What We Love
- The thousands of fig trees, palms, and vanilla plants planted around the property
- Sleeping under the stars during a private “sleep-out” arranged by the resort
- Arriving via Robinson helicopter, which ferries guests from Diego Suarez port
- Exploring the treasures in the hotel’s mini-museum of island artifacts, including a pygmy hippopotamus skeleton and 17th-century cannons
What To Know
- There’s no AC in guest rooms or public spaces, but island breezes should keep you cool
- Each villa comes with an electric buggy for jaunts around the island
- Scuba lessons are included in the price
Nosy Ankao island, just off the northeast coast of Madagascar, boasts an incredible array of flora and fauna, from Malagasy vanilla plants to Bumphead parrotfish—a lush, diverse setting for Miavana’s 14 supremely luxurious villas. Guests can choose between one, two, or three bedrooms, all of which feature kitchens and private pools and are decked out in Missoni colors that bring a swish island vibe to the mid-century modern architecture. There are no palm-frond roofs here; villas are framed in steel, with conical stone towers and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that bring beach views inside. The hub of the resort is the Piazza, which comprises the main infinity pool, rooftop bar, dining areas (which include a beachside pizzeria), and wine cellar all in one sociable place. Burn off breakfasts of granola and flaky croissants and dinners of prawn and crab coconut curry with a swim in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean or a stroll along the beach…or just retreat to your villa for an in-room massage with products made from local botanicals, all within view of the brilliant turquoise sea.
In the Area
There’s not much you can do on your own around Miavana except walk along the shore—and it’s a three-hour stroll to the abandoned lighthouse built back in the 1930s. But that’s okay: the resort offers all kinds of daily activities, from scuba diving and snorkeling (there are coral reefs just offshore, some of which are still unnamed) to jet-skiing, fly-fishing, or whale and dolphin watching. Boat and helicopter transport is also provided to the mainland, where guides can lead you on forest treks and lemur-spotting hikes.
How to Get There
Miavana will exceed your expectations.
We traveled to Miavana for a week in early December 2018 and had an incredible experience. The weather was perfect, the staff was attentive and there was enough activities on offer to keep us busy (honestly we could have stayed an extra week). The island is also home to a group of crowned lemurs which were amazing to see. I got my PADI open water scuba certification during our stay and the coral at the dive sites was incredible! Additionally because there is no other tourism in the area, you have the whole place to yourself to explore.
As far as accommodation, the villas are huge and luxurious and have en-suite pools. You get your own golf cart and bikes for exploring the island / getting to and from the main area. Each villa comes with its own butler who is there to attend to your needs - we felt like royalty.
Even though staying at Miavana costs a pretty penny, when you consider that ALL motorized and unmotorized activities (scuba, fishing, waterskiing, paddle boarding, quad biking, etc) are included along with your meals and drinks - it actually is an amazing value. Additionally, we were told that by visiting Miavana we were supporting their conservation efforts which was a nice bonus.
My family and I have just returned from a weeks stay at the breathtakingly beautiful Miavana Island Sanctuary . Words and photo's dont do the property or the island any justice , this needs to be seen first hand . From the time we arrived by helicopter transfer , the GM Ross and his team were at our beck and call . We stayed in Villa 1 , 500 square meters of opulance all to ouselves , my teenage children each having thier own suite attached to the main villa . The villas are so nice it actually is very difficult to leave , your meals are offered to you either in your villa or at the central dinning / bar area . The island ( Nosy Ankao ) is teeming with fascinating flora , fauna and wildlife which you wont find anywhere else on earth . Our excellent guide Simon was full of knowledge and we certainly left with a far better understanding of Madagascar , its history and its flora and fauna . From Lemur trekking to snorkelling trips to neighbouring island picnic lunches , the Miavana team ensured every day had an interesting activity planned , no one was every bored . The rest of the time was spent relaxing at the villa or on the beach . This region of Madagascar will certainly be the next hot spot to be discovered as the destination of choice for luxury Indian Ocean Island travel , go and enjoy this region before the rest of the world discovers it
I have never written a trip advisor review before, having only come close when experiences have been somewhat bad, I have considered it several times....however as the feeling of discontent generally always passes, I have never actually sat down to officially complaining. I certainly never imagined that my first review would be because of an experience so overwhelmingly positive that I simply had to share my opinion and experience... Well here I am. I know this already seems long, as I may not be a seasoned reviewer, so I will keep it short from here;
My week long stay at Miavana was unparalleled in almost every aspect of luxury. Defining luxury not only in terms of great quality and exclusivity, but in terms of craftsmanship, consciousness and a unique enriching experience. The richness of the culture set the context for such unique environment, and is the pillar of every impressive distinguishing feature of the resort. From the moment I landed on the island I began to realise and absorb the extent to which each element of my stay was considered to the nth degree, and executed with perfection.
The more the staff revealed to me the intricate offerings of the resort the more I understood how important the implications of Miavana were to it's creators; Working to sustain and protect such a delicate and unique environment and it's local cultures, whilst simultaneously prevailing in the highest level of luxury and elegance; From the poetic architectural design and craftsmanship in execution, to the devoted service in hospitality, to the culinary mastery in the kitchen...I was simply blown away.
I have travelled extensively in my lifetime, Europe, Greece, South America, Far East, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles and widely in Africa, but this was by far the best holiday I have ever experienced.
The package of Miavana that you have structured is absolutely perfect and I will do my best to promote the island as widely as I can and hopefully return sometime soon.
When I was asked [before my travel to Nosy Ankao] by the Manager what the purpose of my visit was and if I was travelling alone, I advised her that yes I was alone , a time of relaxation and soul searching, and that I liked good food, the sea, snorkelling, reading and peace. I achieved my objectives and enjoyed and witnessed and learnt so much more with the amazing handpicked people that are employed at Miavana, all of them specialists in their own field of excellence, knowledge and professional service, hence my decision to extend my stay by a further week.
The nature of Miavana, the accommodation, restaurant and bar area, the rehabilitation programmes, social responsibility programmes, the sea, the amazing villas, the common area, the museum, the food, the facilities and activities available, was beyond my greatest expectations. The other UNIQUE advantage of Miavana, that I have yet to experience anywhere in the world and I mean that, is the safety and security of the place in terms trusting your valuables, cameras, cash etc. without doubt or fear. This is a very big selling point to me as a South African Greek. There were only two comments I had to make to manageress first that the loungers at the splash pools are impractical for sunbathing as they do not have an adjustment to lie flat and therefore be able to turn once you’ve had enough sun on one side and secondly the need for a magnifying mirror in the bathroom for shaving, apart from those very minor issues, Miavana is absolutely perfect
I would like to start with Greg, an impressive man with abilities, knowledge and care that he demonstrated as the General Manager and a friend, very rarely found in business and leisure industries anywhere I have visited. Greg is really a great asset to Time and Tide.
The manager is a very rare mix of professionalism, energy, sophistication and “a can do” attitude I have yet to encounter in my experience. I wish I could employ a person of that calibre in my company. Always there when I needed anything, when I had to renew my supply of medicines from SA, she literally chased, DHL from Johannesburg to Antsiranana, made sure the package was on the designated flights and that I had it on time, above and beyond what is expected of any operations manager at a resort. Intelligent pleasant to talk to and with a family culture of very high values.
I named Simon a “naturalist & cultural custodian of Miavana. I spent several hours with him and he taught me a lot about the nature of Madagascar, history, traditions, and fauna and flora of the island and the “mainland”. I had asked him to make me aware of a turtle and hatchlings thereof whenever the opportunity arose whatever time of day or night. I had never experience this animal before. True to his word I experienced both on two occasions. Simon has knowledge and human empathy beyond his years and is excellent member of the Miavana team.
My butlers Jafer and Nimya were so attentive, helpful, professional, caring and pleasurable a great experience to have such amazing people attending to all my needs. Jafer is a very professional butler, knowledgeable, interesting to talk to and demonstrates a quality of the human touch that is a great mix of the profession and character of the job. Ashraf as the chief butler was also impressive and his culture management and excellence comes through his staff. He also made me feel very special on the island.
The activities team are also a very well selected trio of young men whose, enthusiasm in sharing their experience, knowledge and specific talents – the two Chris unique and their own way and very supportive and helpful when I needed their guidance whether snorkelling, fishing, photographing and even sharing some of their personal equipment with me. The leader of this team is a very experienced you man for his age. What really impressed me was the management of his team, his knowledge of the waters around Nosy Ankao, diving, fishing and all that his other skills and responsibilities.
The little time I spent with the front desk manager, he came across as a very good man. The sommelier Alfred has an impressing command of his metier and always smiles and has a good word to say over dinner. Jonathan is also an excellent maître d and always introduced my every dinner plate with great gusto. The sous chef Natalie excelled herself with the cuisine she prepared, the pastries were of a very high standard and the macaron where the best. What was interesting to me is how the kitchen managed to present fresh vegetables, fruit and all to go with it in such remote circumstances – BRAVO!
Finally I must congratulate you for your choice of excellent helicopter pilots, I have had a fair amount of experience flying with SAPS helicopters and I know these guys are good. As you are well aware I flew several times manly with Hein a very special friendly and accommodating person, pleasant to talk with and share a drink with. [1000 flying hours achieved during one of the flights] and once with Devon also a very experienced pilot. I spent a lot of time talking to Hein in company with Greg. and Vivian. The condition of your helicopters also gives one a feeling of safety and confidence when flying with such capable hands.
I also had the wonderful experience of visiting the staff village and sharing a drink with the guys – impressive infrastructure!!!! Finally on the last night that I was there, I convinced the guys to go “party” with me at the Ampasimangidy village “dance / bar. It was great and being a third generation African I felt at home.
Congratulations on building such a beautiful place the way you have, with the attention to detail, “aircon cloth pipe to disperse the cool air above the bed,” to the coloured branded matts, uniforms, slops, this place is of the highest standard and I will recommended highly.
The experience of Miavana is like nothing I've experienced before. Flying into the island by helicopter by an extremely cool female pilot, who was previously a conservationist; explaining the history and current economic and ecological status of Madagascar as well as the conservation projects of Miavana was, to say the least, very impressive.
Upon arrival the staff were incredibly friendly, welcoming and came bearing gifts, extra cold brut champagne. They took us to our beautiful open plan ocean villas, where we met our butlers who were most helpful and meticulously professional throughout our stay. The rest of the staff were incredibly knowledgable about all aspects of Madagascan conservation, food & wine. The food was absolutely the highlight of the stay. The head chef Graham and Frank the pastry chef, deserve some sort of ingenuous desert island dish award for their menus and desserts. They work with seasonal and locally grown food and the menu is always impeccably executed.
The front of house staff were always on hand and organised amazing day trips, activities, and surprises for us. They couldn't have been more helpful and on-point with their guest services.
From an ethical tourism point of view, I am pleased to have seen what the hotel was doing to engage their island with the conservation of lemurs, turtles, fishing with the local NGOs and engagement & trade with local businesses & villages. It's incredibly important to see a company strive for more than just financial gain in this age of tourism.
All in all the experience was incredibly special, the location was out of this world and I would definitely recommend this hotel and company.