Hotel check: Relais des Plateaux

Antananarivo, Madagascar


BACKGROUND: Relais des Plateaux opened in 2005, with décor being an alliance between ancient Malagasy traditions and modernity. Luxury and family rooms were added in 2009, then the Maloe Spa in 2016. Rooms, restaurant and the pool area were refurbished last year.

WHERE IS IT? In Ivato, five kilometres from the international airport and 15 kilometres from Antananarivo town centre. The road is variable and there are no traffic lights. A free airport shuttle service is available at scheduled times, during limited hours. Contact the property in advance to get details. All charter flight hangars are nearby.

ROOM FACILITIES: This art deco hotel has 46 neatly appointed, soundproofed, air-conditioned guestrooms, in four different categories. Connecting/adjoining rooms are subject to availability and can be requested when you book your stay. All practical amenities you would expect from a three-star hotel are here, with comfortable double bed, clean linen, plugs for using and recharging electrical equipment and a wide-screen TV. The en-suite bathroom has a separate toilet, two hand basins and a rain shower. Amenities are rudimentary, with soap, shampoo and body wash from fixed dispensing machines. Cotton towels are small and medium-sized. A bar refrigerator is provided. Everything is spotlessly clean and the rooms contain everything you need for a comfortable short-term or overnight stay. The front desk is manned 24 hours a day, with reliable personal wake-up calls.

RESTAURANTS & BARS: In a relaxed atmosphere in the Ikambo Restaurant and Bar/Lounge, a pleasant free buffet breakfast is served from 06h00 to 10h00. Lunch is á la carte. For dinner á la carte is available, with table d’hôte for half-board or full-board accommodation guests, which includes three courses with a few options per course. Food is fusion cuisine. The bread rolls are outstanding. The wine list includes several South African wines. It is pleasant to sit outside, where tables are placed around a sparkling heated swimming pool. A range of drinks is available at the bar area, where I enjoyed the excellent mounted photographs of Malagasy life, from around Madagascar.

BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: Intermittent free wi-fi is available throughout the hotel. Two large and five smaller boardrooms have contemporary audio-visual equipment. Safe, free parking is available.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The outdoor swimming pool is long enough for some good training. Loungers are found on one side of an enclosed area, with tables from the restaurant on the other three sides. Palm trees and tropical vegetation shield the tables from the pool. In the full-service Maloe Spa, treatments are offered in two private rooms. The spa is equipped with a sauna, a steam room, and Turkish bath/hammam. A fitness centre is available. Within easy walking distance is an interesting local area with a few small shops – including one for delectable pate de fois gras and one with Malagasy handcrafts – plus a bustling market. If you stay for a few nights, you may wish to visit relatively nearby sights including Faravohitra Church, Musee d’Art et d’Archeologie, Ambohitsorohitra Palace, Musee Andafivaratra, Andohalo Cathedral, Prime Minister’s Palace, Rova, Mahama Sina Stadium, Tsimbazaza Zoo, and Ambohimanga. Remember to plan for slow traffic, where you can enjoy observing the activities of local Malagasy people. For excellent day excursion activities – in reliable, clean cars with a driver or guide – contact Asisten Travel.

VERDICT: It’s proximity to the international airport, with a free airport shuttle – a major plus in the insanely slow Antananarivo traffic – makes it an ideal hotel for an overnight stay for a business trip or few nights on a holiday. The location of Relais des Plateaux ensures you can get to the airport for charter, local and international flights easily, especially if you have a middle-of-the-night or early morning flight departure. Staff are all particularly helpful and kind.


A: Lot 66 B Antanetibe Ivato
T: +261 20 22 441 18