Barefoot at Havelock
This small resort is set back in a tropical forest that borders a beautiful 2-kilometre white sand beach, quirkily named Beach No. 7 at Havelock Island.
Barefoot at Havelock, set among 7 acres of grounds, is the first ecologically friendly resort in the Andaman Islands. Barefoot's ethos is to practice a minimal environmental footprint, so only indigenous materials are used, rainwater is harvested and most of their staff are local. The resort consists of pared-down wooden and conical thatched cottages, with simple interiors and en-suite bathrooms. There are basic comforts (hot water and air-conditioning or ceiling fans, but no internet or phone signal), and the rooms have large double beds and views of the surrounding 100 foot-high mahua trees.
The property has been constructed using local materials that are in keeping with its natural surroundings, and whilst environmentally commendable this does have its downsides, as buildings cannot be completely sealed, and insects can get into bedrooms and the communal areas.
The restaurant produces vegetarian and seafood dishes - the ingredients are grown organically and locally, and the sea food is freshly caught from the sea. Guests occasionally bring in their own catch from a successful fishing trip and the kitchen is always delighted to cook your well-earned meal. Guests can also venture out on a kayak through mangrove creeks, snorkel or dive in the reefs. For those looking to stay put and there's yoga, Ayurvedic spa treatments, bird watching and a blissful beach, cited as the "best beach in Asia", according to Time magazine.
The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, but we find that the service, although well-meaning, is consistently erratic. This unpretentious hotel presents a real closeness to nature, and is perfect for those looking for a digital detox and a pared-back hideaway experience.
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