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Havelock Island (officially renamed Swaraj Dweep), in India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is renowned for its pristine beaches. Each beach at Havelock Island is commonly referred to by a number and you'll find most Havelock Island hotels grouped along the stretch of road from the jetty, from beach three to beach five. Beach five (also known as Vijaynagar Beach), on the eastern side of the island, is most developed and is where most of the action happens. Over on the other side, to the west, pristine beach seven (also known as Radhanagar Beach) is one of the best beaches in India. Beach five has brilliant sunrises, while beach seven has spectacular sunsets.
You'll find that rates vary widely, depending on the time of year. Peak season is from mid December to mid January, and you can expect to pay 30-40% extra during this period. The best weather (and diving conditions) occurs from mid January to mid May. Discounts may also be offered during the monsoon season, from June to September. Scroll through below for our list of the absolute best Havelock Island hotels.
Best Luxury Hotel: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
This gorgeous new eco-friendly Taj property is the first five-star hotel in the Andaman Islands. It's fringed by mangroves and nestled amid thick foliage on 46 acres of land bordering famed Radhanagar Beach. Although the beach can't readily be seen from the property, the waves can be heard. Guest are accommodated in spacious and modern thatched villas on stilts. Highlights include an Olympic-length infinity swimming pool, intimate and informal community dining, and diverse experiences for guests (star-gazing, forest hikes, cycling, kayaking, yoga, mangrove restoration, and fun children's activities). Numerous initiatives have been undertaken to protect the environment such as no plastic, biodegradable toiletries, and glass bottles for filtered bore water.
- Rates: From about 17,000 rupees per night for a villa room with a garden view.
Best Boutique Hotel: Jalakara
Jalakara (meaning "fountain" in Sanskrit) is a chic, boutique villa hotel in the jungle that offers immersive experiences. It's a cool concept—a blend of the informality of a private villa and service of a small hotel, with the aim of being a "house party experience" where guests naturally meet over sundowners or a coffee. The British-designed property is situated in the middle of the island, on what was originally an overgrown banana and betel nut plantation backing onto a rain forest. It has three rooms, three suites, and a private villa. An in-house chef prepares an enticing array of innovative dishes for guests and cocktails are a specialty at the bar. Cooking lessons are offered, and there's a spa with a focus on yoga and massage therapies for well-being. Radhanagar beach and the harbor are 15 minutes away.
- Rates: From about 13,500 rupees per night. Breakfast is included but tax is extra.
Best Beach Cottages: Munjoh Ocean Resort
Munjoh Ocean Resort was renovated in 2016 and undoubtedly has the most stunning cottages on Havelock Island. They're set under a crop of coconut trees a couple of minutes walk back from a private beach, near beach number five. Some of the cottages have two bedrooms, making them ideal for families and friends. The property is beautifully landscaped, and the staff are helpful and efficient. If you're in the mood for romance, request a candlelit dinner under the stars. Bicycles and scooters are available for those who want to ride around the island, and there's also a dive center inside the resort. Unfortunately, there's no swimming pool though.
- Rates: From about 11,000 rupees per night for a double, including tax and breakfast.
Best Secluded Hotel: Barefoot at Havelock
A reliable favorite, particularly for honeymooners, Barefoot at Havelock resort is one of the few hotels located at secluded beach number seven (Radhanagar Beach). It's not actually on the beach, but rather about a five minute walk away through the jungle. The first eco-friendly resort in the Andaman Islands, it's a place where you can truly get away from it all. There's no TV, internet, or phone network. Do prepare to be isolated! The resort has 31 thatched wood cottages, tents, and villas distributed over seven lush acres of grounds.
- Rates: From around 11,600 rupees per night for an air-conditioned tented cottage and 15,500 rupees for an air-conditioned Nicobari Cottage. Tax is extra.
Best Beach Bar with Live Music: SeaShell
SeaShell is a rustic, village-like beach resort, with timber duplex villas and cottages surrounded by coconut trees. Located in the vicinity of beach number three (Govindnagar Beach) near the jetty, it has a tiny patch of sand peppered with hammocks and patio seating. If staying at a hotel with a bar is important to you, look no further than Seashell. The property has an atmospheric sea-facing bar with live music nightly, which you won't find elsewhere on the island. There's also a separate swimming pool and play zone for kids, two restaurants, and an in-house dive center.
- Rates: From about 7,600 rupees per night, including tax and breakfast.
Best Value for Money: Dolphin Resort
Although you'd hardly know it from the careful way it's been maintained, Dolphin Resort is a government enterprise! Situated on the seafront near beach five, all lodgings are in newly constructed single story and two story cottages only meters from the beach. And, the beach is an attractive private one. What more could you want? There's also a restaurant (simple buffet lunch and dinner is served), bar, and conference hall on the premises. The only drawback is that there's no room service. It's best to book two to three months in advance.
- Rates: Expect to pay 5,000 rupees per night, including breakfast, for one of the new cottages in high season. Cheaper rooms are available from 3,000 rupees per night. Tax is extra.
Best Backpacker Vibe: Emerald Gecko
Emerald Gecko successfully blends backpacker accommodations with fabulous (and reasonably priced) food. It's frequented mostly by foreigners. Unlike many other hotels, it has a prime location right on the beach—at the far end beach number five, on the most bustling stretch in Havelock. This area is jam-packed with resorts, bars, restaurants, shops and the bohemian traveler-set. If you'd prefer to stay in a pretty cottage in the jungle near Kalapathar Beach in the corner of the island, check out the Flying Elephant by the same owners. Yoga meditation classes, and guided jungle walks, are offered.
- Rates: Choose from a selection of bamboo beach huts, bamboo bungalows, and bamboo lodges—prices will vary. Inquire with the hotel directly through their website for current pricing.
Best for Diving: Island Vinnies (Dive India)
If you're serious about scuba diving or want to learn, Island Vinnies is the place for you! It's a full-service dive hotel, with the most experienced dive team in the Andamans, situated at beach number three (the only suitable beach for diving). The hotel itself is nothing flashy. Instead, the main attractions are value for money, a wide range of activities, delicious food at the Full Moon Cafe (many people say it's the best restaurant on the island) and a great social atmosphere. This is not a hotel where you'd want to chill on a hammock all day! Three types of accommodations are provided—standard and upgraded huts, and tented cabanas. They were all rebuilt and upgraded in 2017, including a new toilet block. Note: due to increased demand, from October to May room bookings are only taken from people who are intending to dive.
- Rates: If you're on a budget, the very basic standard huts are cheaply priced at 600 rupees a night with shared bathroom. Including all meals, they're 3,400 rupees a night for a double. The upgraded huts are 1,800 rupees per night. The tented cabanas have attached bathrooms and are priced at 3,500 rupees a night, going up to 6,300 rupees a night for a double with all meals included.