Rath checks in: TAJ-Hotels, Maldives: Where joy is part of the corporate philosophy
Joy. A fragile state that is gaining importance in the current time. Even our former Chancellor gave her farewell speech to all the listeners about her greatest asset at work: “happiness in the heart”. For some companies, joy is part of the corporate philosophy, regardless of economic developments. TAJ is one of them.
In the Maldives, “Joy” is one of the values that is celebrated every day in the two TAJ Hotels. If you are allowed to work on the white sandy beach, surrounded by the turquoise blue sea, where others go on vacation: Does the fun of the activity run in their blood? I admit my first thoughts were in a similar direction. But working hours are long in the Maldives. They last at least ten hours and are also extremely demanding. After all, the paradise-seeking guests want to be personally looked after around the clock and by no means be disappointed.
In any case, the TAJ company pays careful attention to the well-being of the employees who work across the globe. The satisfaction of the team is ultimately passed on to the guests. An hour of planned “Joy” is on the roster every day. For this purpose, the general manager calls all employees together and organizes an active, team-building time on the beach football field, with basketball or even musically. An hour for solidarity, active relaxation and for enjoying the wonderful surroundings.
It is a great achievement of the still very young hospitality scene in the islands in the Indian Ocean. Does that one hour really make a difference? Well, I tested it for you at TAJ Hotels’ two Maldives resorts.
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Island dream with Joy: Carsten K. Rath in the TAJ Hotels in the Maldives
By the way, Singapore Airlines took me to the Maldives. I have been giving lectures on the subject of service excellence for many years, with Singapore Airlines playing a dominant role in this. Nowhere in the world have I experienced a comparable service between heaven and earth, between professionalism and cordiality. The typical attitude of the employees reflects the love for the guest and the joy of their work as well as the team in the TAJ Hotels.
TAJ Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives
In the TAJ Hotels in the Maldives, the clocks tick much more slowly. The hustle and bustle of everyday life simply stay on the mainland. Everything is a step more smoothly on the island with the unpronounceable name Emboodhu Finolhu. In a positive sense. The employees celebrate the neat originality. A completely different feeling than I am used to from other places in the Maldives and their design palaces.
The laidback luxury that awaits me here in the ocean is not bursting with glitter and pomp. He’s just cool, authentic, TAJ. I can already feel that when I arrive by speedboat. It takes 15 minutes from the airport, then we dock at the jetty and are greeted profusely with music and flowers. Paradise is already waiting. The tropical island is surrounded by coral reefs and is also known as the Three Coconut Isle.
The ambience alone ensures total relaxation. But I really want to try the “JIVA” spa area. This is available in all TAJ hotels. The wellness and spa oases in hotels in particular like to adorn themselves with their own philosophies and strategies, which are very similar. Not so in the TAJ. The entire treatment is ritualized.
The detox tea at the beginning is very tasty, but not a novelty. Washing your feet as the first relaxation measure is also known to spa connoisseurs. However, here in the Maldives I felt the handles and tricks used in the massage for the first time on my tense back. During various treatments I notice the humility of the staff in front of the Indian, millennia-old art of massage. It is precisely this attitude that makes the entire JIVA experience unique.
Empathy is very important in the team. Everyone cares: about me as a guest, but also about the team. I really looked, but found no one who was not beaming with joy. Hierarchies do not play a role. The chef mingles with his guests in the evenings as a matter of course. He goes from table to table and asks every single guest whether the food is tasty and the portions are right. I feel authenticity everywhere, which is very impressive. I dine fresh seafood in the Deep End, with festive lighting on the beach if desired.
During the day I celebrate TAJ time, the sweet idleness, even if this is very difficult for me in the first few days. I’m used to daily phone calls and a bulging to-do list. My villa with sea views helps me switch off. After a few days, surrounded by palm fronds, with sand under my feet and the most spectacular sunsets in front of my eyes, I almost feel like Robinson Crusoe on his island. I only enjoy a distinctly luxurious place to stay.
TAJ Coral Reef Resort & Spa
If an island is too one-sided for you in the long run, you can simply change the location in between. After all, there is also a little variety in paradise. The TAJ Coral Reef Resort is another, very pristine, tropical paradise on the heart-shaped island of Hembadhu and perhaps because of that it is very popular with honeymoon guests.
The name of the resort says it all: it rises above a 1000 year old coral atoll, an entire underwater coral landscape. Even if you are not diving, you should definitely take various trips with snorkel and flippers to experience the unique underwater scenery. Don’t be afraid of the sharks, I’ve been told they won’t harm the diving tourists. In fact, they were very shy during my snorkeling explorations and could only be seen from afar.
By the way: As a beginner, it is best to start with a personal guide on the house reef. I’m sure you’ll want to go deeper soon. Visitors to other islands also often come near the island for a day trip. The reason is a legendary shipwreck. This is not quite as big as the Titanic, but very mysterious and often well protected by the island’s guardians, the local stingrays. You can volunteer in the island’s own coral breeding station and do good while you are enjoying your vacation.
By the way, I don’t have to worry about other expenses on the island: food and drinks are included. This leaves the rest of the travel budget for further sporting activities.
The TAJ Coral Reef is the family-friendly sister of the TAJ Exotica. In the Exotica, the materials have been selected a touch better, the thatched villas are even more voluminous, the water in front of my daybed is even more turquoise.
Conclusion: TAJness in the Maldives
“Feel it with your eyes closed” – this was the answer the General Manager of the TAJ Hotel Exotica gave me when I asked what TAJness was exactly. I couldn’t have phrased the answer more accurately. It is a feeling that results from the humility of Indian culture, the love for the guest and for the people as well as the warm cordiality. As you can see, even weeks after my stay, I am still enthusiastic and can highly recommend a stay in the Maldives at the TAJ.
About the author: As a former grand hotelier and operator of a travel platform, Carsten K. Rath is a professional globetrotter. He travels to all of the hotels he writes about for the Handelsblatt on his own account. Rath is the source of ideas for the new ranking “The 101 best hotels in Germany”, whose partners also include the Handelsblatt.
More: Ranking “The 101 best hotels in Germany: Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg and Schloss Elmau together at the top.