“ Address: Tana water front, Ambodivona, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar „
Tamboho Hotel, Tana Water front, Antananarivo, Madagascar
We spent two nights at this rather lovely hotel in two different rooms. I think it was chosen for us by our tour company as it was pretty reasonably close to the airport and we had to get to and from the airport each time.
The hotel was in a sort of gated shopping and housing area but the shops were all the kind that sold very expensive things, designer clothes, designer baby items and rather odd arty shops so after one walk around the area we had seen there was nothing of any interest to us and returned to the hotel to relax. We had thought we might have lunch in a local cafe but as the only one around was a pizza place we decided to eat at the hotel instead.
We did have a look beyond the gated area but the street outside had stalls selling car parts and other items that were for repairs of similar and not really the kind of stall that held any interest at all so back we went. The outlook of the hotel was across padi fields and a rather unpleasant drain which was being dug out by a group of workers at the time we were there. I understand this was called Tana Waterfront which held an entirely different mental picture for me when I read the address; I thought it would be a bigger water front, not the sea front as Antananarivo is not by the sea. It certainly was not the best location for this hotel but in spite of that we really loved this hotel on both stays it was just perfect for what we wanted at the time.
On the first occasion we arrived at about 11 am and luckily our room was available so we spent a very lazy day in and around the hotel. The reception staff on each occasion were very helpful, friendly, welcoming and efficient. The reception desk is quite small and next to a sitting area which is modern, sleek but comfortable. The floor was solid wood throughout and this seating area was slightly raised and to the right of the entrance door.
If you went beyond the reception desk then you came to the dining area and bar which had a great view of the 'Tana Waterfront' drain digging. The bar was pleasant and the bar staff smiling and pleasant. In the morning the bar was used for the coffee and juices and cereals parts of the breakfast buffet.
The restaurant had an inside and a balcony area with a roof for shade but it was open along the sides. We really loved the two huge photos on the wall of Malagasy people with huge smiles, every time you looked at them you had to smile yourself. I'll come back to the restaurant later.
Both rooms were similar. They each had solid wooden floors, large king sized bed with really good bedside lights and each side had a bedside storage table for your book, glass of water etc. As you entered the room there was a wardrobe on the right with a coded safe and hanging space. This was a smaller side part of the room. Straight in front was the bathroom and then the main room was mainly to the left. Each room had a large picture window and small balcony; both our rooms looked down onto the pool and the 'Tana Waterfront' then over the padi fields to the city beyond.
I really liked the sleek minimalist look to the room which has modern lamps, pine desk unit and chair, flat screen TV on the wall but also had Malagasy pictures on the wall. The bathroom wall had a large circle window cut out and the only thing giving a bit of privacy was a silk hanging on a wooden frame which was changed for each guest (I know because we arrived while they were making up our room and i watched them putting ours up) The hanging looked like a Nepalese weaving to me and in fact the uniform of the staff had an Indian look to it too but otherwise the hotel was more Scandinavian in its sleek modern, minimalist look.
I have already described the 'window'. Our first bathroom had a wooden sliding door but our second seemed to be missing this. Just as well we had not private secrets as this did mean that using the bathroom was not exactly a private affair. Apart from the lack of door and the thin fabric screen over the 'window' the bathroom was wonderful.
There was a huge walk- in shower with two shower heads. One was an enormous rain type shower head and the other was a smaller one you could hold in your hand. We only used the huge rain type one so I don't know what the other was like. The walls were tiled in a dark bronze black and the floor was black tiles so the impression was modern but dark. The shower screen was clear glass.
The basin was white and sat on a black shiny shelf with shiny stainless steel central tap. We had nice shampoo, soap, shower gel and body lotion all containing aloe vera and these were sitting on a wooden dish. The towels were rolled and put in a large terracotta plant pot. The walls were all white as was the toilet and the towels and the tissue box cover. The best thing from my point of view was the hairdryer on the wall; a proper one not one of those vacuum hose type things that huff warm air at you. This was the only hotel on our holiday that had a proper hairdryer so I was thrilled.
On our first stay we were leaving at about 3am so a bit early for breakfast so they offered to pack us a boxed breakfast. When we came down to wait for our driver to take us to the airport the breakfast buffet was set out so we were able to grab a cup of tea and some fruit but they still packed us a box each to take with us which was very thoughtful. The box had croissants, Danish pastries, some Indian samosa type things and a drink, all very good and satisfying.
The second time we stayed we were not leaving till later so we were able to experience the entire buffet. The fruit juices were cool and there was a choice of three. Tea and coffee was in large insulated jugs. A choice of fresh fruit, cereals, and French and Danish pastries as well as hot stuff like eggs cooked to order. I decided to try some of the Indian samosa and pastries which were quite tasty then a crepe after my usual fresh fruit. It made a very pleasant change from the French bread and jam we had enjoyed in other hotels.
LUNCH AND DINNER
We ate one lunch and two dinners at this hotel. There was a pretty extensive menu offering a range of meals from pho (Vietnamese soup) through to zebu steak and some Malagasy dishes as well as other Asian dishes.
The pho was delicious and just as good as those we had eaten in Vietnam. I had that as a 'small' lunch choice but couldn't finish it as it was such a generous portion, full of meat. At each meal we had we were brought tiny 'amuse bouche' with our drinks which we thought was a nice touch. We also both tried the zebu dish and it was tender and tasty, so good in fact that my husband had it twice. I think my other meal was guinea fowl and my husband's was a chicken dish, both served with rice in a small dish. Presentation was modern and on white square plates which looked really tempting.
The hotel corridors were like the rest of the hotel had wooden floors, the walls along parts were glass so you overlooked the pool or the street below. Along the closed in parts there were large pots and statuettes standing in alcoves.
The stairs leading up to the upper floor were black iron spiral rails with wooden steps. The upper floor had several parts and each had a separate staircase. There were only two rooms in our section and outside the room was a small fridge. We could help ourselves to any of the bottled waters or soft drinks in the fridge for no extra charge. This was great for us as we spent the day mooching around the hotel, making using of the comfortable room, the free wifi and free drinks coffee and tea in the room and having a wonderful hot shower, washing my hair and drying it. We read and relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed this luxury after all the walking we had done.
The hotel was really lovely and the food excellent but it was some way out of the city. We did a tour of the city and to be honest there is not a lot there for the tourist to see in my humble opinion so I am not convinced that I would want to be right in the city. This is one of two different hotels we stayed in Antananarivo and they were both really lovely, quite different and neither very central. I would not hesitate to recommend either of the hotels we stayed in while in this city. If you want to explore the city then it would be very easy to take a taxi and go into the city. We had a driver and guide and it took a while to get to either hotel from across the city but I would think that either hotel would be a perfect place to stay as I am not sure where you would want to be in the city as the centre was really a business district and restaurants seemed to be tucked in different places around the city.
Despite the strange location I am going to allocate five stars because it was perfect from our view point.
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Modern, chic hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar.