“ Address: 12, rue Stanislas Rakotonirina - Isoraka, BP 4106, Antananarivo, Madagascar „
Le Pavillon de l 'Emryne - Hotel du Charm de Madagascar, Antananarivo
We arrived here after a very long day. We checked out of the Vakona Lodge in Andasibe, we did a four hour forest trek, had lunch then drove back to Antananarivo which took about four hours with a stop on the way for a look at a reptile park and the toilet.
Antanarivo is a huge sprawling, chaotic city built on several hills with tiny narrow cobbles streets as well as wide boulevards. All I can say is traffic is total chaos but seems to work but I am glad I wasn't driving. We arrived at the hotel and all we could see was a very high wall, some steps and a wrought iron gate. This is no place for anyone with mobility problems as the steps into the hotel grounds are very large and very steep. For someone like me with short legs it meant very big steps up wards to get to the reception area.
This was a small room to the right of the main house and we were welcomed with a friendly smile and told that if we wanted a complimentary massage then this was available between 5pm and 8pm just let him know. Well as you can imagine I was back down within minutes after we decided that we would share a slot. Each massage was 40 minutes so we asked if we could have a slot of 20 minutes each as it was already 6pm.
THE MAIN HOTEL
We were taken across to the main building which was a 1930s French style house which has a lot of original furniture and has been modernised and done up but in a style in keeping with the house. As you enter the house you pass through a large porch which is labelled 'smoking area' and on either side is a nice sofa and table. Entering the house you are first into the sitting room which has sofas and a fire place and looks just as a smart French sitting room. To the right is the toilet which is one of the poshest I have seen with a black and white tiled floor and a Persian rug. The basin had a silver plaque with the name of the hotel between the two taps. The walls were adorned with paintings and old photographs.
To the left was a sort of conservatory area where breakfast was served which has glass topped tables and old style Louis XIV chairs which you sort of sunk into.
We went up the stairs which were wood with a Persian looking stair runner up the centre. Our room was another climb as we were on the top floor. By the time we reached the top we had done quite a bit of climbing and were glad that we were not the ones carrying the luggage up.
Each room had a double padded door for sound proofing which worked as we heard nothing from anyone else in the next room. There are ten rooms in total and I understand some are single rooms.
Our first thought as we entered was wow! The room was huge and the bed was two large singles pushed together and made up as a double but it still didn't dominate the room. It was made up in pure white lined and had a simple wooden frame which was quite elegant.
All the furniture was solid simple wooden style; the wardrobe had a coded safe inside it. The desk had the fridge and mini bar hidden in a cupboard and the light shades with very stylish to suit the age and design of the property. There was a futon type sofa which I presume you could use if you had children with you. Unfortunately there was a bedside table only on one side of the bed and the same with a reading light which meant I couldn't read in bed as I didn't have that side!
The floor in the room was polished wood but there was a large sisal carpet under and around the bed. This was quite hard to walk on in bare feet; it gave you a good foot massage as you walked on it and you certainly wouldn't kneel on it. There was also a grey wool rug near the grey futon/sofa and coffee table, this was a bit softer on the feet.
This was another wow! There was a good sized bath with wrought iron decorated sides. A huge walk in shower with lovely old fashion looking tiles which looked like old French wallpaper. The toilet was just white but the basin unit was all glass, modern with a central circular sink also of glass. It looked very sleek and shiny and not out of keeping with the rest of the decor as you might have thought. This is the kind of unit you have if you are not the one trying to keep it smear free, not at all practical as every water mark shows on the glass.
Soap in a block and in a bottle was provided and shower cream on the wall of the shower. There was no shampoo or body lotion and even more annoying was that there was no hair dryer so my hair had to look very clean but natural so it did exactly what it wanted! I did think that in the sort of hotel it was that there should have been a basic hair dryer as really they cost so little these days.
They only serve breakfast at the hotel but there are about four good restaurants which are a very easy walk from the hotel. Breakfast is served from 6.30am till about 11 am. It is set out on the period furniture in the lounge and you help yourself buffet style. On a dresser there was fresh whole local fruit and a delicious fruit salad. On the shelf above were four bottles with pewter lids and each had a different juice, passion fruit, orange, pineapple and mango. The bottles were constantly topped up by one of the two ladies working there.
On another dresser there was a selection of tea bags, a pot of rooibos tea, hot water, a coffee percolator and hot milk. This was left out all day and refreshed as needed so you could help yourself at any time to a drink or the barrel of biscuits beside it.
On the table was a wide selection of cheese, ham, bread, jams, crepes, yoghurt, Madeleines, cakes, pain au chocolat and cereals. You could also choose eggs done in various ways which again came just like that, a pile of scrambled, two fried eggs or an omelette, you had to put your own toast under and go and collect some of the ham to have with it if you wanted. It was a fairly typical continental breakfast I suppose but very well presented and in lovely surroundings.
These were lovely. Everywhere you looked there was something special, a small seat, a metal baobab tree ornament, a few pots gathered together with gorgeous tropical plants and then a little arbour with sofa and plants growing over it. All this was behind the huge wall which fronted the road and we noticed that there was curled razor wire all along the top of the wall so the house and garden were pretty secure behind this high wall.
There was free wifi all over the hotel, in every room and in the main lounge, sometimes it was a different server but the same code worked on all.
The free massage was wonderful. We had been walking miles and sitting in the car over fairly rough roads as well as crammed into planes for about a week and to have your shoulders, back, feet and legs massaged was just perfect. We almost skipped down the huge steps out for our meal after that.
Although check out was at 11 am we were not being collected for our trip to the airport until 1pm ad they were more than happy for us to sit in the garden or the lounge area and enjoy a coffee and the free wifi so I did a bit of catching up of putting photos on facebook and reading reviews.
We were only there over night and drove all the way through Antananarivo but I really can't say if this is a good location or not as we still have not discovered what there is to see in the capital city. We looked on the internet before coming and there does not appear to be any 'must sees' in the city so this is probably just as convenient as any other hotel in the city. It doesn't have a pool so if you want to lie around a pool then you need to look for another hotel.
For bed and breakfast in a superior room I think we paid about 65 Euros for the night which is a real bargain for this style of accommodation. I think the single rooms were about 60 Euros a night on the same basis.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
A definite 'yes 'for this one. This was a hotel with charm and character. Everything was classy and done with taste and care. There pictures on the wall were old photos and paintings, the furniture was in the classic French style and it was just like staying in friend's home but with the ability to have breakfast when you want and a bit of anonymity. I really am not a fan of B&Bs where the owner wants to corner you and chat and you can't come back before a certain time in the evening. This was a small posh hotel with all the pluses of a hotel but at the same time having a very intimate yet comfortable feel to it.
The only negative s I can think of are the huge steps and there is no lift so not one for someone with any mobility problems. The other negative is the lack of hairdryer which I think would be so easy to sort with a small cheap one in each room.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.