Betsileo Country Lodge

1032 Reviews

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Date of travel

September, 2018

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Culture / Sightseeing

As with the “Couleur Cafe”:, our one-night stay at the “Betsileo Country Lodge”: was simply to break our journey on the tourist road, the Route Nationale (RN7), down central Madagascar. The small hotel was built on a slight hill and had magnificent views of the surrounding hills and countryside.

Having arrived mid-afternoon, we booked dinner from what was the most wide-ranging, vegetarian-friendly menu we’d experienced on the trip. On the way to our room, we noticed that, although there were lots of park-style benches, there were only two loungers by the small plunge pool, so we left our bags and quickly changed. The first step into the pool was ridiculously steep and I needed a steadying hand to get safely in and out. However, the water was refreshing particularly in the mid-afternoon heat, and we spent a peaceful hour sunbathing until a Dutch group arrived and took over the place.

Back in our semi-detached bungalow, number 6, we checked out the room. It was simple, but roomy, with lots of space for suitcases to be left open, hanging space and a desk and chair. There was a large double bed and a brick wall behind it with interesting art painted directly on to the cream walls. Wooden beams, with stuffed gecko hanging down, and a wooden ceiling painted in pale green gave the impression of a former hay loft. The floor was wooden and there were good plug points. However, there were no fripperies e.g. bottled water, hairdryer, safe, and the only toiletry was a bar of soap.

The bathroom was a three-stage affair with open plan wash basin (a curtain could be drawn for privacy), a separate loo and an enclosed shower. We found the water pressure was so low, we didn’t bother with showers, having just been in the swimming pool. The manager told us at dinner that this was now fixed, but by then it was too late.

Whilst complimentary Wi-Fi was available in the main areas, the password included the word ‘lucky’ as in, you’re lucky if you get access. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. The generator was only switched on between 5.30pm and 10pm, so we had to manage the charging of electrical items, which as the years pass, appear to grow.

Although we weren’t eating until 8pm, on arriving at the bar, we found it had been commandeered by the Dutch so went to sit at our table for two. When they arrived for their 7.30pm dinner, we were once again surrounded and so our guide had a table laid in the now vacated bar. We started with an excellent tomato and cheese salad with French bread to mop up the balsamic dressing, before we moved on to vegetarian lasagne and coconut chicken with rice and a medley of vegetables. We finished by sharing pineapple crumble and ice cream.

At breakfast we found our table set with small jar of chopped fresh fruit, a basket of breads, guava jam, honey and cheese triangles: we’d declined eggs when asked the previous night.

When paying our drinks bill, we found they’d been very reasonably priced with two G&T, two beer and a large bottle of sparkling water coming to 31,000 Ariary Ariary £4.47. In addition, we paid in Euro and got the best exchange rate of our trip.

This is a great place for a one-night stay if you’re travelling on the RN7, but it’s not really geared up for longer stays.

Helen Jackson

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