Don’t Forget the Proprietor

The Madagascar travel scene is fascinating because hotels are rarely owned by large corporations. Due to the country’s political and economic instability, there are no motel chains dotting the RN7, while in the cities the big international chains are noticeably absent. Instead, when not Malagasy-owned, hotels in this stretch of the globe are run by the most interesting expats you will ever meet, from the wizened French folks running end-of-the-earth bungalows to the impressive family-run resorts, such as La Relais de la Reine in Isalo (French), Princesse Bora in Île Sainte Marie (Swiss), 293 on Komba (South African) and La Pirogue in Mahambo (French–American).

Each proprietor stamps his or her own personality upon a place, turning it, for better or worse, into a work of hospitality art. And oh, the stories they can tell! So when you do meet the proprietors, be sure to lift the lid on their treasuries of tales. A trip to Madagascar is not complete until you do.