Located in the heart of Antananarivo, Carlton Madagascar offers a luxurious and convenient way to experience the historical city center of beautiful Madagascar.
I loved it here. Everything just seems nice and pleasant, not just the hotel but the country in general. For starters, when I arrived, I only had to pay $27 for my visa-on-arrival. There are no other requirements apart from my passport. It was so easy! This visa is valid for 30 days. For those who wish to stay longer here, you need to pay $35 for 60 days and $45 for 90 days stay.
After a quick flight from Mozambique via Johannesburg, South Africa, I made it to the capital of Madagascar that locals also call Tana. I was surprised when I arrived because I exactly looked like the locals! In fact, the officer at the visa-on-arrival desk was initially confused as to why I was in the line for she thought I can just go straight to the Immigration guy.
Then, the hotel arranged a free airport pick-up and drop-off for me, which is very convenient. The airport is 45 minutes away by car to the hotel.
During my whole stay, everyone just thought I am a local until I start talking. Well, even if Madagascar is part of the African continent, most of the people here are of Malaysian descent. They moved here a very long time ago, but because of their Malaysian descent, they look very much like Filipinos!
They have a lot in common with Filipinos. They eat the same breakfast: rice, egg, and meat. The local sausage even tastes like the Filipino longganisa! The locals, who call themselves Malagasy, are smiling a lot, too. It is a very nice trait of the people. While I was taking a lot of photos of the locals, my taxi driver said, “We are poor but we are happy.”
A Great Opportunity to Meet the Locals
Before I speak about how nice Carlton Madagascar is, let me first mention the lovely tour that they arranged for me. I went on a full day tour around the city and also went to some off-the-beaten spots around the countryside. Carlton Madagascar helped me arrange a private car and I only had to pay $60 for a full day private tour.
My driver, Mr. Victor, is already on his 60s and barely speaks English, but we understood each other. He was very accommodating. He would walk with me whenever I decide to go and approach locals. This is the thing when I travel solo, I do meet more local people than fellow tourists. It gets more fun because they think I am a local, too.
I saw a lot of nice things and took many photos of the people’s everyday activities: women washing and drying clothes, children playing and taking baths, a brick making facility, beautiful sites like the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Antananarivo, and I even met quintuplet girls in one of the streets of Tana!
Initially, I only wanted to come here to see the lemurs and the baobab trees. But I saw and experienced more good things. Speaking of the lemurs, I went to Lemurs Park where you can see up close some rescued lemurs. You cannot touch them, of course.
If you know the Madagascar Movie, remember King Julien? That’s them! These animals can only be found in Madagascar and they are primates that look something like a cat crossed with a squirrel and a dog. Very cute!
The Rooms in Carlton Madagascar
Now about the hotel, Carlton Madagascar is a 5-star hotel in a really great location. It only takes 10 minutes to walk to the city center. Also, Anosy Lake is directly in front of it. From my room, this beautiful lake is the calming view. They also presented me with a lovely welcome fruit platter when I checked-in!
There are 171 rooms and suites. The rooms are comfortable and spacious equipped with air-conditioning, large or twin beds, safe, mini-bar, coffee and tea maker, cable TV, and luxurious marble bathroom with hair dryer and a long mirror.
Suites are more elegant with larger beds, a living room, kitchenette, luxury coffee and tea equipment, and a €25-€30 credit voucher you can use in the restaurants.
Rooms come in Regular, Superior, and Premium while options for suites include Club Suite, Residential Suite, Family Suite, Junior Suite, and Presidential Suite.
Casino – Are you feeling lucky? Play some Black Jack, Poker and Roulette in the casino.
Clubbing – Good music and drinks ensure you will have a great time dancing the night away.
Swimming Pool – Relax in turquoise waters and have a good day by the pool. There is a play area for children and swimming lessons are offered, too.Tennis – Play a match or two in the tennis court and get advice from a professional coach!
Fitness Corner – Use a full range of high-end equipment and the services of a coach to help in your fitness needs.
Shopping Area – A unique feature of Carlton Madagascar, the hotel has a shopping area that provides various shops and services like hairdressing and beauty salon, souvenir shops, banks, and travel agency.
The Food in Carlton Madagascar
There are several options for food at Carlton Madagascar. For my stay, my meals were included with my accommodation so I was able to have meals in all of them and I enjoyed everything! I had a nice seafood lunch when I got there and had an equally delicious European dinner. I also liked their breakfast buffet. The hotel staff is particularly helpful!
The first restaurant is Charly Restaurant overlooking the pool. It offers a varied menu and uses local products in all its offerings. The food is really good!
Next is Bistrot Gourmet Catering and Bar. It is a fun place to visit at any time of day. Have drinks, pastry, and other snacks to fuel your busy day. A wide choice of cocktails is available, too!
Finally, there is The Oasis by the pool where you can get grilled food, gourmet salads, and pizzas. Also, for sweet lovers, visit l’Eclair for tasty treats and other creations!
Area Guide in and around Antananarivo
Immaculate Conception Cathedral – With a Gothic design, this church is the seat of the Archdiocese of Antananarivo. It was built in 1890.
Lemur’s Park – A small botanical garden located in the city center, this park features nine lemur species and some reptiles. The lemurs are so adorable!
Lake Anosy – This is an artificial lake within Antananarivo. It is just beside Carlton Madagascar!
Andafiavaratra Palace – Located on the highest hilltop of Antananarivo, this museum was the home of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony in the late 19th century.
Avenue of the Baobabs – Located in Menabe, this is a dirt road lined with baobab trees. It forms a striking landscape with about 50 trees that are up to 80 years old! I wanted to see these baobab trees but it is too far! You have to fly as it is 750 km from Tana!
Nosy Iranja – Madagascar has 5000 km of coastline so you will not run out of beautiful beaches to visit. Nosy Iranja deserves special mention not only because it is picture-perfect but also because it becomes one island beach during low tide and two at high tide!
Vohimana Forest – Located east of Antananarivo, this nature reserve features 20 km of walking trails rich with lemurs, birds, and chameleons. It has picnic areas, a botanical garden, and a distillery that makes essential oils for perfumes like Chanel!
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Carlton Madagascar
1. What are the room rates at Carlton Madagascar?
2. What are the check-in and check-out times?
Check-in starts at 3 PM and check-out is noon.
3. Are children allowed to stay free in the rooms?
Yes. Children stay free if sharing existing beds.
4. Are pets allowed?
Yes. Small pets are allowed.
5. Is there Wi-Fi?
6. Where is the nearest ATM?
There is an ATM at the hotel as well as currency exchange.
7. Are child services available?
Yes, babysitting service is offered by Carlton Madagascar at an additional charge.
8. What languages are spoken in the hotel?
French and English.
9. What are other attractions nearby?
Nearby attractions include Andafiavaratra Palace, Tsimbazaza Zoo, The Rova of Antananarivo, Tana Water Front, Tsarasaotra Park, and Royal Hill of Ambohimanga.
10. What is the closest airport?
The Ivato Airport is 13 km away.
Note: I stayed as a guest in Carlton Madagascar. However, all opinions are based on my personal experience.
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