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A Bed in Andaman & Nicobar – A Barefoot at Havelock Review

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The Andaman & Nicobar Islands in India are undergoing a rapid change. As tourism increases, once secret beaches are being discovered and more guesthouses pop up. If you want a slice of the real Andaman & Nicobar then visit Barefoot at Havelock. They are a truly sustainable property, that has developed organically from their backpacker roots amidst rewilded tropical forest and just minutes from Havelock Island’s most incredible beach, Radhanagar. Read on for our full Barefoot at Havelock review.

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During our stay, we got to try out some of Barefoot’s many activities but there were so many, we have decided to pop them in a separate post.

Check out Picnics, Parakeets & Pools – Our Activities at Barefoot, Havelock

Barefoot at Havelock Resort’s Location

Radhanagar Beach is one of Asia’s most stunning stretches of sand. The sand is soft and white, lapped by blue water and backed by green forest. It’s truly a beautiful beach, picture perfect with a slow sloping descent into the water, making it family friendly too.

Hidden just two minutes back from the tree line is the Barefoot at Havelock resort. The area Barefoot sits within used to be a banana tree plantation but over the past two decades, the owners have put considerable effort into replanting endemic species of plants and trees to repopulate the forest.

A Look Around Barefoot at Havelock

The Lobby

On arrival, we were offered comfy seats in the bar area of the lobby, along with cooling towels. The fans were already doing a pretty good job of keeping us cool. Looking up at the wooden structure, I was so impressed. Apparently the architect is Swiss which you could never guess from its Bali-esque vibes.

Before entering the building, guests are required to remove their shoes, upholding the resorts name, Barefoot. There is a small foot washing station, which is also found at the restaurant and each room as well. Looking at the reception desk, the hub of the resort, there is a small gift shop on the left and the bar on the right. Up the stairs is a mezzanine level with low seating and a small library.

The Room

Down rocky paths and tree slice stepping stones (bring some sandals with sturdy soles) you will find 31 rooms. They have tented cottages, duplex cottages, villas and one special room designed by a Sri Lankan architect. They are all the epitome of barefoot luxury with natural materials, designed to integrate with the pretty surroundings.

Our Tented Cottage

I wasn’t sure what to expect from something called a tented cottage, but it turns out it was a beautiful thatched roof with a thick canvas tent beneath. The material was decorated with pretty prints which gave it a sense of place.

Under our canopy we had a nice outside seating area. There was a bench, complete with umbrella that we could use if it rained. There were also two deck chairs but with the beach so near, we didn’t use it. What we did use, was the foot washing station. This dealt with the age old problem of bringing the beach sand into your bed by mistake. We managed to keep our room sand free.

Inside the room, the furniture was minimal but what we did have was useful. There was a low table on which we found some information about the resort. Next to this was a tea and coffee station, along with filtered water and a couple of wine glasses. I meant to make a coffee at some point but our early morning activities meant it was better to just get up and out without faffing so I didn’t get round to it. There was Nescafe and the more local Coffee Day. For something a little cooler, we had a minibar with a couple of soft drinks in and two large beers. It was a shame we don’t like beer as these were very tempting when it was hot outside.

To the left, there was a wardrobe/shelving unit of sorts. It was handy to hang anything we intended to twear the following day, and I liked having the mirror but it wouldn’t be good for people that love to fully unpack. Luckily, we could just pop oiur packing cubes here when we needed to rummage in them.

The Bed

Our lovely big bed had crisp white sheets and super soft pillows. This wasn’t your average camping fare! On either side we had a bedside table and a plug. which was nice. At 16:00 every day, the housekeeping team came and turned the bed down, enclosing it in a mosquito net. One of our vital travel items is duct tape, and it is standard to cover up any little holes in a mossie net with a little square of tape. We did this on the first night and on our second evening saw that they had sewn the hole up really neatly. Top marks!

The Bathroom

The bathroom was outside of the tent but still under the roof. It was a giant semi-circular area at the back of the room, housing the toilet, a shower and sink. The shower was fantastic and felt like we were outside with the morning sun slicing in sideways.

We were provided with four large bottles of shampoo, shower gel, conditioner and body lotion. They were all lovely to use and my hair product stayed in my washbag. We also got a soap to cut through all that sun cream and deet, and a shower cap for quick, pre-bed rinses. It was a great set up. When you are used to guesthouses with small wet rooms, having so much space to drip dry or waft a towel was a treat.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served at The Swimming Elephant. This lush, open sided structure is almost original. It used to be reception when Barefoot first opened. It has been expanded and now fits everyone in for food. There are two sections of tables and chairs, and one with low tables along with big, thick cushions. There were even a couple of tables outside which one French family loved to make use of while we all dashed for the cooling fans.

We also had a few special dining experiences but I will talk about those in the activities blog post. It is worth noting that all the food came from the Swimming Eephant so it is all a review of the same menu.


There is a no breakfast buffet at Barefoot. Everything is served a la carte apart from the drinks selection. Every morning there was a different selection of fresh juices, cold coffee or milkshakes to pour. We were given a menu with a selection of western options on one side. Mr Fluskey greatly enjoyed the scrambled eggs and chocos with cold milk.

Then, on the other side was a daily Indian selection. The idli with dips was delicious but the winner had to be the masala dosa, a spicy and hearty start to the day which I totally forgot to photograph because I was far too excited to eat it. We were also given a plate of fruit every day which was a nice, fresh accompaniment.


We only had one lunch in the restaurant itself but it was a good one. We opted for the satay chicken and prawn curry. The satay was unusual, being Thai marinated chicken that was then coated and fried. Then came the main event, the tender coconut and prawn curry with a cashew based sauce. Oh my goodness. This was heavenly! Turns out, the recipe came from one of the staff’s grandmas. She must have been an epic cook as this was one of Mr Fluskey’s favourite Indian dishes ever. It was so good that we had to order it again for another dinner. If you go, and you eat seafood, you MUST order this!


We had dinner at Swimming Elephant three times during our day, which meant we got a nice variety of dinner options to sample. there are three main sections on the menu here, Chinese, Italian, and Indian. Italian might feel a little strange, and like an attempt to cater for everybody, but Barefoot has the bona fide to back it up. They used to have an Italian couple working in the kitchen and they passed on plenty of knowledge of Italian cooking to the staff to continue serving up European fare. The pizza, was as good as it could be with the quality of mozzarella available. It was definitely the best pizza I have ever had in India.

There are some fun and unusual dishes on the menu, like the ginger chicken. This is a fancy version of chicken goujons. Chicken and ginger are coated in polenta and fried to produce a simple, but incredibly more-ish starter.

On our first evening, we tried a potato dish, which was a whole potato stuffed with stuff? And covered in a creamy curry sauce. We’ve never had anything like it in India, but it was filling and the most delicious food.

Mr Fluskey’s biggest distress in India, is that there are no decent kormas to be found. He has suffered through many a pasanda and Shahi paneer on the hunt for a mild but tasty almond based curry. Well, finally, his search was over as Barefoot serves a top-notch vegetable korma. Add to this the south Indian style paratha and you have one very happy Fluskey!

We only managed dessert on one evening, full to the brim. On every other attempt. We shared a panna cotta, which was good, but not amazing. It was served with sweet jam-type sauce, rather than a sharper compote or sauce, which made the whole thing slightly too sweet.


Throughout the day, the bar in the lobby was open for drinks. We were impressed to see a decent cocktail list, full of original options. We indulged in a few cocktails during our time, even accidentally picking a shooter due to some absent-minded ordering at dinner. Every drink we had was good, and the selection of international spirits was unexpectedly broad. It speaks to the luxury element when you can have Absolute vodka instead of the local paint stripper.

One drink that is especially worth mentioning is the Laal Chai offered to guests every night down on the beach during sunset. As the colour changes to gold, a giant tea pot appears, full of hot, spiced chai. On our first night, we grabbed a beach mat and found a spot, taking our tea with us. It felt odd having a hot drink in the sun but it didn’t stop it tasting scrummy. Then, on our last evening, I spend an hour in the sea before sunset. It actually got a teeny bit chilly so the lovely warm tea was very well received.


The best way to chill out on your holiday is to let someone smooth your tensions away so we were so excited to have a full body massage. We had a quick sit down in the reception, debating whether the bowls on the floor, complete with leaf were for the aesthetics or for our feet. We erred on the side of caution and left our toes unsoaked. The massage therapists were going to do our massages side by side and showed us into the room, presenting us with a huge pair or paper pants each. It actually made a nice change from the tiny paper thongs often awkwardly yanked on for these experiences, but it definitely felt hilarious at the time.

We lay down and the lovely ladies went to work. It was a hard massage, the hardest I’ve ever had I think . I would normally ask for a lighter touch but after carrying my backpack on sore shoulders, and in a sort of sadistic whim, I decided not to say anything. It was somewhere between delightful at points and almost too painful at some stages. I figured it must be good for me! After our time was up we both showered in the bathroom and wandered, lighter than air, back to our room. Mr Fluskey fully intended to have another massage but one of our other activities over run and he didn’t have time. It is such a shame as around £30 for an hour of pummeling, detangling and destressing was very affordable.

Final Thoughts on our Barefoot at Havelock Review

Barefoot at Havelock has found a fantastic balance offering excellent service and high end rooms whilst still recognizably coming from eco resort roots. The owner is clearly really passionate about both sides of business. Remembering the early days, he enthuses about the replanting of local tress around the former banana plantation, and the quality of the new architectural delights. We found ourselves falling under Barefoot’s spell too, sad to leave after three days and dreaming of another visit.

Rosie xx

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