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All reviews zebu cart executive villa wine cellar whale watching our honeymoon sainte marie coco bay reception area pizza food and wine luxury bungalows mezzanine floor two single beds humpback whales air madagascar tuk tuk beautiful hotel
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Reviewed 3 October 2015 via mobile

It's is the best hotel in the islands and its has many reasons for that!
We spent a week in this fabulous hotel. The service is personal, professional, shortly to describe perfect!
Every evening the staff setting your bed the mosqirue net, even without asking! So thinking full!
The hotel have the best scuba diving, the food is very high leauge well designed and tasty, the bred is fresh and high quality.
They even make the soaps, oil, shampoo at the hotel lab (!)
The SPA is WOW, world wide level and we found that they have company for SPA advising and build to many hotels around the world!!!
They offer for the guests free shnorkling, kayaks and bikes.
And many more in this hotel! Very recomanded if you thinking about high class hotel in Madagascar or Sainte marie particularly.

Stayed: October 2015, travelled with friends
Thank shalomya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
claireaucoco, Responsable commercial at Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2015

Dear guest, thank you for your nice comment. There is so much to do in Sainte Marie island between the sea and the land with forest, mangrove, wildlife and little villages ... We hope to see you again at Princesse Bora Lodge and Spa for new experiences !

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Reviewed 3 October 2015

On our trip this September to Madagascar, we were fortunate enough to stay at the Princesse Bora Lodge and Spa on Isle St. Marie. The hotel, cottages, and grounds are absolutely beautiful, and right on the water. The hotel is owned by a French couple that met us at the airport and escorted us to the hotel. That service was typical of the entire staff, very courteous and helpful. The food at the hotel restaurant was the best we had during our entire two-week trip in Madagascar. Thank you for a wonderful stay!

Room Tip: There are a couple of very large cottages right on the beach that were spectacular. However, all of the cottages were great.
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank LucydeBoxer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
claireaucoco, Responsable commercial at Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2015

Thank you for your nice review. We are glad when our guests enjoy your stay has you did. Sainte Marie Island is a little secret paradise that has to be visited once in life ! Best regards.

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Reviewed 2 October 2015 via mobile

I was lucky enough to stay in one of the villas on the beach...this must be how the rich & famous vacation!
I stayed 3 nights in September and it was delightful. The staff was attentive and the grounds were impeccable. The owner is interesting and will regale you with his tales and family history. Adding to the charm are the two puppies and one cat that really own the resort. My only complaint---no hammock at coco bay.
One note, pass.on the Pirate Cemetary excursion and go instead to the Zoo Endemic.

Stayed: October 2015, travelled solo
Thank Caf80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
claireaucoco, Responsable commercial at Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2015

Dear traveler, we are glad to see you enjoy your stay. 3 nights is too short to visit all Sainte Marie island has to offer. Thank you for your encouragements.

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Reviewed 2 October 2015

We stayed in a spacious executive villa. Features included a stone bath sunk in to the floor, huge four poster bed, and a veranda with private garden leading on to the beach about 10 yards in front. From our villa, we could stroll along the beach or through the beautiful tropical garden to the bar, infinity pool, restaurant, pontoon (which you can sunbathe/have a drink on).

Food here is generally excellent. I was as big as a whale when I left. Get to breakfast early to enjoy the freshly baked pastries warm from the oven and the tropical breezes. Not sure if there is a B&B rate but we would recommend half board. Dinners (food and service) were great with desserts a particular strong point

So a key reason for our visit was to see humpback whales that migrate to this area to have their young. We were not disappointed. We spotted a couple of humpbacks rolling past the lodge a little way off shore and several splashing around in the distance. However, if you are staying here you probably want a closer encounter.

There are close connections between the hotel and a whale conservation organisation CetaMada. Whale trips are well organised and leave from the hotel. Although whale sightings are not guaranteed we did three trips and had good whale experiences on all of them (time of year is key - we stayed in July). Obviously, confirm dates of whale season if it's whales you want to see). Trips are c. £25 pp for about 3-4 hrs. If you get seasick the whale Center will give you a seasickness pill but we found these made us drowsy later in the day. You also get SOAKED through on the boat. Any photographic equipment has to be in a proper waterproof kit bag (you can borrow). Photographing whales is not easy unless you are a pro. Even many of those with high-end SLRs struggled. We found video was the easiest way to capture them and allows you to enjoy the experience more too (you can look at the subject more). If you have a GoPro camera - perfect.

As mentioned, whales were the big draw for us but ISM is a beautiful island and when you are not indulging in the lodge spa it's worth a little exploring. We were told by other guests that Madagascans regard it as the best place in Madagascar to go.

Trips/scooter hire are arranged by the hotel. They are a touch pricey (I.e. you can pick up a scooter locally for less) but everything is well organised, convenient and with good guides where applicable. We did a scooter trip to to Ambodifototra and had a superb lunch at Cafe a Idyll. There is a cash point and bureau de change in Ambodifototra.

We also did a trip to Illes aux Nattes, an island tropical paradise off the foot of ISM, a kilometre away from the lodge. Princess Bora organise a trip but we walked and got one of the pirogues to cross the narrow channel (cost about £3 pp at time of writing) we then circumnavigated the island on foot along the coastline mostly on glorious deserted beaches but some points did require serious wading and clambering on slippery rocks

We also did a quad tour across ISM to the mangroves at Ampanihy (sp?) After lunch the final leg required a leaky pirogue ride. Reassuringly, we were advised the sharks no longer came here to have their young. This beach is more rugged than the west with a fair bit of flotsam and jetsam washed up by the open sea. The tour then takes you to the west coast and stops at the stunning Coco Bay on the way back to The Lodge.

In between the trips we had some glorious relaxation time on the beach, by the pool, in the spa, in the lounge, with each day rounded off by fantastic evening meals accompanied by delicious wine (there is a wine cellar you can select from).

A general point is that we were very lucky with our transport getting to The Lodge. Our flight time to ISM moved around a bit in the 24 hours before departure but ultimately was only delayed by a couple of hours. Princess Bora can be seen clearly from the plane as you land and is a 5 minute transfer by zebu cart/tuk tuk from the airport (which is currently being refurbished). However several people we spoke to had harder journeys due to an airline strike and rough seas which meant a difficult boat crossing. There was an upside to the strike (for us but not the hoteliers) - the hotel and Island were very quiet/beaches deserted etc.

Constructive comments

-Wifi is available in the Hotel Lounge and Reception areas but signal/speed wasn't the best (we tried several different devices)
-We didn't notice any room service - tea making facilities in room would be nice
-There is a honeymoon package with some nice treats which was included in our booking but we felt like we had to push a little bit to get them when there
-Always have a waterproof in your backpack

Overall we would definitely recommend Princess Bora. There are too many bits to mention but we had a brilliant week as part of our honeymoon with the the perfect blend of relaxation and activities, in a beautiful location with some awesome wildlife. When you consider this is a developing country it makes this place an even greater achievement. Expect some challenges getting to ISM (leave time for delays) but once you are here you won't want to leave. : )

  • Stayed: July 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Todders1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
claireaucoco, Responsable commercial at Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2015

Dear guest, thank you for your very detailed comment. I'm sure it will be very useful to other travelers to know what to do and what to expect in Sainte Marie Island. All the team is delighted to ear that you had a great holidays at Princesse Bora Lodge and we hope that you'll come back some day.

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Reviewed 23 September 2015

Princess Bora is one of the best run lodges we have ever stayed at, it is a well oiled machine. The attention to detail was great, the owners, two brothers, were fantastic and went out of their way to arrange for my partner to go kite surfing on the east coast of the island. The food was delicious and innovative we never had the same meal twice in the 7 days we were at the lodge. The staff were friendly and helpful. The quad bike tour of the island which the lodge arrange was a highlight for us. The whale watching was also well organized. We were very lucky we had no flight issues with Air Mad which I think did make all the difference, after having to postpone our trip for 2 months because of the Air Mad strikes. It was well worth the wait. As a tropical holiday destination this island and Lodge rank up there with the best. We had a wonderful 7 days and would like to thank Fefu, Patrice and the rest of the staff at Princess Bora

Room Tip: Bungalows with a seaview
  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank happitraveller212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
claireaucoco, Director of Sales at Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2015

Dear guest, thank you very much for your nice comment. All the team is very glad to see that you enjoy so much your stay with us. We hope that you will be able to come back again, South Africa is not very far from Princesse Bora.

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