“ Hotel in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. „
Le Dauphin Hotel, Port Dauphin, South Madagascar
Our flight back from Fort Dauphin was due to leave at about 7am and so this would have meant leaving Berenty at 1am and driving the four and a half hours along a really awful road so that we would be there to check in two hours before the flight. We asked our guide about this and they contacted the tour company and changed it so that we had two nights at Berenty and one in this hotel in Fort Dauphin. It was not difficult as the same people owned both places and there an available room fortunately .
Having had two nights at Berenty and knowing it was the same owner we didn't have very high expectations for the hotel .Our driver dropped us at the front door and pointed us in the direction of Reception. A man came from the hotel and grabbed our bags and we followed him in.
The lady in reception greeted us with a lovely welcoming smile and asked us how we had enjoyed Berenty. She told us that we were on breakfast and dinner included but would have to pay for drinks and lunch which we did know but nice to have it confirmed. She also told us that our flight time had been changed and now the car would collect us from this hotel at 6.30am so we would actually be able to have breakfast before we left which was a bonus.
She explained that breakfast was in this part of the hotel but lunch and dinner were in another part of the hotel just down the road. She then took us and showed us our room which was actually right next to the reception area so not too far to walk in the early morning.
Just in front of the sliding doors into the room was a small a patio area which looked out onto the lovely tropical gardens. There was a really comfortable sofa with sponge base and big cushions behind. My husband enjoyed a little siesta there in the afternoon while I wrote a few reviews.
The room was not huge but was quite big enough for the night. We had a large double bed with three pillows. The bed was made with white cotton sheets, a blanket and a quilted bed cover in a dark burgundy. As the rooms were all open when we arrived I peeked in a couple and they all had different coloured bed covers but were otherwise pretty similar.
A round table and one chair allowed me to plug in my laptop and sit to type. All that was on the table as we arrived was a large lamp with a ceramic base and raffia shade. Behind me on the wall as I sat at the table was a book shelf, empty apart from a silk orchid, an ash tray and an empty photo frame. A fridge stands on a wooden stand but when I opened it I found that it was not really cold at all and when I went to ask at reception about the prices I discovered that it was a mini bar and the prices were higher than at the restaurant so we bought our water from there instead.
We had an air conditioner in the room which we hoped to use at night but during the day there was a lovely breeze going through from the back window to the open sliding doors at the front. These were very nice and gave a great view of the garden but did of course mean that anyone passing has a good view of us in the room too. The window at the back had no bars and we were on the ground floor so it was definitely going to be shut in the night.
This was not huge but adequate and clean and far more modern that those at Berenty. The toilet was newish looking, the basin has a unit around it and two towels were under the sink on a shelf, white and okay, not thick and fluffy but okay. There was a proper shower cubicle with doors. We were only given a small simple soap and nothing else and of course there was no hair dryer either.
The hanging space was in the bathroom behind the door as was the safe. When we arrived it was open but in the lock position so we had to go and ask for it to be sorted at the Reception desk. A man came within minutes and left us the key which sorted the problem.
When we arrived after our long drive from Berenty we had only had our bread and jam breakfast so we both fancied something to eat and a cold drink. We headed to the hotel next door and found a lovely big bar and on the other side a nice restaurant which looked out onto really pretty gardens. We had a bit of a walk around and found that there was a pool but that it was empty which seemed strange.
We were asked if we wanted to sit inside or out and we chose outside which was on a sort of patio overlooking the garden. We ordered cold water and cold beer and then studied the menu more closely. It was positively exciting to have so much choice. We could have had sandwiches, pizza, three course meals and there were some Malagasy dishes. We always like to try local food so we chose two dishes from those.
My husband had a zebu (beef) and ginger stew dish with rice which he said was very tasty and the meat really well cooked and tender. Mine was a local fish cooked in coconut milk which again came with rice. Rice is the main staple in the country and is grown in many areas throughout Madagascar and we saw a number of padi fields near Antananarivo and also on the drive between Fort dauphin and Berenty. My fish was obviously a large fish as it was almost meat like tuna and the sauce was very tasty.
We hadn't realised that the dinner menu was the same as the lunch special menu and so unfortunately my husband had chosen a dish from the special menu and the other dish was prawns which he can't eat so he had the same meal for dinner as lunch, I chose the same dish as it was the nicest on that menu. The food was much better than at their other hotel in Berenty where we had stayed for two nights before this and the service was polite and friendly.
There were lovely gardens and walking around we found a large swimming pool but it was empty. I don't know if this was a temporary thing or if they planned to refill it but it seemed a shame. We spent a while wandering around the grounds exploring and had planned to have a look around Port Dauphin but we seemed to be a fair way out of the town and this would have meant a taxi ride and we were not really sure what there was to see anyway . We chose to spend the afternoon relaxing and reading in the garden area which was most pleasant after all the walking we had been doing in the last couple of weeks.
We attempted to shut up the room and pointed the remote at the air conditioner and sadly nothing happened. We then remembered that we had had the small table fan pointed out to us on arrival. We put this on and indeed it blew hard across us in bed. It was not entirely pleasant to be blown at all night but the choice was that or bake as we had to have the back window shut as we were on the ground floor and backing on the a very dodgy looking piece of ground. The front of the room was one large sliding door so that also had to be shut for security so we really had little choice.
We had to get up quite early for our journey to the airport so I got up first to use the shower. I fiddled with the taps for ages and couldn't get any cold water. The result was an extremely speedy and rather hot wash of the essential bits and certainly no hair wash. About twenty minutes after we discovered this staff arrived with buckets of water and told us that they had no water in the hotel there was some problem. Luckily we had had a shower the night before and were not too dirty. We also knew we were flying back to Antananarivo and were booked in to the Tamboho hotel which was lovely so we not too bothered.
This was in a lovely room in our part of the hotel so very modern with nice views of the gardens. We were welcomed by the young girl there and shown to a table. She asked whether we wanted tea or coffee and then popped off to return with some fruit juice, our tea and coffee as well as French bread, a plate of fresh fruit and also some croissants. It was a pretty basic continental breakfast but at least we got some fresh fruit and juice with our French bread and jam.
We were next to the Reception area so we pulled our cases into the lobby and sat to wait for the car to the airport. As we had paid for our meal, not used the mini bar and everything else was included we just handed our key back in and that was all done.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
Yes it was a very nice clean and comfortable hotel in lovely grounds but a little way out of the town. That may or may not have been a good thing as I do not know what was in the town and if that would have given you choices in places to eat. Judging by some of the other small towns in Madagascar I would think this unlikely but I may be wrong.
There were things that needed sorting out such as ensuring the air conditioners worked as a table fan is not great blowing at you next to the bed. The water problem may or may not have been their fault; it might have been a problem with water supply in the town. The rooms were nice and clean and fresh looking. The little patio areas in front of the rooms with a sofa to sit on was really nice as it was a comfortable place to sit and read. The food was all pretty good, the prices of the food and drink were reasonable and the staff were all lovely, friendly, smiling and helpful.
This deserves three and a half stars so i have gone for four stars.
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