Staycation or Family Travels to the UAE?
Highly Recommended Family-Friendly Hotel Taj Exotica Resort & Spa in Dubai.
Living in Dubai has given residents like myself an opportunity to experience an abundance of new, fabulous, and family-friendly hotels. When it comes to hospitality, design-standards, luxury décor and interiors, the UAE has some of the best luxury hotels in the world for the whole family to enjoy. No wonder when it comes to tourism Dubai is one of the top places to visit with family. In fact, in April 2022, Dubai was named the world’s number one destination for family holidays in a survey by travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip.
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, I really recommend staying at this hotel. This hotel has all the fabulous five-star luxury necessities, but add the extra warmth, charisma, unique Ayurvedic spa concept, a beautiful beach, top family entertainment, impeccable service, and a particularly impressive fine dining restaurant, and you’re on to a winning family-friendly hotel in Dubai.
Let’s Talk Location, Style & Character
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa is built in a distinctive island oasis nestled on the white sands of the East Crescent in Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. 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. In fact, the stunning white building resembles a modern-day palace.
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.
There’s a large outdoor courtyard which overlooks the water. A large fountain creates a mellow vibe with the soothing sound of water in the background. Dotted around the courtyard are comfortable seating areas. Sitting outdoors can be a little too hot in the summer months, but it’s great for al fresco dining and drinks during the cooler months in autumn and winter.
If you’ve read my previous article Feng Shui at Home, you’ll know that I believe that certain environments give off positive energy, and this hotel certainly feels like it does with its vast skylit ceiling, which allows so much sunlight to reflect across the entire grand reception area. The water elements around the property from the sculptures, fountains, and interior prints, make the environment feel like chi energy is flowing beautifully throughout the building. Staying there is like a breath of fresh air.
Such Luxurious Rooms
Inspired by modern Arabian lifestyle design, the rooms and suites reflect the blue and gold hues of the Arabian Sea and exude elegance with bright and soothing colour schemes. 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. However, children under 3-years-old will only be allowed in with an adult. My toddler Noura loved the play areas. She especially enjoyed the outdoor shaded kids pool and outdoor play area.
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 I’m told. And adults looking to be a little more active, can also enjoy the 24-hour fitness centre.
Where to Eat & 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 available 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 my refreshing green beverage wanting the same. I 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 which I really enjoyed for its healthy vegan menu. I enjoyed their creamy avocado on toast as well as their cucumber and hummus sandwiches. 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 which hubby enjoyed very much.
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. To read more about this restaurant read Vegan-Friendly Fine Dining at Varq.
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. I loved the plate sharing concept in this casual and chic eatery. There’s also an array of inventive cocktails to choose from, inspired from the Spice Route with exotic ingredients from Mumbai to Marrakech, which include rose, saffron, tarragon and ginger.
Finally, check out The Roaring Rabbit which very much reminds me of a British pub, with modern eclectic design touches. It offers delicious gastropub cuisine, 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.
Try Out the 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. I love the Indian Aromatherapy treatments, such as the Champi, which is a traditional Indian head massage.
I also loved Vishrama, a unique muscle relaxing massage using special Indian oils and herbs. To find out more read The Best Couples Massage Treatment in Dubai. Another signature treatment 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. All their signature treatments last for 120 minutes of sheer bliss.
There’s Ayurveda, Indian therapies, yoga, meditation and much more on offer. 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, 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, they 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 use bespoke products that are natural and made with a deep understanding of the therapeutic benefits of Indian herbs and essential oils. Certain body ritual products are freshly prepared using natural ingredients and they must be used immediately.
Service is Top-Notch
There is exceptional Indian hospitality from the moment you set foot on the property. I was greeted by one of the managers who welcomed me with pretty mala beads, often used for Buddhist and Hindu prayer and meditation. They also put a bindi in between my forehead, which is said to enhance the powers of the third eye chakra.
The staff are generally so friendly and attentive. I remember I may have looked a little lost walking through the spacious reception area and several people were only too helpful to guide me in the right direction. I even had staff come into the lift with me to take me to the spa which is where I was trying to go. I also found the staff at Popsicle Kids Club, warm, kind and excellent at communicating with the kids for educational play.
Room service is also incredible and speedy. There’s a lot on offer on the menu in your room and they cater to so many dietary requirements. The waiters, managers and chefs at the restaurants are also incredibly helpful and polite so you constantly feel like you are being looked after at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa.