Princesse Bora Lodge and Spa is on Ile Sainte Marie off the east coast of Madagascar. From the moment you arrive at the arport and see the zebu cart waiting to take you to the hotel you know this is a special place. Villas come in different sizes and varying degrees of luxury, some having fans and other equipped with air conditioning, and all are en-suite with hot and cold running water, and have a private terrace with a hammock. Sme are located in the gardens and others are nearer the sea.
The beach is picture postcard perfect: a long stretch of white sand backed by palm trees. The water is clear, well suited to snorkelling and diving both of which are offered. You can also explore by kayak, go waterskiing and explore the island's beaches by speedboat, stopping off for a private picnic.The hotel can arrange excursions inland, or you can explore for yourself using one of the free bicycles. Closer to home there's a lovely swimming pool, and a pontoon built out over the sea for some serious sunbathing. However you spend your day you should spare some time to enjoy soem gentle pampering at the spa.
The Beach Grill restaurant provides succulent fish and meat dishes with you choice of flavoursome sauce. The cuisine is a combination of Malagasy, Creole and French influences, successfully fused. If you fancy a change you can opt for a tasty pizza cooked to order in the wood-fired oven. To accompany your meal there's a selection of South African, South American, French and local wines.
Open: Princesse Bora Lodge and Spa is open all year.
Location: The hotel is on the southwest coast of Ile Sainte Marie, off the east coast of Madagascar. There is an airport on Ile Sainte Marie which has direct flights from Antananarivo (flight time around an hour), and there are also flights from Tamatave. Transfers from the airport to Princesse Bora Lodge are by zebu cart and take just a few minutes.
Rooms: There are 20 villas in total, in 3 categories. Charm villas are the most cosy, with a double bedroom cooled by a fan, a shower room, separate toilet and a terrace with a hammock. Luxury villas are larger, ideal for families, with 55sqm of space, a bedroom with queen size bed, mezzanine with 2 single beds, shower room, separate toilet, and terrace with a hammock. Interiors are air conditioned. The executive beach villas are nearest to the sea and provide 90sqm of room, with a king size bed and a single bed for a child, a sunken stone bathtub, walk-in double shower and separate toilet. The terrace overlooks the garden and sea. They are air conditioned and have a minibar. All rooms have a safe.
Activities: You can snorkelling, kayaking, waterskiing, wakeboarding, take speedboat trips to deserted beaches for a picnic lunch, travel by pirogue to the Ile aux Nattes with it unspoilt beaches and lighthouse. There is a PADI dive centre offering diving and dive courses. Whale watching trips are available from July to September. Bikes are available for exploring on land. Full and half-day excursions can be arranged to different parts of Ile Sainte Marie, taking in the scenery and villages.
Facilities: These include a lounge with board games, books and a piano, a shop, Wi-Fi area, outdoor swimming pool, pontoon with deckchairs and access to a natural pool, and a restaurant and bar (see below). Board games and table tennis are available. The Jungle Spa offers massages, body scrubs, and soothing baths. The hotel offers a laundry service for an extra charge.
Dining: The restaurant specialises in grilled dishes including fish, lobster and zebu. Breakfast is served between 7 and 10, lunch from 12 till 2, and dinner from 7:30 till 9. Wines are available. Meals are eaten at individual tables. The bar offers a wide choice of drinks from fresh fruit juice to colourful cocktails, and is one of the few places on Ile Sainte Marie to serve draught beer. Snacks are available.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Baby-sitting can be arranged, payable locally. Cots can be provided, and there are highchairs in the restaurant.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access in public areas.
See lemurs, chameleons and orchids, enjoy forest hikes, speedboat rides and relaxed beach time - all in just 12 precious days.
"A lovely location with superb food. Very comfortable room and our whale trip was great. The quad bike journey was a well worth while adventure!"