Set in the lagoon in Ifaty this stylish, French-owned beach lodge has a good position on the beach, and the layout of the main building and pool area is well done. Les Dunes d'Ifaty has 41 rooms and you can either have a sea view villa (with its own lounge and verandah), or a superior or standard room (which is still good but just has a bit less space).
All the rooms have a ceiling fan, TV and safe, and the bathrooms are well done too. The main building is a large, airy, open-plan thatched structure with a tree in the middle. This is where you find the dining room, the bar with attentive, smiling bar staff, and the lounge. However you will probably spend most of your time by the pool or the beach, or indeed both, as they are both very close.
Bear in mind that the sea goes out quite a reasonable distance here at low tide, so a good pool is important. There is also a snack bar on the beach. There are some local people from the village who come to try to sell you things on the beach, after all Mangily village is very close by, however they are really not too pushy so this is not a problem.
If you want to do more than just relax, there are lots of possible activities you can do from here. These include cycling, horse riding, boat trips, diving, watersports and seasonal whale watching.
Open: Les Dunes dIfaty is open all year.
Location: The hotel is on the southwest coast about 27kms north of Tulear, near the fishing village of Mangily. It is in 6 hectares of grounds that lead down to the Mozambique Channel.
Rooms: There are 22 rooms and 19 villas. The rooms are split into standard and superior categories and are built in the gardens, each with a private terrace and en-suite bathroom. The villas are larger and can accommodate up to 4 people. They have a lounge and a large veranda, and some have ocean views. All rooms and villas are equipped with mosquito nets, ceiling fans, TV and safe.
Activities: You can go snorkelling, diving and take part in various watersports. Sailing cruises and whale watching boat trips can be arranged, as can excursions to the spiny forest. Horse riding is popular, and there are bikes for hire. There are facilities for beach volleyball, badminton and petanque.
Facilities: There is an 80-cover restaurant, a dining terrace, bar, games room and a library and book swap. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, plenty of sunbathing space and loungers here and on the beach, where the hotel has a beach bar.
Dining: The restaurant offers local dishes and international fare. Meals are eaten at individual tables. Seafood and fruit feature prominently on the menu.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access in the communal areas.
For an overview of the main highlights of Madagascar, this trip is very hard to beat.
"Wonderful accommodation and good food, but another place with limited hours of electricity - mind you they say you can ask for an extension. Good information available and lots of trips but hotel takes a big cut so if you want to help local people organise your own trips - we used our guide when visiting the spiny forest. If you go whale watching you should use a motor boat as sailing while lovely and environmentally friendly means that the whales have dived by the time you get there!The details say the tide goes out a long way - compared to the UK it doesn't! Also the local villagers are more pushy selling products and trips than it says."
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499