When visiting Antananarivo McGee stays at the Hotel Colbert.
At least it seemed like a routine by the time I’d checked in for a single night for the fourth time. And a very pleasant routine at that. The rooms were fine, the restaurants were fine, the ambiance was fine, the staff were fine and the location is perfect. I’m told there is an older and a newer wing. I stayed in the newer wing each time and it might be a good idea to request that.
Tripadvisor has this little gem …
When I arrived in my room I felt it was dusty and dark. I had also requested that they do not have any feathers in the room as I am highly allergic. Unfortunately they could not change the pillows as they only had pillows with feathers so they suggested I move to the La Varangue down the road which was a far more acceptable Hotel.
… just a snippet of an extended whinge, I assume by the owner of La Varangue. If not the whinger will have found Madagascar almost beyond endurance.
Next door is the Ambohitsorohitra palace, built by the French, it now serves as a presidential office.
This is illuminated at night, suggesting some encouragement to look at it, but if you look at it for long during the day you are quickly moved on by a man with a machine pistol.
Hotel Colbert is in the middle town which is the commercial centre. From the terrace you look up to the high town which is where the nobility had their palaces, the view is dominated by the Queen’s Palace, the Manjakamiadina, currently under repair.
Queen Ranavalona l ruled from 1828 to 1861, a time when missionaries from London were introducing new and dangerous ideas and European powers were itching to take yet another colony. She did a pretty good job of absorbing what was useful whilst fending off the colonisers and enforcing the traditional Malagasy values. An edict issued in 1835 made life rather difficult for the missionaries and by twelve months later they had all left town. The cliffs below the palace came in rather handy for an early form of bungee jumping. Those who possessed a Bible, worshiped in congregation or continued to profess adherence to Christianity might find themselves dangling up there. Those who recanted the new fangled faith would be hauled in, those who refused would have the ropes cut.
Not far from the front door are the steps to the lower town.
I enjoyed the Colbert, but I am easily pleased, I’ll even put up with feathers in my pillows. Bearing that in mind let me recommend a couple of restaurants, not that there is anything wrong with the food at the Colbert.
Villa Vanille … if the French left anything useful it was the food, absolutely fabulous, good service a bonus and the trio of musicians were very very good.
La Varangue, cordon bleu in the midst of the weirdest collection of antiques, rated number one in Antananarivo and it wouldn’t surprise me if it deserved it.