Havelock Island, India

Jalakara

Rates per night from$192.11

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR13,950.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Jungle book

Setting

Isolated Indian isle

On a remote, rainforested island in India’s Andaman archipelago, the barefoot and boutique Jalakara hotel is a rustic, jungle-surrounded retreat with just seven rooms, each of which is completely different. There’s an open-air restaurant, a small spa and a lively pool scene. The hotel’s British owner liked his isolated patch of paradise so much, he decided to stick around and share it. Intrepid sorts who make the epic voyage here to this landmass in the Bay of Bengal will be rewarded with a secluded jungle setting, soul-stirring sea views and a total digital detox.

Smith Extra

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Fresh flowers in your room

Facilities

Photos Jalakara facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Seven, including four suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm, also flexible if possible.

Rates

Double rooms from $192.11 (INR13,950), excluding tax at 28 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast. There’s a three-night minimum… but you wouldn’t want to make the journey for fewer, anyway.

Also

Anyone desperate for a digital detox should probably start it here: there’s no WiFi, and a boxset binge will require staff setting up a projector in your room and bringing along some DVDs for you to browse.

Hotel closed

1 June to 30 September annually.

At the hotel

In rooms: air-conditioning, tea- and coffee-making facilities, free filtered water, kimonos to borrow and Ayca bath products. All suites have a fridge.

Our favourite rooms

The Garden Suite gets our vote mostly for its peaceful green space, but we also rate its antique Indian furniture, high ceilings and bracing indoor-outdoor bathroom. Families or honeymooners will enjoy the bold, breezy proportions of the Jalakara Villa, which has a pleasing amount of glossy teak, a hammock on the (teak) deck, an infinity-edged copper plunge pool and a super-king-size bed. Tall people should book into one of the double-height Sunset Suites.

Poolside

There’s an outdoor pool on the main (rainforest-facing) terrace, which has a fancy French filtration system and a low chlorine level.

Spa

The spa offers traditional Indian head massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, Thai yoga massage, Ayurvedic rituals and facials. Private yoga lessons can be arranged on request.

Packing tips

Bring breathable fabrics, dehumidifying shampoo and insect repellent: this is the rainforest and it’s really hard to look good.

Also

The hillside, step-covered set-up makes wheelchair access tricky.

Children

All ages welcome, but the hotel is not especially suited to children due to the steep hillside setting (it’s not exactly prime pram-navigating territory). Babysitting and monitors can be arranged with plenty of notice (ie: when booking).

Eco‐friendly

Food is locally sourced where possible, with local fishermen supplying the fresh fish; lobsters and prawns are caught to order. The hotel has its own fruit and herb garden. Cleaning products are all natural, as are the in-room bath products. Plastic use is discouraged.

Food and Drink

Photos Jalakara food and drink

Top Table

At the edge of the terrace for prime island views.

Dress Code

Barefoot and bird motifs (to match the avian-themed ceiling display).

Hotel restaurant

The hotel breakfast, served on the open-air dining terrace, gets off to a wholesome start with an in-season-fruit salad and a turmeric smoothie, followed by eggs, granola, pancakes, Andaman fishcakes or Welsh rarebit. The menu is designed by the hotel’s British chef-proprietor, with a focus on Andaman provenance (mostly: tropical produce and super-fresh seafood) and a few Thai touches. Expect dishes such as papaya and coconut curry, spiny lobster with hollandaise, and sugar-cured tiger prawns, with daily-changing seasonal suggestions.

Hotel bar

The poolside bar has a resourceful mixologist who’s more than happy to muddle up whatever you fancy – though be warned that the selection is slightly limited to what’s currently available in the Andaman Islands. The wine and beer list is not as extensive as the hotel would like, so staff are happy for you to BYO if you’re after a fine vintage. Those on the wagon will love the list of freshly squeezed juices, coconut water and seasonal smoothies.

Last orders

Breakfast is served between 7am and 9.45am. Lunch is between noon and 3pm. Dinner is from 6pm until 9.30pm. The bar is open from 11am to 11pm.

Location

Photos Jalakara location
Address
Jalakara
Village No 4
Havelock Island
744211
India

Planes

The closest airport is Port Blair on South Andaman, two hours away from the hotel. Transfers can be arranged for 6,500 rupees for the lead passenger and an additional 5,000 rupees for each additional passenger. Daily direct flights land at Port Blair from various major cities across India, including Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. The last scheduled boats of the day leave Port Blair for Havelock at 2pm, so be sure to book a flight that lands before noon. On the return leg, book a flight back to the Indian mainland that departs after 2pm, otherwise you’ll need to book an overnight stay in Port Blair for the early start.

Automobiles

It’s advisable to make use of the hotel transfer service from Port Blair’s airport onwards to Havelock Island. A driver will meet you at the airport to whisk you to the jetty half an hour away, and provide ferry tickets for the 15-minute ride to Havelock. Private boat transfers can be arranged depending on availability.

Other

If you’re not booking the transfer through the hotel, don’t leave it to the last minute – peak-time ferry tickets can be hard to get hold of.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel is within a short drive or cycle of the island’s best beaches. Impatient guests will be pleased to know that the closest patch of sand is a five-minute drive (or 25-minute) walk from the hotel. Other popular activities include snorkelling, scuba-diving, boat rides, night kayaking in the mangroves, deep-sea fishing and rainforest treks. The hotel can also arrange cooking classes. Head to Radhanagar Beach, a sweeping, white-sand shoreline that’s a 15-minute scenic spin through the rainforest away. It’s widely proclaimed as the best beach in Asia. Don’t miss a trip to the neighbouring village for a real taste of islander life in the Bay of Bengal.

Local restaurants

For a casual beachside brunch, try Something Different on Govind Nagar Beach, which combines the best local flavours (tandoori chicken, momo dumplings) with international favourites (burgers, pizzas).

Reviews

Photos Jalakara reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in India and unpacked their sarongs and saris, a full account of their break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Jalakara in the Andaman Islands

It takes an epic journey to reach Jalakara: a probably lengthy flight to mainland India, an onwards voyage by air to Port Blair, a ferry transfer to Havelock Island, a trip into the landmass’s interior and a drive up a steep rainforest-flanked slope. But boy, is the secluded romance worth the slog. Jungle-surrounded Jalakara is a modern mix of concrete, wood and hand-thrown tiles, with just a handful of rooms. The British owner is a chef and it shows in the inventive food and drink offering; even though fine wines are hard to come by in these remote, rainforested parts the creative barman will mix up crowd-pleasing cocktails. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are in the Bay of Bengal – and the hotel has sea views whenever there’s a break in the jungle canopy. It’s so cut-off, there’s not even any WiFi. Robinson Crusoe would be proud

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Jalakara’s Guestbook below.
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