“Get away from it all at this hideaway resort on the "best beach in Asia" in the off-the-beaten-track Andaman Islands”
Scattered amongst tropical foliage and connected by winding pathways, the cottages and villas are constructed from natural, regenerable materials and raised on stilts - for a (literally) minimal footprint!
We stayed in one of the simple air-conditioned Nicobari Cottages, though we actually preferred their traditional structure and design. Lovely and cool inside, we slept in a beautiful big wooden four-poster (netted) and whiled away our afternoons on the porch’s comfy daybed. The leaves of the thatched ceilings sometimes shift to show a little sky; if raindrops fall, staff come to add another layer. The innovative step-ladder entrance folds back on itself, to prevent friendly wildlife from inviting themselves in.
Squarer and more contemporary, the air-conditioned Andaman Villas have wood-shingled roofs and large floor-to-ceiling windows behind sliding shutters. A terrace runs along each building, and bathrooms have glass-roofed showers with jungle views; the skylight can be raised to let in fresh air.
The fan-cooled Duplex Cottage is ideal for honeymooners or families, with a mezzanine-level bedroom and bathroom, and an upper-level day room that's open to the rainforest on 3 sides.
More stylish still is the fan-cooled Nicobari Villa: formed from a pair of connected Nicobar-style circular structures to make an unusual hideaway for 2. One half contains a four-poster bedroom and a small sit-out leading to a private courtyard. The other half contains an ensuite with circular shower and sliding doors to the deck. Throughout, curved louvred shuttered walls flip open or shut for ventilation or privacy.
Lunches and dinners include northern and southern Indian food, plus many Thai dishes. There’s also a good range of pasta, as the sous chef is from Italy.
Of course, being on an island, seafood features most prominently. The nightly special has usually been brought straight of the fishing boat - perhaps a large lobster or crab, whole fish steamed in banana leaves, or huge tiger prawns. An amazing treat for the tastebuds. If you get lucky on your own fishing trip, your catch can be cooked to order - grilled, fried or curried.
The Lounge bar has Indian wines, beers and spirits. The bartenders are fantastic, mixing up any number of cocktails. One bartender even grows his own mint for the mojitos. Low-level tables and bolstered divans are filled with guests chatting, playing games or reading, lit by aromatic candles. A small kitchen serves Indian snacks such as grilled kebabs with marinades.
Breakfasts alternate between spicy sambhar (lentil curry) with idlies (steamed rice cakes) or dosas (pancakes), and a full English menu.
If you fancy eating out, head over to Beach No. 5 where there's a sociable vibe amongst the various eateries (15-minute moped ride). The pick of the bunch is Full Moon Café: always rammed, great beachside setting, really lovely owners and the best grub (fresh, imaginative seafood dishes, tasty twists on Indian classics and fresh-squeezed juices).
Though there are few facilities specifically geared for kids, all ages are welcome and adventurous youngsters will love kayaking and snorkelling.
Dedicated babysitters are not available, but staff are happy to entertain children while you're away on that romantic evening walk.
The Duplex Cottage has 2 double beds (sleeps up to 6), and all cottages and villas can take an additional mattress. Maximum 2 children per cottage or villa.