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“Perfect retreat”

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Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Goa
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Benaulim
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 February 2012

Thumbs up for
1. The room and landscape - the sunset make it even more perfect!
2. The hospitality
3. The food - u MUST try the baklava - if u've a chance though ;)
4. The spa

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Nrul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,470 - 2,476 of 3,110 reviews

Reviewed 5 February 2012

Perfect holiday with extremely pleasant and well trained staff. Excellent "restaurants" - small and intimate with first class menus and delicious freshly prepared food. Rooms a good size - maybe the balcony was a bit smaller than we would have liked (our ONLY petty fault!). We enjoyed the varied evening entertainment. The grounds are well maintained and beautiful and the beach the best we have ever been on - 27km. long, with the odd interesting stop and not a piece of litter in sight. Hotels are only allowed 20 "umbrellas" so this keeps the beach uncluttered. You can even hire cycles and head off for the day along the beach. 9 hole golf course great too. This hotel is very difficult to beat! Would love to take the whole family!

Room Tip: Maybe go for a beach bungalow!
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank finsathazellodge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2012

This was exactly the friendly, quiet, relaxing atmosphere we were looking for. The property felt somewhat nostalgic, like a country resort from another time. In addition to pool, beach, spas, golf, etc., the resort also offers archery, miniature golf, an astronomer (!), live music while dining, and more, like resorts of my parents youth or some well appointed cruise ships. Everyday our room was stocked with fresh fruit. Our room was large and just out the back door was a small patio and hammocks. The restaurants offered a variety of choices and were all quite good. The beach area was clean and uncrowded. Unfortunately, the hotel maintains just 20 chaises on the beach and we were never able to get one when we wanted one. We had to make do with the chaises overlooking the beach or by the pool, which were quite nice too. Yoga was only offered once per day at 5pm. We would have liked to have more classes available. We tried both the regular spa and ayurvedic spa and thoroughly enjoyed our experiences. Laundry service was prompt and reasonable. I inadvertently left something in our room after checkout. The hotel actually called the gate agent at the airport to notify me. Security tried shipping it to me, but Indian law made it impossible. I really appreciated their honesty and efforts. The only unpleasant thing about our stay was an intermittent smell, like bug spray or mildew, in our room. Despite the occasional smell, if we went back to Goa, we would stay here again. We wish we could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: If you get a bottle of wine, drink it in your room. You can't take it into the restaurants, even...
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank surrealus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2012

This was our second visit to the Taj and it was interesting to see the changes since 2005. Our experience on arrival could not have been better. We booked the accommodation through Hotel Info as we could not find any availability for our chosen time with the UK package companies. We could still find availability on a charter flight however. I think doing it this way saved about £100 each. The Taj met us at the airport and provided an air conditioned car complimentary for both this trip and our return to the airport. It was great to be able to get straight into the car rather than wait for a hour in a hot transfer coach for everyone else to get through the arrivals obstacle course. I don't think we will ever get a transfer coach again. Arrival was the first big change at the Taj. At the gate we were greeted by a metal detector and sniffer dog and then at reception we had to go through another metal detector and our bags were X Rayed. No real probelm though and it was good that security was being taken seriously.On arrival at reception we were greeted with 'Welcome back' even though it was 6 years since we had last been there. All of the formalities were quickly dealt with while we waited with a cooling drink. Our room was ready even though it was 11 in the morning.

We had a garden villa which was pretty much as we remembered it, except that they were very proud to show off the new flat screen TVs. Well equipped with safe, bath and shower, large bed, settee, writing desk, etc. The view of the gardens was fabulous, but most of the villas do not have a sea view.

There is a lot of discussion about the size of the Taj. There are 56 acres of grounds and about 140 rooms. The building regulations prevent building close to the sea, so any property on the beachfront has to have a large expanse between the rooms and the beach. The Taj made good use of this with a nine hole pitch and putt course, a separate nine hole putting lawn, a cricket pitch, an archery range, a croquet lawn and a small football pitch. Other facilities include a spa, an ayurverdic centre, tennis courts, shops, large swimming pool and of course numerous bars and restaurants.Yes it is a ten minute walk from most rooms to the sea, but the walk enhances the experience rather than detracts. Should you have the need though, buggies are available to transport you where you wish within the grounds.

I can't really comment on the facilities around the pool as we like to go to the beach. Here there was a change for the worse. There were only 20 shades, each for 2 beds. This meant that the battle of the towels was over by 8:10 - any later and you don't get a bed. The beach is superb. Miles long, clean, wonderfully flat near the sea for walking. Exploration is a must. If you leave your bed for a walk you are likely to come back and find a family camping in your shade, such is the shortage. I seem to remember more beds. What I distinctly remember was that the beds were much closer to the excellent beach shacks on the beach. Instead of which there was a water sports centre. Was this a cynical move to keep people captive at lunchtimes for the hotel restaurants? Nevertheless, the beach shacks are just a short stroll (seems longer in the sun!) and the nearby ones are good, either to the right or the left of the hotel. In particular Joecon's beach shack was great for lunch (70Rs for a large Kingfisher vs 140 Rs plus loads of taxes in the hotel). In the evening just behind the shacks is the very good Sun and Moon restaurant for the same kind of price as the shacks. A twenty minute walk on the beach takes you to the main restaurants on Benaulim Beach, especially the well known Johnicies and the new(?) but very good Raphaels. The latter has a room at the back with a TV which was as close as you get to a conventional bar round there. Not far from the front gate of the hotel there are a couple of restaurants including Joecon's garden restaurant . The food is very good. Sometimes the entertainment is good - sometimes terrible! In any event there are loads of options to dine well close to the hotel and you will spend a fraction of the cost of eating in. A little bit further afield is the excellent Martins Corner (800 Rs for a taxi including a two hour wait).

Watch out for the price of the tuk tuks if this is how you come back from Benaulim. Average price for a tuk tuk was 150 - 200 and for a taxi 200 - 250. Get the price first. One enterprising tuk tuk driver quited us 1300 Rs. One final though on the restaurants if you like beer - there are other brands than the ubiquitous Kingfisher. If you fancy a change ask for Kings.

Back to the hotel. Be aware that taxes and services are put on all the prices. You will pay a lot more than it says on the menu. The food is very good, especially in the lobster shack, but it is very easy to run up a R5000 bill, for something that would cost R1500 maximum elsewhere. I was also disappointed to see that the Management cocktails had bit the dust. I know it is quite twee, but I always enjoyed the drinks and nibbles. The spa is very good - can't comment on the Ayurverdic centre. Breakfast was excellent with a wide range - cottage pie being one choice! Again the morning when bucks fizz was provided has been scrapped. The service was also a bit erratic. And while I think about it, I'm sure there was a happy hour, but no more. I also thought it was a bit mean to ask you to pay for internet access. It is very quiet in the evenings and I think there should be a little more entertainment, but the beach shacks more than make up for this with their regular groups, just look around and you will find some entertainment every night.

Having made these minor quibbles, the hotel is still a class act with lots of nice little touches that I would recommend to anyone.

It's a shame it all gets ruined by the shambles that is the airport. You have to queue outside for over a hour in the sun. Nobody tells you the right queue (there was a couple in the queue ahead of us who queued for 90 minutes and reguarly asked anybody who looked official which was the right queue only to be told at the entrance that they should have been in the other queue). The system inside is just as chaotic, hot and bureaucratic. You need a holiday to get over it. Come on Goa Airport stop letting your tourists down and at least try to treat us as humans and customers! That combined with the nonsense of the visa application menas that as wonderful as the Taj is, the last impression means that we may not return. As the Taj is owned by Tata I wonder if they bring any influence on the authorities?

Room Tip: Eat in the beach shacks
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank david northern ireland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2012

Visited the Taj Exotica on a 2nd occasion the 1st being so wonderful. This time around it wasn't as good, although still gorgeous, the first room offered was supposed to be seaview, but was a corner, ground floor room and you could only see the sea when sitting in a particular postion - should state partial seaview. The hotel kindly moved us to a 'proper seaview room', but we were unlucky, there was a leak in the bathroom ceiling, so had to move to another (nice) seaview room. I have to say that the staff at the hotel are really good. However, they have to improve the sunbed on the beach scenerio/availability. The hotel was full of russians and they seemed to reserve with a towel and a book, 2 lots of sunbeds for the family, 1 lot by the swimming pool and 1 lot on the beach, therefore, only using the beach sunbeds for maybe 2hours a day, but preventing anybody else to use them during this time. It got to the ridiculous scenerio, where to guarantee a sunbed on the beach, you had to go and put a beach towel etc on the beds before 8am in the morning. The management have to remedy this, because, it could potentially ruin somebodies holiday - can't they put more sunbeds on the beach? If not devise a booking system, or like they've done in other hotels I've stayed at ..... if the sunbed is left unattended for over 1 hour the towels are removed. PLEASE MANAGEMENT DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, because I want to revisit, without sunbed stresses!!

Room Tip: Make sure you don't get a corner room for seaview, as they are only really partial!
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank s h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

My family and i stayed here during a recent family celebration in Goa. Generally, the hotel was excellent. Lovely place with stunning pool and beach areas, rolling lawns with activities including golf and archery, and a pleasing selection of restaurants. Service was particularly excellent, and the hotel could not do enough to make our stay as comfortable as possible. In particular, the little extra touches in our rooms on the day of the celebration and on a family member's birthday were magical surprises. I was also nicely surprised - having left a camera cable behind without realising it - when the hotel security contacted me a few days later to arrange for shipment of the item. All in all, excellent!

Two quibbles:

First, on the morning after the celebration, when all we wanted to do was sleep, we were woke by a hefty knock on the door at 6.30am from a waiter bringing a decorative cake to us (an anniversary cake, even though it wasn't our anniversary, but when we set it couldn't be for us the waiter shrugged and left!) We had settled back to sleep when 30 mins later another hefty knock from the same waiter predictably informing us he'd brought the cake to the wrong room and wanted to collect it... the two intrusions definitely not welcome!

Second, the menus for full and half board customers were quite difficult to work out - what was and wasn't included, and how much extra you had to pay for this or that item that wasn't included.. one night at the Lobster Shack it took the restaurant manager 15 mins to explain it to us, by which time we were completely confused!!

This place still merits 5*s, though, due to the overall ambience, friendly service, clean and attractive rooms, range of activities and wonderful time had by all.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Adam_in_Africa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

Ideally located near the sea shores with a large span - this property has all that is required to conduct your work in a peaceful manner and also enjoy the beauty of nature.
The villas in the primises are ideally located to give you the ultimate in pleasure and relaxasion.
The choice of food prepared by the experts at Exotica and the team working behind the services is excellent.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled on business
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3  Thank Suresh0305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Goa

Address: Benaulim 403 716, India (Formerly Taj Exotica Goa)
Phone Number:
Region: India > Goa > South Goa District > Salcette > Benaulim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Benaulim
#1 Romantic Hotel in Benaulim
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Benaulim
Price Range: £143 - £1,624 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Goa 5*
Number of rooms: 140
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on the south coast of Goa on the Benaulim beach, a mere 27 km from the airport, this 56 acre 140 room resort has a 700 meter beach frontage and a lovely view of the sea. With 3 specialty restaurants, a beach front seasonal seafood shack, a 24 hour all day diner, 2 bars, 2 spas and a seasonal outdoor spa pavilion, this resort is a popular haunt for the international as well as domestic travelers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Taj Exotica Goa Benaulim
Taj Exotica Goa Hotel Benaulim
Taj Exotica Hotel Goa
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Goa Benaulim

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