All Jiva therapists undergo three months long training at Jiva Spa Academy in various body therapies, body scrubs and wraps, beauty treatments and Indian rituals to enhance the spa healing benefits. Each treatment experienced has energy healing techniques and practices. In fact, the therapists practice self-healing every day before they start the treatments to enhance their healing power and to replenish the energy depleted while administering therapies. All Jiva therapies offered use bespoke products that are natural and made with a deep understanding of the therapeutic benefits of Indian herbs and essential oils. The products are stored in a cool dry place and used within 24 months. However, certain body ritual products are freshly prepared using natural ingredients and they must be used immediately.
By Hershey Gargash