I travel the world scouting for unique experiences and the best that travel has to offer. It is not often that a place, to put it delicately, blows my mind. Miavana, a stunning villa resort in an archipelago just off the coast of northern Madagascar, has all the qualities to deserve the tirade of adjectives so often misused, but strictly fitting in this case: amazing, unbelievable, incredible. Picture a place so remote and isolated, you have to fly in by helicopter, over breathtaking national parks and beyond. It could very well be the opening act of an award winning movie, one where you are about to enter a lost world.
A VILLA IN A FORGOTTEN SEA
Miavana is located on the island of Nosy Ankao. The island is private property so it is true that you can have an island all to yourself. The surrounding, smaller islands of the archipelago are uninhabited and ripe for exploration. The coast of Madagascar just beyond is completely wild; at night, there’s not a single light to be seen —except, of course, for those of thousands of stars. The fourteen private villas sit comfortably alongside a delicious beach, and the interior design is inspired by the uniqueness of Madagascar’s isolated ecosystem. The hand-dyed fabrics used to decorate the villas create an environment that is peaceful and intimate, while still blending with the paradise outdoors.
VIRGIN WATERS AND JUNGLES
Luxury living aside, Miavana is outstanding for the many activities available. In the morning you can take your boat to the nearby islands and enjoy snorkelling and diving in reefs that probably had never been seen before. When you’ve had your share of discovering underwater jewels, you arrive at a deserted beach where the most delicious breakfast has been laid out for your enjoyment. You can spend the day walking in the forest of Nosy Ankao, sharing the trails with crowned lemurs, or take back to the water for some excellent kite surfing and other water sports.
GATEWAY TO WILDLIFE
By helicopter, Miavana is within reach from Ancarana and Amber National Parks, so in the span of a day you can enjoy some of the best wildlife in Madagascar. But there are lemur walks closer to home and, in season, sea turtles hatching are a sight to see. Take your boat a little off shore and dive into the water, it’s likely you’ll be swimming with a pod of dolphins. Venture a little further and see whales.
ALL THE LITTLE PLEASURES
Exceptional service ties it all together. Apart from having a dedicated butler and concierge service, the wildlife guides are the best in Madagascar, the in-villa spa service is outstanding. But I must end on a culinary note, quite simply, the food is amazing!