Le Relais de la Reine

Top choice boutique hotel in Parc National de l'Isalo

Beautifully designed, this lovely property sits among canyons with elegant stone-built cottages. Service is impeccable (it's the sort of place where you come back from dinner to find your bed prepared), the restaurant outstanding (three-course set menu Ar45,000) and there's a real attention to detail that you just don't find in many places in Madagascar's south.

The outstanding rooms (tiled floors, four-poster beds, exposed stone walls and soft lighting), refurbished in 2012, are merely the start. There's also a fine swimming pool, clay tennis court, a stunning garden with frangipani and bougainvillea, a stylish bar, a spa and massage centre, a via ferrata in the neighbouring canyons and an equestrian centre for sunset gallops across the savannah.

It's 14km beyond Ranohira, on the left if coming from Tana.