Interview: Ranjit Phillipose, General manager at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Interview: Ranjit Phillipose, General manager at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
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Interview: Ranjit Phillipose, General manager at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Interview: Ranjit Phillipose, General manager at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, strengthens the Taj brand portfolio in the UAE and complements the other two city hotels as an upscale luxury resort.

Zubina Ahmed

Could you take us through your journey in becoming a successful hotelier so far?

I joined the hospitality industry as a Front Office Executive straight after college at Taj Coromandel in Chennai, India. After spending six successful years in various positions, I moved to St James’ Court, London, a Taj Hotel, in 1999. In London, I continued to advance through front-of-house management roles and was also instrumental in opening three prestigious Taj Hotels in Mumbai, Seychelles, and Mauritius. In 2005, I moved to the United States as Director of Rooms at The Pierre in New York and then as Hotel Manager at the Taj Boston. During this time in the US, I also managed the successful pre-opening of Taj Campton Place in San Francisco.

I was appointed General Manager of Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad in 2009, supervising the ambitious $50m restoration project. Following that, I became General Manager of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Maldives. In 2015, I was promoted to Area Director and General Manager of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa in Goa, which then managed four hotels. My next exciting project in 2016 was to lead the Taj Dubai in Downtown Dubai. Having established the hotel as among the most successful hotels in the city, I was then promoted to Area Director across the Middle East and General Manager of Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai.

How is the new Taj in Palm unique in the hospitality space. What are its various offerings? Elaborate

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, strengthens the Taj brand portfolio in the UAE and complements the other two city hotels as an upscale luxury resort. With our three distinctive hotels in the region, we are now able to cover all segments of business and leisure. We also have a loyal following from our Indian guests and NeuPass members.

The resort offers incredible panoramic views of the Dubai skyline and the Palm’s shoreline, it is the only resort that can offer views in two directions, which really gives a full “island oasis” feel. All 258 rooms and 67 suites feature balconies and are designed with the guests’ comfort and enjoyment in mind. Those staying will be fully immersed in “Tajness” including the renowned rituals which complement the stay. The 6 rituals cover the arrival (welcome), morning, afternoon, sunset, sleep and departure with specially curated experiences.

Guests are taken on a sensorial culinary journey across the resort’s seven dining and bar options. With everything from contemporary Indian fine dining at Varq, a unique gastropub experience at the Roaring Rabbit, and the stunning lifestyle destination Raia Restaurant & Lounge offering panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah and Dubai’s skyline. When you step outside, you are greeted with the massive outdoor pool measuring just over 70m, and a private 230-meter exclusive beach with pristine golden sands and uninterrupted views of the glorious sunsets.

The resort features the award-winning spa, JIVA. Inspired by traditional healing methods, the ethos of the carefully curated Jiva treatments is drawn from the rich and ancient Indian wellness heritage. A major attraction for our young guests is the Popsicle Kids club and a Game Room for teenagers and the young at heart. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai is truly a resort that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic or family getaway or wellness destination to truly unwind, there’s an immersive experience for everyone.

How have you established Taj Exotica Palm as a force to be reckoned with by blending the brand’s essence and India’s rich heritage with Middle Eastern elements.

Blending Indian hospitality with Middle Eastern generosity is a winning combination, as both cultures complement one another. As an Indian brand, our rich culture and heritage are always at the heart of what we do. This is elevated by gracefully incorporating Middle Eastern elements and touches into our offerings and services, such as:

  • A traditional Indian welcome that includes a diya and a garland is also accompanied by Arabic coffee and dates offering
  • A part of Taj’s culture, as the sun sets, we welcome the evening with the ceremonial lighting of traditional lamps that dispense light and hope, and we complement this ceremony with the burning of an Arabic Oud. Burning an oud is considered an essential customary tradition within the Arab world, particularly in the Middle East, as a symbol of warm hospitality
  • At Raia Restaurant and Lounge, we offer Middle Eastern cuisine

Our resort caters to all clientele, from families to couples or bleisure, extravaganza getaways to destination weddings, delicious brunches or dinners, relaxing at our award-winning JIVA spa, spending a day in the sun by the pool or on the beach, or simply taking in the gorgeous sunset view from the comfort of your room, there is so much to enjoy at the resort that repeat visits are necessary to truly enjoy it.

Can you share insights into your performance, growth, and milestones of Taj properties in Dubai over the last 2 years and walk us through your future plans?

Both Taj Dubai and Taj JLT have received numerous recognitions from partners and reputable institutions in the last 12 months. In addition to new brunches at Bombay Brasserie’s Saturday Jazz Brunch and Treehouse’s Secret Wonderland Brunch, Taj Dubai introduced new service improvements such as an interactive kitchen dining experience and room automation projects. Taj JLT successfully launched the newest go-to Pan Asian restaurant in the city, NONYA, last February 2022, while TJ’s Playground is the pop-up for the FIFA season.

The highlight of the year 2022 was the opening of the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, our first resort in the Middle East, located on the world’s most famous man-made island – The Palm Jumeirah. The resort has experienced record occupancy and is enjoying the more recent boom in tourism thanks to the World Cup 2022 taking place this month.  Another exciting development would be opening our fourth property in Deira Creek. In December 2022, IHCL signed up for a hotel opening in Saudi Arabia, making it our second hotel in the country.

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