Pallisandre Cote Ouest

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Date of travel

September, 2018

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Culture / Sightseeing

After a few exhausting days exploring western Madagascar, we spent two nights at the “Pallisandre Cote Ouest”: The hotel, in the coastal town of Morandava, was the last hotel on the Nosy Kely Peninsular with the Mozambique Channel on the left side and the Kabatomena Stream on the other. Our guidebook described it as ‘the most upmarket accommodation in town by far’.

Following a long drive, we walked up an impressively grand thatched walkway and were welcomed with much needed refreshing cold flannels and chilled mint tea, before being shown to bungalow 128, one of 20. We were pleased to find it was beachfront and the one nearest to reception. The large double bed, complete with huge mosquito net, was a little low and there was only one lumpy pillow each. The room was well equipped with all the usuals: TV with BBC World, hairdryer, mini bar with soft drinks and beers, AC and safe at a decent height. The downside was poor lighting in the bedroom: despite bedside lights and two wall lights, we needed to wear head torches to get dressed in the evening.

The bathroom, with slatted wooden floor was a splendid affair, although you had to be careful not to drop small items down the gaps. There was an open shower and although we’d been told it would take 5 minutes to run hot water, it was much quicker. There was a huge stone sink on top of a concrete work of art and the mirror above it was in the shape of a sail so the whole thing resembled like a boat. There was a rope as the loo roll holder, wardrobe rack and towel rail.

A wooden deck with directors’ chairs and a table, overlooked the beach. Unfortunately, the sea was a long way, in fact a very long way over scrub land and so we investigated the pool. Although it was a good size, a second pool was being constructed between it and the sea and as well as being noisy, there was a noxious smell of solvent. Our guide told us that their company had not being notified of the works, but the manager had promised to sort things out and work was stopped the following day

The pool was the focal point and the bar, restaurant, and shop were all centred around it. We found all the staff were professional but very friendly and it was some of the best service we received whilst staying in the country.

The hotel was very quiet: maybe others had learned about the building works. So instead of the buffet we’d anticipated and read about, dinner was chosen from a chalkboard menu and proved to be excellent. One night we had shredded chicken in a sweet and sour sauce followed by a choice of prawns with rice or pork with a honey sauce with pistachio mousse for pudding. Breakfast was a simple buffet with tinned fruit, fresh small bananas, fruit yoghurt, muesli, baobab juice, cheese and ham, salad and pastries and eggs to order.

There is no doubt the hotel had some good points, but there were also major issues. If it was the most upmarket place, I’d hate to see the other accommodation.

Helen Jackson

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