He met them ages ago, but even today, this travel writer, raises his glass in honour of the Croatian grannies
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OT: Which is your favourite hotel in the world?
Dipika Pallikal: I have stayed in many beautiful properties the world over but the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa in the Maldives (from $950; tajhotels.com/maldives) just bowled me over. It is such an amazing resort — totally private and exclusive. We — that is, my husband Dinesh Karthik and I — were there in June this year. It was my birthday present to Dinesh.
OT: Why did you choose to go there?
Dipika Pallikal: Both of us had just finished a very challenging season and because of our schedules hadn’t gone on holiday for a year. I felt that Dinesh particularly needed a break and as he is crazy about watersports, Maldives was an obvious option.
OT: So, tell us more about the place.
Dipika Pallikal: Well, it’s truly divine. The ambience, the setting — everything is magical. The best part is that they assign a personal butler to each room and he takes care of all your needs brilliantly. Our room was on the ocean, and I loved the private infinity pool — it just dropped down to the ocean. There was no one there who recognised us and we relaxed totally.
OT: And what did you do there, incognito?
Dipika Pallikal: As this was an island and there were no sights to go check out or shopping to do, we simply revelled in the fact that there was nothing to do! Of course, we tried our hand at all the watersports.
OT: Playing so hard requires lots of fuel…
Dipika Pallikal: Well, we stuck to the hotel for all our meals. They serve amazing food there. We had some delicious seafood, and our breakfast — which we always had on the beach — was a high point every day. Both Dinesh and I are ardent foodies and have pretty taxing standards, but not once did we have any reason to complain there.
OT: In a line, what was the USP of the resort?
Dipika Pallikal: The warmth of the staff.
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