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“As close to paradise...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Constance Tsarabanjina

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Constance Tsarabanjina
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   B.P. 380, Nosy Mitsio 2007, Madagascar   |  
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Constance Diving Offer
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nosy Mitsio
London
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“As close to paradise...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2010

My wife and I stayed here on one leg of our honeymoon (in July 2003, actually) and it was one of the few places that really delivered what we typically want in a holiday i.e. a place that was very challenging to get to (not accessible by charter flights) and a "resort" (for want of a more appropriate word) that is understated and does not have all the fussiness and cloying over-attentiveness that you get at many of the top-end chain hotels (not to mention obnoxious patrons). We arrived in Antananarivo via Johannesburg, overnighted there and then flew to Nosy Be, on a scheduled flight, via some random place in the north east (had various animals grazing randomly on the airfield etc). After the transfer from Nosy Be airport to the seaport, we accessed our ride to Tsarabanjina by climbing over a couple of large, rusty fishing trawlers with our luggage.

Our speedboat landed on one of the stunning beaches and we were met by the sarong-clad hotel manager and told we wouldn't be needing any shoes for the duration of our stay. The accommodation is basic relative to the top hotels (relief!). There are no electronics to be seen and the only contact with the outside world is/was by dial-up internet and radio-phone at the main reception.

From there it was sun-bathe, eat, sleep, snorkel, dive, relax in a steady cycle for a week. An honesty bar on the beach, 50 yards from our hut for sun-downers every evening. The huts open directly onto the gorgeous white sand and are about 20/30 yards to the water's edge. The water is acquamarine and crystal clear and the diving/snorkelling off the beach is fantastic. Have a pre-prandial drink at the bar before dinner and bury your feet in the glorious white sand, which is the bar floor, while sipping on that G&T. The food is basic but very good and all fresh (no pretentious presentation or nouvelle garbage). Service is exactly as you'd expect in such a laid-back environment. Just avoid the local wine! French is expensive so go South African, which is adequate in quality. My wife and I went fishing early one morning and caught a grouper and a queen mackerel which went on the dinner menu in the restaurant that same night - without fail the best fish I have ever had.

There were only about 8 other guests on the island while we were there so we felt as though we had the place to ourselves. If I had a complaint it would be that one of the executives of a French company that farms prawns on the mainland popped over twice for dinner in a helicopter, which shattered the peace briefly. Additionally they allocated one hour every morning for guests to go water-skiing or wakeboarding, which you'd normally associate with large, tacky hotels. But one hour a day is reasonable so not the end of the world.

Otherwise, this place is for those like things understated and off-the-beaten-track. It's very comfortable and it is as close to paradise as you're likely to get. It will NOT suit people who want to spot celebs, name-drop about hotels they've stayed at, and collect designer shampoo miniatures etc. Nightlife is limited to socialising with guests and staff, playing back-gammon and nursing cocktails/night-caps while listening to the waves lapping on the shore. It's bliss.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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218 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    183
    22
    5
    2
    6
See reviews for
25
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
scotland
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2010

A representative from Tsarabanjia was at Nossi Be airport to meet our flight but he dissapeared with some other passengers whose luggage arrived before ours and we had to take our own luggage to the car park to find the bus. There was a short drive to the harbour - the boat to transfer was not there. it arrived after about twenty minutes and we boarded and the had to wait a further 30 minutes for another passenger who turned out to be one f the staff. The welcome on the island was beautiful with staff out on the beach to welcome us and give us cold drinks then an explanation of the running of the resort and excursion opportunities.
The rooms are wooden chalets spaced well apart and all with a view of the beach simply furnished but clean and comfortable but it was like sleeping in a sauna no aircon and inadequate cooling fan obscured by very heavy / drapes for mosquito net everyone was complaining of the heat. The restaurant menu was quite restricted with three choices at each course for dinner and nothing for vegetarians the breakfast and lunch buffets were very good.
Most visitors were either French or Italian and activities were geared to them with an Italian guide organising most of the activities. Take your own snorkel mask as the hotel did not have enough masks for all guests and I finished up with a mask which didn't fit properly and had to abandon my snorkelling

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2010

Tsarabanjina has no phones, no disco or nightlife of any kind, and not a single TV screen or projector. There's no pool, and the island it sits on is so small that the lone tennis court has been shrunk down to Mini Me size. The rooms and restaurant aren't air conditioned, and it can get bloody hot in northern Madagascar.

I wanted to never leave.

The bungalows are simple and lovely, the food is fantastic, and the multilingual staff is attentive and friendly (I hadn't been there since 2003, yet one of my waiters said to me out of the blue "Is this your second or third time here?"). Directrice Sandrine makes sure everything runs smoothly, and divemaster Antoine will show you around the reefs with great skill and enthusiasm. The water is clear and the snorkeling is good. There are daily activities like waterskiing, but I can't vouch for them 'cause I'm always napping or reading after the dives.

Most of the guests are Italian and French, which means that meals are taken somewhat later and Americans are considered a curiosity. And there's free WiFi in one public area, so you won't feel TOO cut off.

I was worried that acquisition by the Constance chain would negatively affect Tsarabanjina, but I actually think they've improved it (for one thing, they now make a mean caipiroska at the bar).

If the attributes in the first paragraph above strike you as positives instead of negatives, you will love this resort. It's my favorite hotel in the world.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Tirano, Italy
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2009

Just 21 bungalows. Amazing beach. Some good spot for snorkeling in front of south beach. Great restaurant (meat or fish every day). Professionale diving. Nice excursion to Nosy Komba (lemurs, shopping). Daily snorkeling trips with a biologist.
Perfect weather, not wet, not hot, not windy,
What else? Heaven!!

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
England
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2009

This is barefoot luxury at it's best, a gorgeous island with superb unpretentious service. The resort is managed by a fantastic South African called Hilton, he has plenty of laid back charm but keeps things running like clockwork. The local staff are lovely and the service friendly and efficient. Our bungalow was immaculate and of a very high standard, it was also only a few steps down to a beautiful white sandy beach with excellent snorkeling. There were no problems with sand flies or mosquitos as the beaches are sprayed and thank goodness for it. As there are so few guests one might feel a little under the spotlight but the staff were as discreet as you wanted them to be. Tsarabanjina seems very popular with Italian guests and certain presentations/activities were geared towards them, however all management are multi-lingual and you are made to feel valued at all times. The ability to speak a little French is useful when speaking to local staff and it is much appreciated even if it is as dreadful as mine!

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hertford, UK
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2008

Wonderful island resort with beautiful sandy beaches, emerald sea, amazing flora and fauna and friendly welcoming staff. We spent a week here relaxing and diving after safari on Madagascar and would recommend as a chill out location. Laid back atmosphere, but some activities to break up the beach time. Beware of dive school if you're an experienced diver. You may feel like you're going back to the class room!

  • Liked — Great views directly onto beach and emerald blue sea
  • Disliked — The dive shop
  • Stayed November 2008
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Kent, UK
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2008

We ended a two week visit to Madagascar with three days on the island. It was perfect for us and two teenage boys: beautiful beaches, wonderful food and very friendly staff - almost like being at a very nice house party! Fishing, snorkelling and bird watching kept us busy when we weren't simply enjoying the sun and scenery, which is lovely. Sighting humpback whales near the boat on the return to Nosy Be was an extra we didn't expect!

  • Liked — Your own private bit of beach complete with hammock!
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Constance Tsarabanjina

Address: B.P. 380, Nosy Mitsio 2007, Madagascar
Phone Number:
Location: Madagascar > Antsiranana Province > Nosy Mitsio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nosy Mitsio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Constance Tsarabanjina 4.5*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tsarabanjina is the sort of castaway island that travellers dream of finding. With the doors again reopen at the resort following a major refurbishment, guests are discovering that we’ve introduced a few more luxuries to make it all the more comfortable while retaining the barefoot charm of the place.Off the beaten track, this unique island get-away already enjoys a loyal following with its reputation as a place to escape from it all – a place that perfectly captures the mood for a simpler take on luxury.Beach villasCareful to maintain the barefoot charm and eco-friendliness, while embracing Malagasy culture, interiors have been updated using natural materials and local art and sculpture based on marine life to create a boutique feel to the beachfront villas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina Hotel Tsarabanjina
Constance Hotel Tsarabanjina

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