Princesse Bora Lodge
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm enquiring about: Princesse Bora Lodge
I'm enquiring about: Princesse Bora Lodge

Princesse Bora Lodge

Ile Ste Marie, Madagascar

Princesse Bora Lodge is a superb hotel on the west coast of Ile Ste Marie. Twenty lovely, self-contained villas built of natural materials are set amidst a grove of coconut palms, beside the long white beach at the edge of the lagoon. Owned and run by Francois-Xavier Mayer, whose family has lived on the island since the 1790s, you will find a dedicated and professional team - with good English - ready to help you make the most of your stay.

Accommodation

All the Comfort and Luxury villas have the hallmark suspended double bed, a living area, private facilities with a separate wc and a private, sea-facing verandah. Comfort villas can accommodate two people. They are equipped with a fan and there is a hammock on the verandah. The six 55m2 octagonal luxury villas offer double basins, air-conditioning and a mezzanine room with twin beds.

The five executive beach villas are 95m2 and glass-fronted, to take full advantage of the tropical sunsets and the Indian Ocean panorama, taking two adults with a child under the age of 12 years. The wide terrace is provides another super vantage point. Beach villas are air-conditioned and  can accommodate up to three people in one double and one single bed for child under 12 years. Facilities include a bath-tub.

Food

The restaurant is known as the best on the island. Fresh seafood and fish is prominent on the menu. French, Creole and Malagasy influences are reflected in the cuisine. The lodge also has a pizza oven for an alternative to lunch. The bar, with its oak barrels of flavoured rums, is an ideal spot from which to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

Facilities

The lodge has a decked infinity pool and a wooden pontoon on the lagoon. Its watersports centre provides snorkelling equipment, pirogues and canoes. It also has boats for water-skiing and paragliding. Ile Ste Marie is a new and excellent surfing destination. Bicycle for exploring the island are available free of charge, or you can hire a motorbike, quads or a 4WD with driver. The nearby PADI dive centre offers courses and a full dive programme, including wreck and night dives. Fishermen will find the boats, equipment and fishing guides for some really fine fishing including: tuna, bonito, grey mullet, captains, sea-bream, and king mackerel.

Activities

Princesse Bora Lodge offers a full programme of island excursions. You can visit the only known pirates’ cemetery, the oldest church in Madgascar, the market in Ambodifotatra, the mangroves or the forest of Ampanihy. The cross-island walk takes you through pristine forests and empty beaches - and the hotel will pick you up. Take a pirogue to offshore Ile aux Nattes, with its brilliant, soft, white sand; or a guided walk, to discover the orchids, clove and cashew trees and growing cinnamon bark.

Whale watching

The Princesse Bora is affiliated to CetaMada, the association for research, observation and protection of marine mammals; in fact, it has a base at the lodge during the season. No one has failed to be impressed by owner Francois-Xavier Mayer's commitment to conservation or by the quality of the whale-watching programme. A specialist ecoguide briefs whale-watchers before and during the boat trip, which follows the code of good conduct for approaching these spectacular creatures. Once silently anchored within 100m of a group of whales, sit back and watch – or participate in the collection of data. You can also join the debriefing conference at the end of the day.
Note that whales are wild aimals so sightings can never be guaranteed.

Community

Princesse Bora Lodge was built using local labour. Upon completion, everyone who had worked on the lodge was offered the opportunity of training for employment at the lodge.

Accommodation Reviews

'Dear Helen

Overall we had a great trip, absolutely memorable.

Our guide was called Vola (?) and she looked after us very well In Andasibe and Mantadia.  There with a local guide, we saw 6 species of Lemur; Indri, Common Brown, Sifuka, Red bellied Black & White, Bamboo and Easter Woolly.  Having IS binoculars helped a great deal and with a new camera we got some good photos of Lemurs 30m or 40m above us.  In fact we could see things the guide could not.  The night walks were less successful, but interesting all the same.  Orchids & birds were a tad disappointing due to the season.  The Orchid Park was devoid of any blossoms on any of its many orchids due to the season.  It must be wonderful when they bloom.

The Andaside Hotel was comfortable and the service good.  We experimented with Malagasy food with varying success.  Zebu steak was good; a chicken curry mostly bone!  Rice with every meal!  Vola took us through the village to see how the locals live and Di bought some small locally made Indri lemurs. 

The road transfers were most interesting seeing the paddy fields and brick making and the washing.  More alarming were the mountainsides cleared and planted with Eucalyptus for charcoal production – but that seems to be the main fuel.  We came across a 100 or so people singing and dancing with a body taking it for re-wrapping; later we saw a second just as we were leaving Ste Marie.    We also saw the freight train; pity it does not carry passengers.

The transfer to Ste Marie began slightly bizarrely.  It was a very early take-off, but we had been directed to a back entrance to the airport, where we sat in the car for almost an hour as the aircrew gradually arrived.  Eventually we were admitted and processing the 10 or so passengers was pretty quick. 

The arrival in Ste Marie is memorable as is the transfer to the Princess Bora in a wagon drawn by two Zebu.  We very much enjoyed our stay at the hotel which was outstanding in a number of ways, although we do have one or two adverse comments which I will come to later.  What was excellent was the staff service who were all extremely friendly and helpful.   Despite the restaurant having burnt down a few months ago, the food was wonderful.   For the evening meals, there was a choice of two for each of the three courses.  Often Di had one choice and I took the other as the quality and presentation was so good.  Breakfast was an extensive buffet with plenty of choice of fruit and pastries and a chef who was pleased to cook you eggs any  style.  We always ate breakfast outside the restaurant tent with our binoculars.  On many occasions we were able to see whales as we ate breakfast!  Not many hotels can offer that!

We liked our villa; it is wonderful to go to sleep with the sound of the waves on the beach.  You might note that they do provide separate beach towels, so we brought our own towels back unused.  Also while there was one ordinary bike available free (another under repair), but there is a charge for a mountain bike – 30,000 Ar. for a half day and 40,000 Ar. for a full day.  We hired for a morning to cycle to Ambodifotatra to get more of a feel for the local life.  We had previously been into the town by Tuc-Tuc, but they travel at such a speed you cannot see much.  We walked to the Pirates Cemetery which was most interesting.  The sign says you can go without a guide, but we were compelled to take one and he was thoroughly worth the money.

After a lecture one evening by a young American on whale research programme, we went out the next day and had plenty of sightings including mothers and their calves.  Again lots of photos and videos.  We then got absolutely soaked in a torrential downpour, but that’s life.... 

The swimming and snorkelling are rather oversold.  While it is a major diving centre, the sea between the beach and the reef is only about 3 feet deep, is pretty polluted with a lot of weed and sea urchins and almost no fish.  We did borrow snorkelling equipment (good quality) on two occasions.  Locally we were told that you had to swim out through the gap in the reef used by the boats, about a 100m.  I did this, but felt uncomfortable that with no safety boat and a long swim back.  Di did not attempt it.  We were advised to try on the Ile aux Nattes and at the southern end of Ste Marie near the crossing.  However, we found the same.  Despite looking ideal, it is not a swimming or snorkelling beach.... The pontoon has a swimming area, but that is also not very deep.  If the pontoon had reached beyond the reef, it would be much easier to snorkel.  Another thing for your information, they offer Wi-Fi in the library/lounge but it is pretty slow and intermittent.  They also have it in the reception area where it is much faster, so we usually went there before breakfast each day.

As you know, our return flight time was changed and we are very grateful that it was re-arranged that we stayed a further day at Princess Bora rather than waste two days in Tana.  The flight in the Bora 4 seater was also memorable as we flew quite low.

On the final day, Lionel took us to the Craft Market, which was rather overwhelming – the relentless sales pressure is not for the faint hearted, but there is a fantastic range of souvenirs.  We had in fact bought most things we wanted from roadside craftsmen and vendors In Ste Marie.  After lunch we had a walk round the high town and visited the Queen’s Palace, where again we had an extremely good guide, who was an Anglophile.  He showed us the George III cannons and the positive influence Britain had from Mauritius before the French invaded.  Rugby is their second national game and his heroes were Jonny Wilkinson and Lawrence Dellaglio; a bizarre conversation to have in Madagascar.

Many thanks for helping us have a memorable and enjoyable trip; we saw plenty of lemurs and whales.   We had excellent guides, but we also saw how local people live e.g. when we visited Andasibe village and when we walked across the middle of the Ile aux Nattes; how despite their poverty (by our standards) there are plenty of smiles around and many are colourfully dressed.

Best wishes

John

PS I am still going through photos; if I find any good ones I will copy them to you.'

Mr and Mrs Mathisen
September 13, 2017

'Hello Derek,

Thanks for the welcome home and thanks so much for organizing our amazing trip! The trip surpassed anything we thought it would be! It was definitely the trip of a lifetime. 

Quite an eyeopener into the life of these poor people. They have so little yet they work so hard and keep smiling.....such a contrast to we privileged North Americans who have so much, take so much for granted and often to not appreciate what we have nor each other. As I tackle my laundry from the trip, I will never again complain about having to do numerous loads in my washing machine!

We were incredibly well taken care of, though I often felt guilty being in such beautiful accommodations with incredible meals. The only thing that eased my guilt was knowing that our tourism creates many jobs to help the people. All hotels were great. Would have liked to have stayed longer than 10 hours at Royal Palissandre (sort of a tease of a visit because we arrived and left in the dark yet could hear the ocean and saw how beautiful the place was), however, I don't think we would have wanted any less time anywhere else. Probably needed another day or two!

Soleil des Tsingy was probably the best, though Princess Bora was fantastic and probably would have been the best had the unfortunate incident of their restaurant not happened. They were working very quickly on the temporary and original restaurant, so let your clients know they don't need to worry. We are very glad that we didn't choose to go to a different hotel. We had a beautiful villa right on the beach.

Le Camp Amoureux was a unique experience, with friendly staff, clean accommodations and good food. Relais des Plateaux was also very good - two basic rooms (the night we arrived and as our day room) and one beautiful spacious room on our longer stay. 

Our guides were wonderful. We had Too (not correct spelling of his name but can't remember how it's spelt) for the first week, Michael at Andasibe, as well as Andry in Tana. They were all great. 

Our drivers Justin and Marc were also amazing and we felt totally safe with them behind the wheel. I certainly wouldn't want to drive there!

Whale-watching in Isle Saint Marie was probably Mike's highlight - we went three times on the boat as well as spotting them from the beach. Whale-watching probably ties with finding lemurs for me. The whole experience (even that road to get to Soleil des Tsingy with its ferries!) was fantastic!

No complaints about anything...everything was amazing! 

Thanks so much!

Janet and Mike'

 

 

 

 

Mr and Mrs Stooke
July 20, 2017

'The Royal Palissandre Hotel was lovely.

Sahatandra River Hotel at Andasibe: pool was nice. Staff were friendly. Room comfortable. Dinners were nice.

Princesse Bora Lodge: excellent. So much to do, in a lovely place.

Craig was very flexible in tailoring the holiday to suit our needs. The rest of the Raibow Tours team was very friendly and helpful when we called'

Mr Wilson and Ms Elliott
November 18, 2016

'Thanks for arranging such a wonderful holiday. Lovely, friendly staff at Andasibe Hotel. Excellent in all respects. Princesse Bora Lodge is excellent in all respects. Very good lodge with excellent staff'.

Ms Holland and Ms Boers
October 10, 2016

'We had a fantastic honeymoon. All the locals were so friendly. Wanting to do more of Madagascar now!. Our guide Rova was brilliant, had great knowledge of the area, answered every question and was very helpful. Would recommend him to anyone!

Relais des Plateaux was jusa used as a place lay down our heads and get a good nigts' sleep.

Princesse Bora Lodge: we had a fantastic stay and made good use of the facilities i.e kayaking, snorkelling, bicycles. The staff are so brilliant and accommodating; would recommend to anyone.

 

Mr & Mrs Hewitt
September 30, 2016

'Well organised tour and couldn't fault the care we were given by our guides and representatives in a very poor country in its infancy of tourism.

Combava Hotel: Good. Fine for overnight stops and very nice to have use of a room before late evening transfer to airport.

Andasibe Hotel: Good. Unprepared for how cold Andasibe-Mantadia National Park was in the evenings. Otherwise absolutely fine.  

Princesse Bora Lodge: excellent. Couldn't fault the hotel - wonderful'.

 

Mr and Mrs Reekie
September 20, 2016

'Njiva was a fantastic guide - thoroughly recommend him. Driver, Dodo, was also very good. Overall holiday satisfaction (Classic Madagascar overland: the RN7 route): excellent. 

Vakona Forest Lodge is a lovely place but they wanted us to leave the bar/seating area by around 9pm. 

Setam Lodge: good in all respects. Location excellent.

La Varangue de Betsileo: Service and comfort: excellent. Location, meals and facilities all good. 

Relais la Reine d'Isalo: excellent.

Moringa Hotel: good in all respects; excellent meals.

Princesse Bora Lodge: Comfort, meals and facilities good; service and location excellent.'

 

Ms Godfrey and Mr Naylor
January 25, 2016

'Thank you for an excellent holiday. Fiona Herring has been very helpful all the way through - thank you Fiona! We would certainly recommend Rainbow Tours to other people thinking of a holiday in Madagascar'

Mr and Mrs Monckford
October 30, 2015

' Dear Derek

We wanted to thank you very much for all your help with our honeymoon (in July 2015) to Madagascar. We had the most amazing time in a country we'd wanted to visit for many years and it didn't disappoint! The itinerary you arranged for us was fantastic, and we loved the lemurs at Andasibe/Mantadia and the whales in Ile Sainte Marie and the sea turtles at Eden Lodge. Our highlight was the magical tsingy at Ankarana. This completely alien but incredible landscape will live in our memories for years to come. However, the asspect we most appreciated was the extra mile you went to to keep rearranging and re-planning and reassuring each time Air Madagascar changed our plans. We really appreciated all your effort and phone calls - it ended up seamless (from our end!) and some of the 'extras', particularly Anjozorobe, were highlights of the whole trip. We can't wait to go back to Madagascar! '

Mr and Mrs Warland
October 12, 2015


'We were very impressed that Rainbow Tours ensureed we had tickets on a private charter from Ile Sainte Marie when the Air Madagascar flight looked like it was going to be cancelled. This could have ruined the end of our holiday but it just goes to prove that Rainbow Tours are exceptional at what they do. We'd happily travel with Rainbow Tours in the future'

Ms Clements & Mr Stephenson
September 25, 2015

We thought you would enjoy these two photos which hopefully express how much fun we had in Ambodiforaha, blowing soap bubbles with the children, and touring Sainte Marie!

Ambodiforaha

Sainte Marie

Nicole Fraser and family
March 16, 2015

A small fridge in the room would have been useful. Otherwise could not fault it. Superb

J Downing
November 11, 2013

The only place we ever would go back too. And we never go back! Wonderful

N Hudson
September 5, 2013

Best chef, should be regarded as Michelin star restaurant, what a surprise!!

S Lindley
August 19, 2013

Fantastic place and people. Very lucky with weather. Recommend upgrade to executive villa, they are beautiful

M Schunke
August 9, 2013

Your knowledge of Madagascar was fantastic and the local guides were all fantastic, very friendly and knowledgeable especially Claudia. Princess Bora is a fantastic Hotel and would recommend to anyone.

Hamilton
November 2, 2011

A wonderful experience we would recommend to others. The Princess Bora is close to perfection! Superb staff & food, the resort and spa were beautifully done. 

Everitt
September 9, 2011

Sainte Marie was bliss, and very exciting for the whale watching (it's also worth noting that we went twice and Princesse Bora gave us an automatic discount for the second round).

: N Hamshaw
August 16, 2011

Fantastic service, nothing was too much trouble. It was good not to have to pay for extras. Always well cleaned everywhere. The lodge is in an excellent location and facilities and the meals were good.

R & H Craig
October 30, 2010

The meals and facilities were top class. Excellent beach resort. Hotel trips are a little expensive but the free snorkeling and cycling were very good. 

C Hopperton
October 10, 2010

We loved the hotel’s investment in whale research and conservation. Staff lovely… I would particularly like to mention how fantastic the local agents were in everyway.

C Hiu
September 30, 2010

Wow! All excellent here. Loved every minute and the whale watching trip was exhilarating!

S & C James
September 29, 2010

Full marks. Very relaxing way to complete the trip. Great whale watching.

Author: M Wilkins
September 29, 2010

Everything was excellent at Princesse Bora Lodge. A corner of paradise!

A Spain
July 30, 2010

Image Gallery

Accommodation Map

Holiday ideas Princesse Bora Lodge is featured in

Tsingy, Baobabs, Wildlife and Whales
From £4995
This wonderful tailor-made individual tour includes a visit to one of Madagascar's most spectacular national parks, Tsingy de Bemaraha, with the iconic Allee des Baobabs and Kirindy Forest en route. You will also explore the isand's number 1 'must see' rainforest...
Madagascar Reef & Rainforest
From £3650
An easy two week holiday in Madagascar combining stunning wildlife-rich rainforests and a lovely hotel on a reef-protected beach.
Calling from one of the countries below?
If so use the toll-free number listed.
USA611 3001 4894
Australia184 4332 5169
New Zealand184 4332 5137