Taj Exotica Andamans (Part Deux)

The first two mornings were spent diving. The Larca Dive Centre opened a month ago on the resort and I was their very first customer! They were still working to get their boat license plus getting an actual boat. In the interim, they partnered with another dive company for boat dives. The first day would be a shore dive at the Nemo Reef. The 2nd day would be two boat dives near the ferry channel.

Shore dive to Nemo Reef at 8am!

The dive centres located on this area of the beach do a lot of business with mainland tourists wants to do scuba for the first time. It’s a constant barrage of newcomers and local dive masters were red in the face doing back to back to back dives.

Getting our gear prepped.

Visibility was poor on all 3 dives.

After my dives were done, we would relax either at the beach or in the room for the remainder of the trip. We even had the chance to celebrate Independence Day and there was a flag raising ceremony at 8.30am. Fun fact – the Indian National Anthem has to be sung in 52 seconds or less. Anything over is considered an offence. The next set of pictures will be a guided tour of the overall resort.

The welcome pavilion with the guard/gate house off the left.

The aforementioned dive centre (to the right of the pavilion).

This building next to the dive centre housed the lobby, gift shop, gym, lounge area arounds the sides of the building plus on the second level and pool.

Lobby area.

Looking out from the lobby area.

Lounge area on the sides of the main building.

Lounge area on the 2nd level.

Pool on the 2nd level as well.

Pictures of the villas and the grounds

Jiva Spa

Plaques around the property describing different tree species.

The restaurant building was split into two. The main restaurant (the Shoreline) on the top, where you could have breakfast, lunch and dinner and the dinner only restaurant (Settlers) on the bottom towards the back left. I missed breakfast twice as I was out diving early morning and didn’t get back till 12pm but my wife took full advantage. Breakfast is split between a modest buffet and ordering mains off a menu.

Breakfast menu.

Masala chai and Filter Coffee to start the day.

Bengali Egg Curry.

Egg Bhurjee with Pav.

Dum Aloo with Puri.

Scrambled Eggs Benny

Pork Ham Eggs Benny

Catching the flag raising ceremony plus singing of the National Anthem after breakfast on our 3rd day.

Movies to celebrate Independence Day (playing back to back to back) plus some mementos to take home.

One of the staff members took our pic after the ceremony.

We had lunch and dinner at the Shoreline on some days and the menu is the same as the room service menu. Interesting to point out that dining at the restaurant cost a couple dollars more than ordering room service.

Evening ambience.

With live music.

Poppadums to snack on.

Some sugary alcoholic drinks.

Tandoori prawns

Seafood risotto.

For lunch – biryani, spicy chicken curry and aloo ghobi

On our last night, we made a reservation to dine at the Settlers restaurant which is a chef’s table style dinner. The table had a seating for 10 and we dined with another couple from Dubai. The pacing of courses was well done and the waiter serving us was engaging throughout the service. She explained that all the courses were from different cultures in India who moved to the Andaman Islands. She even explained about the geography and history of the Andamans. Overall, the service was fantastic but the meals itself left a lot to be desired.

Deep fried pumpkin chips and sardines.

Shrimp.

Pineapple soup.

Dry masala chicken to help cut the sweetness of the soup.

Guava sorbet as a palette cleanser

Main course – kingfish poached with mustard in banana leaf accompanied with greens

For dessert – caramelized banana topped with coconut shavings and mixed with nuts and raisins

While we were not eating or sleeping, we took every opportunity to spend time on the beach. Since we came to the resort during monsoon season, the tides were obviously higher but still safe enough to go for a dip. The best time to come is around December to February (summer) when the waters are calm. We were lucky to get a couple sunny days during our stay.

As mentioned before, there was a private area to lounge before entering the public beach.

High tide at 9am.

Finally, the service – in one word, P H E N O M E N A L! From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, we were looked after in every way. The staff at the resort, ranging from management to wait staff to grounds crew, were all engaging and genuinely inquired about everything during our stay. Whenever I came back from diving, everyone who passed me by would ask how the dives were. When we had breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Shoreline, the wait staff would come by every now and then to make conversation with us. If we needed anything during our meals at the restaurant, the staff would magically appear out of nowhere to attend to us. Our rooms would be cleaned during the time we went out for breakfast which is amazing considered it didn’t take us more than 30 minutes to have our meal. Remember I mentioned they took our picture during check-in? We came back from dinner one night and we found a frame with the picture inside! I will be bold enough to say that the service at this resort is on par with Amankila Bali (if not better).

Would we come back? In a heartbeat but with better planning next time. 🙂

Next up – SpiceJet J to DEL + 1 night at the Le Meridien

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