Jalakara, Andaman Islands

With The Andamans (lying off India’s east coast in the Bay of Bengal and ‘floating’ below Myanmar) set to become the new ‘go to’ place, Jalakara is a gem amongst gems, nestled in the hills and with glorious views across the jungle canopy. With just 7 individual, beautifully designed rooms, Jalakara is The Andamans’ only boutique hotel and it has been created with huge style, flair and love by English owner Mark Hill. The bedrooms are all designed for maximum air flow and are cool, light and chic. Wood, stone and tadlac predominate, with soft, earthy colours that blend beautifully with the surrounding rainforest. Several bedrooms open onto private terraces and some are perched high on the hill with birds eye views. The private villa is superb and has its own garden and plunge pool. The whole style and décor of the hotel is rustic simplicity but ultimately comfortable with everything you could wish for already thought of.

Winding stone pathways lead around the property which clambers up the hill through tropical jungle. There are private dining areas, a secluded spa where only the soothing sounds of the jungle will break the peace; a stunning infinity pool looking straight over the canopy; a lovely, relaxing bar area; and a pretty dining terrace overlooking the pool. The food served here is delicious carefully curated by chef-owner Mark. The culinary ethos is farm-to-table with a particular emphasis on fabulous fresh seafood. Dishes are prepared in a fusion style influenced by classical Indian, SE Asian and European cuisine. Signature dishes of black lobster momo and sugar-cured tiger prawns are not to be missed.

Gentle, smiling, local staff will cater to your every need and, if not wanting to come here to ‘fly and flop’ there is a huge amount to do. The Andaman Islands boasts some of the best scuba diving in the world; the beaches (public) are sublime; deep sea fishing is exhilarating; the snorkelling is superb; birdwatching in the rainforest, alive with jungle sounds is fabulous; paddle boarding is ideal here on the glass-like sea; kayaking at dawn and dusk, or at night during a full moon with the phosphorescence sparkling, is truly memorable; hiking in the hills is fun and rewarding; mangrove and Dugong safaris are exciting; visiting island villages is inspirational; and just exploring on your own by moped or taxi is a treat. You can be as busy or as chilled as you wish in these unparalleled islands!

As yet The Andamans remain wonderfully unexploited but things are changing. They have become more and more accessible with direct flights now flying to Port Blair regularly from several Indian cities.

Eco / environmental / responsible tourism policy

The environment is something very close to their hearts at Jalakara and they feel it essential best practise on a remote tropical island.

  • Jalakara is built and designed using natural and sustainable materials (woven bamboo, local andaman teak and paduak wood, clay roof tiles, lime plaster, stone, brass and copper) and traditional indian craft construction technology.
  • No plastic water bottles - mineral water is served in refillable glass bottles in rooms and in restaurant.
  • All natural (and paraben free) toiletries in rooms in multi-use refillable pumps.
  • Biodegradable vanity packs (showercaps, earbuds etc.).
  • "Aircon optional" room design - cross ventilation and fan cooling.
  • Grey water re-used in gardens.
  • Rainwater harvesting.
  • Anaerobic digester sewage treatment plant.
  • Biomass hot water boilers.
  • Bamboo straws in the bar.
  • All vegetables, seafood and meat is grown locally - minimising air miles on supplies (cf Taj which flies in its fish!).
  • Sustainable line caught and hand-dived seafood. Fished to order for ultimate freshness.
  • Low energy, long life LED lights throughout property.
  • Natural cleaning products.
  • Chemical free natural copper plunge pool in private villa.
  • Low chemical main pool.

Philanthropic - they mainly focus on staff welfare initiatives

The environment is something very close to their hearts at Jalakara and they feel it essential best practise on a remote tropical island.

  • Local employer and skills trainer with 50% staff from Andaman Islands.
  • Embrace and foster local enterprise by using and developing partnerships with local vendors (e.g. we have established a laundry with villagers and employ artisans who keep local jungle/forest crafts alive).
  • Operate a welfare fund for staff (supports illness and family).
  • Gender equality employer - equal pay for our female staff and senior management roles also filled by women.
  • Marine conservation fund-raising and awareness program (initiative for upcoming season in association with Reef Watch Marine Conservation).

Party Moments

Being so small, it is also the perfect size for a ‘takeover’ if planning a bit of a get together / celebration. With various levels and hidden places, there is plenty of space for people to take time out from the celebrations and yet it works beautifully as a private, fully staffed villa with abundant things to keep all ages happy.

reservations

For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,
or email or the hotel.

must do

Scuba dive – amongst the best in the world. Night kayaking in the mangrove forests or at sea under a full moon, amongst the phosphorescence.

Access

By air to Port Blair from Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
It is then a 2 hour ferry ride to Havelock island, followed by a short drive Jalakara. It is wise to allow a buffer night at each end of the holiday to cater to ferry or flight cancellations.

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