Editors' Picks

Miavana by Time + Tide

Barefoot luxury, natural beauty, rustic elegance

Miavana - Time + Tide, Madagascar

260-216-246-025

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Indagare Adored
Indagare Impact

At a Glance

The end of the helicopter flight from mainland Madagascar to Miavana by Time + Tide, in an archipelago of five islands, feels like descending into a pirate film whose shipwreck-chic setting is the product of a keen eye for design plus a hearty bold spirit. An adventure playground combining authentic and high-class luxury shoulder equal weight here—the 14 villas each command a large footprint along their own stretches of beach, while the island itself hosts an expansive nature reserve with a growing population of endangered lemurs as part of a species conservation plan. Trekking to see said rehabilitated lemurs in their habitat is a favorite excursion, alongside diving with manta rays and sea turtles, kitesurfing and stand-up-paddleboarding yoga sessions. The pirate theme continues in the property’s Cabinet of Curiosities, with artifacts and shipwreck salvage—the lifelong collection of Miavana's founders that showcases a passion for history and local Madagascar treasures.

**The Standout: **The design, with soothing silver woods and blue accents; everything faces the sunset **Don't Miss: **Kitesurfing with an expert in exceptional locales only reachable by helicopter

Indagare Loves

  • The superb food, a rotating mix of cuisines served in the main beachside restaurant or in your villa
  • A host of activities, from deep-sea fishing and scuba diving to lemur-trekking and lectures
  • The child-friendly program, with treasure and scavenger hunts and introductions to scuba diving

Review

There are very few resorts in the world capable of inspiring the kind of wonder that Miavana inspires. Many properties have their breathtaking qualities, but the arrival itself can spoil it—a long and bumpy car ride, multiple boat rides to the private dock. While it takes a while to get to Miavana, located on an island off the northern coast of Madagascar, the last leg of the trip is by helicopter—and the arrival is just the beginning of the over-the-top luxurious experience. During the 30-minute flight, you can see whales (only during season), turtles and manta ray swimming in the crystal blue waters below, before landing at the resort, where you’re greeted with a drink and lei.

Every aspect of Miavana lives up to that first impression. The 14 open-air villas, designed by the creatives behind the Seychelles’ storied property North Island, are large enough for a family of four to fit comfortably into even the most basic option available. Each one offers direct beach access, and while they aren’t so far from each other that you’ll never see your neighbor, they feel distinctly private. The interiors are bathed in silver wood and bright blue fabrics spread across separate living rooms, a full kitchen, bedroom, study and more. And while the overall aesthetic aims to be somewhat rustic (think shipwreck chic), the technology behind the scenes (from floor-up air conditioning to automatic smartphone integration) gives them all the luxury one could expect.

It’s easy enough to spend an entire stay in the villa, but the public areas have their own charms. The most unique of these spaces is the “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a small museum featuring everything from a perfect elephant bird skeleton to recovered shipwreck cannons.

The restaurant offers perfect sunset views (in fact, the whole resort is purposefully built so every building has those sunset views) in what could best be described as a renovated pirate’s fort. The food and service can stand up to any *Michelin*-starred restaurant, a rarity in a country whose own cuisine relies heavily on rice and beef. Meals span influences from French to Thai, with no two feeling alike. 

The private island itself, while not as stunning as those in the Seychelles or the South Pacific, does important work as an eco-property. Eight endangered crowned lemurs were moved to the island in 2018 and have already formed a breeding population, and plans exist to move additional endangered species to the isolated reserve in its effort to become a total hub for conservation. Guests can take short treks to see the lemurs, who are gradually being habituated to human presence by the on-site rangers. Those who don’t wish to hike through these areas (which can, admittedly, get quite buggy) will not be disappointed by the variety of other activities, such as deep sea fishing, scuba diving, ATV tours of the island and more. Travelers should note that during the wet season (November-March), the mosquitoes at Miavana are very bad.

Who Should Stay

Miavana is perfect for couples and families wishing to travel to a truly special destination. The villas and common areas offer enough privacy that guests will not be disturbed by others, but social travelers can still seek interactions with fellow guests.

Impact

Indagare Impact hotels have been carefully vetted according to our Impact Hotel Criteria.

Nosy Ankao, the island on which Miavana sits, is Madagascar in miniature—isolated, and thus the perfect testing ground for revolutionary conservation ideas. While Madagascar itself has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, Nosy Ankao has become a sanctuary for lemurs (indeed, many species have been brought to the island in order to create stable reserve populations) as well as hundreds of other endemic species of the region as a whole. These programs support not just land-based populations but healthy coral reefs on the island and the entire Levens Archipelago. Through its Time + Tide Foundation, Miavana supports not just conservation, but also community development. Miavana provides scholarships for students (particularly from traditional marginalized populations), plus medical and health support for the Ampisikina Commune.

Written by Colin Heinrich

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