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“A mixed experience” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Vakona Forest Lodge

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Vakona Forest Lodge
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BP 750, Andasibe, Madagascar   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Andasibe
Warwickshire, UK
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“A mixed experience”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2013

We stayed at Vakona Forest Lodge on the final leg of our honeymoon. It's an ideal base from which to explore the national parks and is situated in really nice and picturesque grounds.

Our bungalow (28) was compact but well laid out, with plenty of hot water. However, when we arrived we were told that there was a problem with the generator, so we experienced many long periods of time with no electricity. When you've paid so much money to go to Madagascar, this feels quite a major inconvenience, and we were often left sitting around waiting for the electricity to come back on after it had been off for three or four hour stints during the afternoon. The hotel really needs to rectify this or make the problem known to the tour operators so that they can advise their customers beforehand.

Although the bungalow was well equipped, it really did smell of damp, as some of the other reviews point out. You get used to the general smell quite quickly but I found that I didn't sleep very well, as the smell got in to the bedclothes.

Our other problem came about from the safe not working in our room. We had to ask for it to be fixed five times. The first four times we were ignored - the receptionist made absolutely no effort to get anyone to look at it. She admitted as such. The fifth time, we complained to the manager. He was very customer-focused and if the hotel was full of his twin brothers, it would be a great place to stay! From that moment he was very attentive to us and made sure we were ok every time he saw us, and he managed to get the safe fixed for us the very next day.

So although there were issues, they're things that could easily be sorted out. If they were rectified, this would be an amazing place to stay. Until then though, I don't feel it was great value for money, despite the manager's and one particular barman/waiter's excellent customer service.

Room Tip: Bungalow 28 was easily accessible and not one that other guests would necessarily wander past unless...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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266 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    71
    152
    32
    6
    5
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36
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
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English first
Maun, Botswana
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

I stayed two nights at Vakona Forest Lodge. The place comes close to how it’s displayed on their website. The rooms are distributed across the area so that on most of them there are no direct neighbors.
The rooms are generally in good condition, with in-room safe and heating (which was excellent given the cold and wet nature of the surrounding rainforest). The mossie net fits well. Only the bathroom shows some signs of age, nevertheless, the water in the shower is really hot. Soap and shower gel are provided and even an in-built hairdryer is available.
The food was very tasty, and the service team was fast and worked with routine even though the place was packed. Very nice was the small breakfast buffet with some cereals and yogurt.
WIFI is complimentary, but sometimes it’s very slow.
The lodge is close to the Andasibe-Mantadia park entries, and also operates a small sanctuary with various lemurs. It’s certainly worth a visit as you can experience those magnificent creatures very closely.
Overall conclusion: nice lodge, friendly staff: I would stay there again. As a tip for the management: keep some seat cushions for the chairs in the restaurant as they are really not comfortable.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Dublin
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2013

The location is brilliant for early morning visits to Andesibe or Mantadia reserves. The grounds are fantastic (probably even nicer to walk around when it's dry!). During our four day stay it rained constantly and so the pool facilities were closed. The chalets are comfortable, the staff very obliging and friendly, the wifi not great but the open fire in the main building cum restaurant is a very appealing feature. Lemur island in the grounds is very artificial but you can see lemurs up really close but I wouldn't go there again as you can see them elsewhere in the wild with ease. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2013

Lovely lodge set in lovely gardens within the rain forest. Cottages are set around the central building and lake. The rooms are comfortable, food is good and staff are friendly.
The Lemur island within the grounds is worth a visit to see lemurs close up. Grounds are full of exotic birds

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Caerphilly, Wales, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

We have stayed here 3 times over the years but would have preferred the Malagasy-owned and run Andasibe Hotel this time round. Vakona Lodge has been around a while and is looking a little worn here and there, but generally is standing up to the climate and weather pretty well. The gardens are as lovely as ever and the facilities are pretty good for visitors, if not their Malagasy guides. The lemur island in the grounds is a little artificial but a good way to see lemurs up close - really really close - and compare their size and behaviour. There are other leisure facilities and free wifi. Food is ok although not brilliant for veggies. The location is brilliant for early morning visits to Mantadia! the best nature reserve in Madagascar and you often wake up to the call of the iconic indri.
Staff are pleasant, but the porters really hassle you for tips on your last day.

Room Tip: Try to get a bungalow with a view over the site rather than the pool for privacy. Number 12 was good...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Friday Harbor, Washington
Top Contributor
285 reviews 285 reviews
157 hotel reviews
Reviews in 159 cities Reviews in 159 cities
205 helpful votes 205 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

We stayed two nights at this very popular spot. We were supposed to be here three nights but got bumped by the owners from our first night after having a confirmed reservation for 6 months - not really sure why but it was definitely our loss. My guess is a large group pushed us out - always a risk in places like this. Anyway the place is lovely. The cabanas are simple but large and very comfortable. The restaurant is nice and they do have wifi of sorts in the main lodge - not in the rooms. The grounds are lovely and this is a very relaxing spot. This is THE place to stay around Andisibe. Be careful about where your cabana is located as ome are up a steep flight of stairs and may be difficult for some to reach. However, the higher on the hillside the better the views, so that is the tradeoff.

Room Tip: Decide if you want to climb stairs for the view or be closer to the lodge with fewer stairs.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Newport, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

This is said to be the best lodge in Andisibe and we loved, with one slight reservation. The setting is fantastic. Attractive "cottages" set around a central building located above a lake, all of it surrounded by rainforest. We woke up to the (admittedly rather distant) sounds of Indri calling and exotic birds. We were in a 2-storey semi-detached cottage (double bed downstairs and twins upstairs) which was great for us (3 adults). Lovely verandah. Mosquito nets OK apart from a couple of small holes.

Swimming pool was great (we were the only ones in it) and grounds very attractive with good birds and lizards. The hotel has Lemur Island attached to it (small additional charge), which we found great fun. We were a bit apprehensive about lemurs jumping on us (eg there might be a remote rabies risk) but in the event there was no problem. The lemurs are very gentle and their hands and feet are very soft. Recommend going in morning when they are hungry. You get very close to Brown Lemurs, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs and Eastern Grey Bamboo Lemurs.

The food in the restaurant was fine and some of the time the service was OK. But on a couple of occasions we were virtually ignored despite having pre-booked a table. On the whole though we enjoyed the food (very good breakfasts) and would strongly recommend this lodge for 3 nights or so. Great wildlife viewing in the area.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vakona Forest Lodge

Address: BP 750, Andasibe, Madagascar
Location: Madagascar > Toamasina Province > Andasibe
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Andasibe
Number of rooms: 32
Also Known As:
Vakona Forest Hotel Andasibe
Vakona Forest Lodge Madagascar/Andasibe

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