I loved Princesse Bora Lodge. There is a great sense of space (which many of the other hotels on Ile Sainte Marie don’t have, being hemmed in by the road running alongside the coast.) This hotel however is spread out over lovely gardens with a stretch of almost private beach.
The three standards of rooms are quite different from each other so you have to decide whether you are going to splash out for the Luxury Villas which are massive suites or economize in the garden chalets (called Charme rooms).
There’s a large and very nice spa, shop, cosy sitting room with fireplace, restaurant and bar. There’s a large lap pool and a private jetty area with a swimming area from the jetty. (The tidal range is great on ile sainte marie so it’s best to swim from here.
The food was delicious both at lunch and dinner. I also had to sample the spa (in the interests of product research you understand!) This was very impressive, again one of the best in Madagascar and very well priced.
The Deluxe Villa suite was easily the smartest of accommodation on Ile Sainte Maire – a massive room with bedroom, dressing area, large open plan bathroom with massive sunken bath, double shower and enclosed loo. Outside your private deck with loungers leads down to your private garden area and your beach loungers. My only comment is that the massive bath would take an age to fill so I recommend taking their pre-prepared romantic bath option. I contented myself with the lovely double shower.
The garden chalets (Charme villas) are perfectly fine but a big difference in standard. They were probably the least impressive thing about Princesse Bora. They are simple wood and thatch chalets in the gardens close to the spa and restaurant. Some of them are close to the beach so that you would get a sea view but they cannot guarantee these rooms. The family chalets are similar in style to the garden chalets but have a mezzanine level with two beds for children, and a larger deck.
I strongly recommend – if you are going to spend the money on Princesse Bora – opt for the Deluxe Villa suites. Otherwise you may be vaguely disappointed by the garden chalets as they are not as smart as the main areas of the hotel.