The Jalakara

Havelock Island, Andaman Islands, India
Book from GBP Book from £152 per night

The Jalakara

Havelock Island, Andaman Islands, India

Intimate boho-chic hideaway with stylish suites and a villa, steeped in a lush jungle landscape

Intimate boho-chic hideaway with stylish suites and a villa, steeped in a lush jungle landscape

Havelock may not be the easiest place in the world to get to, but boy, it's worth the effort. A coral-ringed island with some of the most spectacular beaches on earth and an abundance of nature's other pleasures awaits: mangrove creeks teeming with birdlife and crystal-clear seas filled with a dazzling array of aquatic life. And now there’s another reason to go: this stunning retreat carved into the virgin rainforest with 6 stylish suites, a private villa and a 16m ozone infinity pool.

It was an overgrown banana plantation until British chef and entrepreneur Mark Hill enlisted a crack team of architects, artisan builders and crafters to clear the land and blend traditional Indian materials and techniques with fluid lines, modern minimalism and imagination. The result is a sublime hideaway with a laid-back vibe and luxe finishes. Rooms are arranged over staggered levels, leading down to an expansive decked platform and the glittering infinity pool. There’s an open-air massage suite, yoga classes, even a badminton lawn. Book island hopping excursions, private beachside picnics and jungle foraging walks then return here for a sundowner and some of the best views on the island.

Highs

  • The back-to-nature vibe with the spoiling benefits of a top hotel
  • Cool and clean suites with dreamy bathrooms and bags of indoor and outside space
  • Delicious food, with a seafood focus and tropical breakfasts
  • The fun, sociable open-air bar and lounge; there’s a great cocktail menu and even a film projector for movies under the stars
  • A perfect place to relax and rejuvenate - surrounded by virgin rainforest and no phones or TVs to distract you

Lows

  • We were the very first guests so we didn’t see some of the finishing touches, but we’re assured it’s firing on all cylinders now
  • The hotel does not currently have a licence to sell alcohol on site - but you're free to BYO from duty free
  • No WiFi in the rooms, but that's half the point (if you need to connect, there's WiFi in the bar/lounge)
  • It's a remote island so getting here is an adventure, and things can be unreliable when you arrive - expect occasional power cuts (though there are now back up generators) or a shortage of produce from the mainland

Best time to go

December to March is the best season - dry and warm during the day and cool in the evenings. April and May are sunny but humid. June to September sees long and heavy rains with short and unpredictable periods of sunshine, but prices are cheaper. October and November can bring short rains, but generally have a good chance of uninterrupted sunshine.

Diving is best between November and April. Game fishing is best from mid-January to mid-March.

Our top tips

To avoid staying a night in Port Blair, arrive before 1pm so you can catch a ferry to Havelock the same day; and likewise on the way back, book a flight from Port Blair after 1pm (check these times with Jalakara when booking your room).

Radhanagar (aka Number 7) is the island's most stunning beach. Head to the far left or far right for complete seclusion.

For a slice of authentic island life, head to Havelock's market, grab a streetside table and spend an hour people-watching.

Great for...

Beach
Romantic
Eco
Family
Foodie
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 6 rooms + 1 villa
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Board games
  • Badminton
Room:

Rooms

Rooms share a feeling of light, tranquility and space, with traditional South Indian polished plaster and clean, modernist lines softened by woven bamboo and wood furnishings. Beautiful block-printed fabrics add a pop of colour.

The Sunset Suites have double-height roofs clad with handmade clay tiles from Tamil Nadu that keep the rooms wonderfully cool and breezy. The Garden Suite has a private garden with open-air shower and alfresco tub, and a little pavillion with daybeds for extra guests. The romantic Skyroom is a stunning teak pavilion perched on top of the main villa with glass panelled walls. The ground-floor Tower Garden room has a private garden with a lily pond and hammocks whilst the first-floor Tower Room has a beautiful roof terrace with 360-degree panoramic views over the sea.

Honeymooners will love the loft-like Jalakara Villa, which has its own kitchen and living room. There’s a private yoga deck with a giant hammock and an Ayurvedic copper plunge pool, and a film projector so you can have private screenings under the stars.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • In-room treatments available
  • Minibar
  • Mosquito net
  • WiFi

Eating

As you'd expect from a chef owner, the food at Jalakara is delicious. Breakfast includes house-baked bread, eggs any way, banana pancakes, tropical fruit salads and delicious smoothies.

Lunch is an informal affair served around the pool: Thalis, crisp seasonal salads, wraps, and sharing plates of Andaman prawns, fish goujons and fried momos. Dinner showcases locally caught seafood: poached lobster, crab, langoustine and fish fillets steamed in banana leaves.

There’s also a bar offering a tempting cocktail menu, and a small communal kitchen where you can make yourself a tea or coffee and grab a homemade cookie. If you want to dine out, the friendly team will tell you the best places to go (most, if not all, have lived here for years and know the island inside out).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hire mopeds and snorkelling gear and explore the island's white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Zip to one coast for sunrise then wind your way over to the other side for sunset
  • Bask in the sun and enjoy magnificent views from the gorgeous pool deck, dipping into the chlorine-free pool to cool off
  • Go on a paddle boarding safari or kayak around the mangrove creeks. We went at night and the starry skies and phosphorescence blew our minds
  • Book the 'beach butler' service: hammocks, loungers, music and a cooler with drinks and snacks can be set up in your chosen location on the island
  • Go deep-sea fishing then BBQ your tuna and red snapper back at Jalakara
  • Enrol in a cooking class. The 3-hour session includes a visit to the local fish and vegetable market to select ingredients, and a big lunch at the end. There's also a follow-up class that includes foraging in the rainforest for wild ingredients
  • Boat trips to explore the surrounding ocean are a must - the scuba diving and snorkelling is fantastic, with colourful coral and heaps of aquatic life
  • If you're feeling lazy, just stay put. There's a beautiful wellness pavilion run by an expert massage therapist (Deep Tissue, Thai Yoga & Aromatherapy), a yoga teacher, self-guided nature trails and some of the world’s rarest bird species to spot
  • If you're here during the monsoon season, there are board games and a home cinema (HD projector and library of films) for indoor entertainment

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • SUP
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife

Kids

Families are welcome but Jalakara has more of a couples' vibe and there are no specific kids facilities. Teens and adventurous older kids will enjoy the wildlife and watersports.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Sunset Suite Blue has a mezzanine that can be made up with 2 additional single beds. Sunset Suite Green adjoins Sunset Blue with private garden access between the 2 rooms. Skyroom has 1 daybed. Jalakara Villa, Sunset Blue, Sunset Green & Garden can all easily fit a baby cot.

Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

High chairs in the restaurant

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Board games
  • Projector and film library
  • Badminton
  • Boules

Kid Friendly:

Location

Jalakara is perched on the side of a hill in the middle of Havelock Island. It's 15 minutes' drive to the harbour, 5 minutes' to the bustling market, 10 minutes' to the dive centres and Govindnagar beach strip, and 15 minutes to Radhanagar beach.

Havelock Island, in the Bay of Bengal, is 1.5-3.5 hours by boat from Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman Islands. Port Blair is easily accessible by air from mainland India.

You will receive a free permit on arrival at Port Blair Airport; please note that if you mention going to the Andamans when you get your tourist visa, some embassies may request that you obtain the permit then, which can delay the visa process. Nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh and China must apply for the permit in advance, which can take up to 6 weeks.

By Air:
Fly to Chennai (Madras) or Kolkata (Calcutta) in India, then take a domestic flight to Port Blair.

From Port Blair to Havelock
Public ferries will transfer you from Port Blair to Havelock Island pier (the last of which leave Port Blair at 2pm); from there it's a 15-minute taxi ride to the hotel. Choose from government ferries (2hr30) or slightly pricier catamarans (1hr30) operated by private firms. We prefer the catamarans as they are faster and more comfortable than the ferries. Jalakara can arrange all the necessary transfers and ferry tickets for you to take the stress out of the connection.

Private Speedboat charter from Port Blair to Havelock is also possible upon request (from USD 1000 per trip for up to 12 passengers).

Getting around
You'll need to use mopeds, tuk-tuks, taxis or buses.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the Andaman Islands and getting around

Airports:

  • Port Blair 60.0 km IXZ

Other:

  • Beach 2.3 km
  • Shops 1.5 km
  • Restaurant 1.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for The Jalakara

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