It has become a popular feature for modern media to create and publish top ten lists of all sorts – especially in the tourist industry. All the time, we are swamped with lists of the most beautiful beaches, the best island getaways and, of course, the best lodges. As we are already convinced that Madagascar is the perfect island getaway and has the most beautiful beaches, all we had to do was to select the top 10 lodges on this stunning island. However, when we picked our favourite lodges it was important to us to look at uniqueness, character and exclusivity – not just price, popularity and high profile. If you’re looking for an authentic and unique Madagascan experience but still want luxury and comfort, this is your list:
10. Eden Lodge
Introducing the island’s first 100% solar powered lodge, Eden Lodge has been voted on of the world’s top 10 Eco Lodges. Set within the beauty of a protected nature reserve in the Nosy Be Archipelago, this lodge convinces with a unique experience. Baobabs are set on the beach and during the day, lemurs emerge from the forest. Besides having the opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles, in the right season, you can even witness them hatching or spot dolphins and migrating whales. This is eco luxury at its best.
9. Anjajavy (Relais & Chateaux)
Only accessible by charter plane, Anjajavy Lodge, situated in the north-west of Madagascar, is the ultimate luxury when it comes to a Madagascar vacation. Guests enjoy uninterrupted sea-views from their rose-wood villas with the fresh breeze coming from the Mozambique Channel cooling you down at night. Choose from 7 little ‘creeks’ where you can spend the day relaxing on white sandy beaches, often all by yourself, with turquoise blue water stretching as far as the eye can see. At most there might be a few fishing boats with triangular sails crossing the horizon to interrupt your gaze. Coral Tsingy line the shores. The adjacent private nature reserve invites for long walks during which you can experience the local flora and fauna including tsingy and baobabs as well as Madagasar’s endemic wildlife such as lemurs and chameleons.
8. Princesse Bora
Facing a palm-fringed beach, the Princesse Bora on the island of Saint Marie, is a luxurious, exclusive lodge that doubles as a haven of peace and romance. Hours in the day can be filled with a wide selection of activities such as whale viewing, snorkelling and diving around glorious coral reefs. Meals are prepared with ingredients that are grown in lodge’s surroundings and served fresh. We absolutely love this place because it’s comfortable, and you’ll spend more time enjoying the activities than sleeping in its amazingly large beds.
7. Tsara Komba
When it comes to catchphrases, Tsara Komba’s captures the essence of the lodge perfectly: “A caring, luxury Eco Lodge: A harmonious balance between the environment, the economy and social protection.” We made it our number 7 because here you feel one with nature, yet can indulge in pure luxury. Surrounded by tropical gardens, the lodge has a private beach for guests to enjoy, as well as a nature reserve nearby that boasts a variety of endemic plants, lemurs, chameleons, hummingbirds, parrots, and other marvels. Diving in the bay is excellent – encountering whales, dolphins and turtles is not usual. The cuisine tastefully blends Eastern and Western spices, giving your taste buds a tantalizing experience.
6. Nature Lodge
Number 6 on our list is occupied by Nature Lodge situated just outside the magnificent rainforest of Montagne d’Ambre National Park. The large balcony of your spacious wooden chalet offers superb panoramic views that stretch from the bay of Diego to the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean. Meals will ensure you sample local fresh cuisine, while an exceptional selection of local cocktails will turn any sunset into a memorable occasion. The restaurant at the lodge has a menu rich with local dishes that feature coconut, seafood and other fresh produce from the garden and mountain nearby.
5. Pallisandre Hotel & Spa
Give Tana its due! Your stop-over in this busy city can be adventurous, fun and enlightening. Set in the heart of Tana, Pallisandre Hotel & Spa offers an unrivalled view of the city. Relaxation is guaranteed with a full spa on-site that features hammam, gym, massages, facials and other beauty treatments. The signature red brick simulate the rich artistry of the Malagasy people. The hotel overlooks the busy local market – ask your guide to take you for a stroll there! The hotel is centrally located and just a short taxi ride away from many of the excellent restaurants, or of course, you can choose to eat in the hotel’s own restaurant and enjoy a local rum tasting thereafter.
4. Ravintsara Wellness Hotel
Designed with relaxation in mind, the Ravintsara Wellness Hotel is set in a rainforest with its own private beach. Days can be spent exploring the island at large or choosing one of the hotel’s many ways to relax. Why not spend some time at the spa, have a cocktail at the bar, lie with a book on the beach, go gambling, go to the salon or try a delicious meal from the restaurant? A gastronomic chef serves a selection of delectable local dishes as highlights before and after all the exciting adventures in Nosy Be and the surrounding archipelago. A perfect option for our number 4.
3. Constance Tsarabanjina
If you’re looking for pristine beaches and unsurpassed relaxation then Constance Tsarabanjina is the place for you. Guests feel like they have the island to their own – the lodge is radiating the very essence of romance. This luxury beach lodge offers fantastic diving experiences with majestic creatures such as whale sharks and manta rays. In the evening you can enjoy culinary highlights beneath an awe-inspiring star-filled sky. With a choice of sea-facing bungalows, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more perfect destination to share with the one you love.
2. Mandrare River Camp
With the goal of having very little impact on the environment and surrounding villages, the Mandrare River Camp aims to empower the local community by creating jobs and supporting the local school. But that’s not the only reason why we selected it as our number 2. This luxury tented camp – one of a very few in Madagascar – has the most beautiful untouched surroundings with a variety of activities and a rather special way of encouraging guests to experience the local cultures. You are invited to see the tombs of the great ancestors, experience the flora and fauna of the spiny forest and are greeted by the elders before entering their ‘sacred forests’. You can also enjoy some specialist animal sightings that are unique to the island. It holds great relaxation, adventurous activities and the joy of knowing that you are giving back.
1. Manafiafy Rainforest Lodge
Nestled in the midst of untouched natural beauty, Manafiafy Rainforest Lodge invites you to escape the hustle and bustle of Madagascar’s more touristy areas. This eco lodge is in complete tune with nature and offers luxury at its best. You are allocated a personal guide who makes sure you get an up-close look at Madagascar’s extraordinary flora and fauna. The romantic feel makes it perfect for honeymooners, couples or families that just want to have some quality or bonding time together. We picked this lodge as our number one as it is simply unique. Manafiafy Rainforest Lodge is well-known for its beautiful rooms, for its delicious food and a variety of exciting activities but after all it is the remote and stunning locations that makes this lodge extra special.
Hidden Gem: Le Soleil des Tsingy
We called this our top ten lodges but like the bonus track on a good music album, we’ve added a sweet bonus lodge.
If you’re desperate to visit the Tsingy of Bemaraha, then Le Soleil des Tsingy is the perfect accommodation option for you. Not only will you be able to enjoy a dramatic view of the Manalambo River from the hotel, but you’ll also encounter breath-taking sunsets that are more than picture perfect. As an environmentally responsible hotel, it’s been actively involved in the conservation of the nature around it by regularly planting trees, preserving natural surroundings and investing in the craft and artwork from local artisans. The area of Bekopaka nearby provides a kaleidoscope of tropical vegetation, while the 20-hectare private park of Soleil des Tsingy is home to a wide variety of local animal species. If you have kids, then this is the perfect vacation destination for you, with a large playground on which your kids can frolic, as well as a toboggan for kids of all ages to enjoy!