Couleur Café is just a short distance from the centre of Antsirabe town in Madagascar’s highlands, about a 3 hour drive from Tana. The lodge consists of 15 pretty brick-built cottages, including larger units for families, which are scattered throughout the gardens. Each cottage has a private bathroom and a fireplace in the bedroom as it can get chilly up here around June to August. The décor is simple but attractive with polished wooden floors and furniture, and you'll have a veranda with deck chairs and views of the manicured lawns and colourful flowers.
The day begins with a generous breakfast of home-baked breads, home-made jams and freshly squeezed fruit juice, which you can eat in the restaurant or outside in the gardens. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner, with meals making use of local spices and locally grown vegetables. The cuisine is a blend of Malagasy and French influences.
The craft shop here sells various locally made items and products including honey and essential oils from the lodge's grounds, organic vanilla and jewellery. There is free Wi-Fi in the rooms and the garden, so you can keep in touch with friends and family back at home.
Open: Couleur Cafe is open all year.
Location: Couleur Cafe is in pretty gardens about 500 metres from Antsirabe city centre and just off the main N7 road. The town is 170 kilometres south of the capital, Antananarivo, approximately a 3 hour drive.
Rooms: There are 15 cottage-style rooms built of brick and wood and with tiled roofs set in the gardens. They include twin and double rooms, a family room and a suite. All are en-suite with a shower, and with an open fire in the bedroom for cooler days. Décor and furniture vary from bungalow to bungalow, and all feature local artwork. Some rooms have TV.
Activities: While at Couleur Café you can explore the spa town of Antisrabe. The hotel offers excursions to see local crafts being practised, including soap making, cheese making and a trip to a local forge. Reception staff can also arrange a round of golf at the club in Antsirabe.
Facilities: The hotel has a lounge bar with a fireplace, dining room and terrace. Reception is staffed 24 hour a day. The on-site shop sells local spices and essential oils, and a range of locally-made basket ware, bags, ornaments and jewellery. Massages can be arranged.
Dining: Meals are eaten at individual tables in the dining room and outside in the garden. Breakfast consists of freshly baked bread, home-made conserves and fruit salads. For dinner there is a choice of local and French cuisines using ingredients including zebu, duck and tilapia flavoured with spices and served with locally grown vegetables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Twin and double rooms can be supplied with an extra bed on request, and there is one family room.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access in the cottages and garden.
Notes: Couleur Café does not accept credit or debit cards.
For an overview of the main highlights of Madagascar, this trip is very hard to beat.
"Liked the decor and garden, though we did not light our fire. A little oasis from the bustle of the city. Lots of birds, so sat on terrace and bird watched."
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499