As well as being a four-bedroom boutique hotel, “Maison Gallieni”:http://www.maisongallieni.com/home is the home of the Monaco Consulate. The building, dating back to 1879, is located on the site of a former granite quarry. It originally housed Madagascar’s first bank and its hill-top location ensures good views over the capital, Antananarivo.
Our ground-floor room, Fara, was a good size with wooden floor, large double bed with bedside tables and lights. Two large windows with long white cotton curtains made it light and airy. There was a desk and chair, wall mounted TV, a painting above the bed of zebu, wardrobe, tea and coffee making facilities and safe.
The large bathroom was white and bright with open powerful shower, lots of hot water and Clarins toiletries. There was a good hairdryer near the mirror and double sinks and loo but only one white towelling bathrobe. Unfortunately, there was no door between the bedroom and bathroom and the bamboo blind which could be pulled down for privacy, made going to the loo in the night tricky.
Although there was complimentary Wi-Fi, the signal wasn’t great.
There is no bar, but drinks can be ordered, and we enjoyed reasonably priced glasses of rose (9,000 Ariary Ariary – £2) and complimentary crackers on the first-floor lounge which also had a balcony overlooking the small swimming pool and gardens. There was an unlit open fire, coffee table books and interesting and tasteful object d’art including a cow in a bird cage, French writing (Desiderata) in wire hung on the wall, and large eggs from the extinct, endemic elephant bird; we were told the wife of the Monaco consular is responsible for the interior design.
Dinner must be pre-ordered and as we hadn’t, a table was booked in the nearby Pallisandre Hotel and Spa. The city is said to be unsafe, so the hotel security guard got out his baton and torch and escorted us the short distance down the hill and around the corner. We thought the state of the pavement, with its huge dips and raised uneven sections, far more dangerous than anything else we might encounter.
Breakfast was served at a communal table, but others had already eaten by the time we arrived. The long wooden table was beautifully, but simply laid with monogrammed fine china. We were offered tea or coffee and served watermelon juice, a bowl of fresh fruit (pineapple, papaya and banana), a jar of creamy, sour, plain yoghurt and a platter of crepes with a dish of three preserves. It was simple but very tasty and reasonably quick.
Originally, we were due to stay at the hotel for 2 nights which would have made the 60-minute journey from the airport through Antananarivo’s horrendous traffic worthwhile. But at the last minute, internal flight changes meant we only stayed one night and, as we didn’t arrive until 5pm and left the following morning, we didn’t have time to fully enjoy this delightful hotel.