Pallisandre Hotel & Spa is a comfortable oasis of calm set in the bustling surrounds of Antananarivo’s lower town, where visitors can immerse themselves in Madagascar’s vibrant culture. The hotel’s spacious rooms, well-equipped spa, heated swimming pool and top-notch French and local cuisine make this a great overnight stop when flying into or out of Madagascar.
Each of Pallisandre’s rooms and apartments have terraces with views over the lush gardens and city, giving guests an excellent vantage point for everything going on in the capital. Rosewood furniture creates a feeling of elegance, while large corner baths and showers make refreshing a pleasure. The restaurant serves some of the best local and French cuisine in the area, and features a lovely terrace with panoramic views. Pallisandre is conveniently positioned close to the airport and all the best attractions in and around Antananarivo.
Situated on the chain of mountains that runs down the centre of Madagascar, Antananarivo is a bustling capital city with immense spiritual significance, colourful history and vibrant culture, along with a scattering of natural attractions.
Brimming with numerous colourful markets, the city can be broadly divided into a lower town and an upper town. Pallisandre Hotel sits along the broad lower town boulevard known as Avenue de l’independence, which is lined with shops, snack bars and hotels. A short walk away, the upper town is more upmarket, with jewellers, art shops and craft boutiques lining the streets.
The hilly terrain around the town is a patchwork of paddy fields, overlooked by traditional red clay houses and steepled churches. Remnants of history can be seen in the defence ditches that were used to try and repel the victorious French in the wars of the 19th century. White Merina tombs dot the landscape, while the imposing Rova Manjakamianda palace and 12 sacred hills are today some of the region’s most fascinating tourist sites.
Nature lovers can visit the tranquil paradise of the Tsarasaotra Park, which surrounds a lake that has been declared a Ramsar wetland site. Nine species of lemurs can be seen at Lemurs Park, 22 kilometres north of the city. Tana is also perfect for excursions into beautiful reserves such as Anjozorobe and Ambohitantely, where Madagascar’s dazzling variety of wildlife can be encountered in its natural habitat.
With ethnic patterns and rosewood furniture, the hotel’s interiors are a colourful, warming example of Madagascan decor. The apartments are the most luxurious and spacious of the accommodations, with each featuring a living room, bar area and well-appointed kitchenette. The large double bed leads to an en-suite bathroom with a mini-jacuzzi and a shower. The junior suites are slightly smaller but still very comfortable, with the bathroom holding a corner bath and shower. All of the rooms are equipped with air conditioning, safes and terraces with comfy chairs.
In the main areas, guests can enjoy cocktails and a wide selection of other beverages in the intimate L’Amphore bar, which is situated in a basement that has been converted into a stylish spot with suede and leather sofas, a large flatscreen television and large windows overlooking the gardens. Of particular interest are the walls, which have been covered with traditional paintings and funky urban art.
Back upstairs, a decadent dinner will be savoured in the gourmet La table Hautes Terres restaurant. For those looking for pampering, the spa offers a variety of treatments and massages, as well as soothing Turkish baths. To unwind further, guests can relax on the large deck around the heated swimming pool.
Guests at Pallisandre are within walking distance of the lower town and its bustling Avenue of Independence, as well as the more upmarket upper town. At the markets, you can buy everything from exotic spices and Madagascan delicacies, to traditional clothing, interesting artefacts and handcrafted goods, all while being on ground level with the nation’s culture.
For the rest of the day, you can visit one of the 12 sacred hills around the city, or stop off at the queen’s palace for a look at the magnificent royal tombs and royal baths. Head to Lemurs Park for an intimate, on-the-shoulder encounter with a lemur, or go slightly further afield to see these extraordinary creatures in the nature reserves. Back in town, the Pirate Museum and the Museum of Art and Archaeology are also well worth a stop, highlighting the interesting history of the city.
When at the hotel, guests can expect excellent service from the staff, and enjoy a relaxing, authentically Madagascan stay in the heart of the island’s thoroughly absorbing capital city.