Having just stayed at the Ravinsata with my family the last two weeks of June I thought I would put a review up so people have a most recent update on the hotel. There were four of us staying for 6 nights.
The Rooms and grounds - This is actually a beautiful and very well designed hotel. The villas are large, very well maintained and well designed inside. They’re very well spaced apart from one another in the most beautiful tropical gardens you can imagine. The grounds are meticulously kept, and tended to by a large team daily. Also we noticed that every room is actually aired every day when not occupied, presumably to avoid that musty damp smell that you can sometimes get in tropical villas. We thought that was a nice / clever touch. Certainly our two sea view bungalows were completely fresh and perfectly maintained by the large cleaning staff who look after the resort. They were very quick too. Each morning they would go straight in as you went to breakfast, and they were done and out again by the time you returned afterwards.
The Pools - The two large interlocking pools are superb. Crystal clear water, beautifully situated, and perfectly maintained daily. One is perfect for small children as it’s very shallow, and both have ‘beach’ / sloped entry on one side. There are lots of cushioned sun beds around the pools with both shade and sun options.
The Beach - There is a beach right in front of the hotel but - as some of the other reviews mention - it is covered at high tide …and not the perfect white sand and crystal clear water you can find on some other beaches on Nosy Be. That said it’s probably more interesting to look at (as you can see local fishermen working the shallow lagoon), and the view beyond it to the island across the bay is lovely. The sunsets looking out across the bay from the hotel are absolutely extraordinary. There are lots of cushioned sun beds looking out over the bay
This stretch of bay does have pretty good swimming in front of the Vanila Hotel which is just five minutes walk up the beach, so if the beautiful pools at Ravintsara aren’t enough, and you do want to swim in the sea, then it is an option within a short stroll. No matter how high the tide you can still always access the beach from the Ravintsara Hotel at the right hand side of its frontage. I think some of the other reviews I have seen do Ravintsara a bit of a disservice on this point.
Also like I say, it’s a very pretty stretch of bay so it’s nice to stroll along to some of the other local hotels, and there are three or four other hotels or beach bars on this stretch for a bit of variety. Also worth noting this beach/bay felt TOTALLY safe and NO hassle. There are no hawkers at all. A few locals, and some fishermen but it’s mainly a few tourists and we felt totally at ease walking back to our hotel well after dark after having had an evening drink at one of the other establishments on the bay. This is a really nice feature of this bay. It’s a got a bit of life on it but it’s utterly safe and relaxed feeling.
The Food – if you read all the reviews as we did you get the impression this is a lovely hotel let down by the food but we didn’t find that at all. We were a bit nervous about this aspect but that concern proved unfounded. Perhaps they have changed the chef! The food in Madagascar is not brilliant varied anywhere but the quality is fine. We stayed in various other hotels during our trip to Madagascar, many of which got very good reviews for their food and I have to say Ravintsara measured up almost identically, so I’m not quite sure why it gets pulled up for the food in some reviews here. Most Madagascan hotels serve a pretty standard breakfast comprising fresh omelette, cereal, pastries, fruit. Then at lunchtime burgers, sandwich options. Then at dinner a three course meal with perhaps two or three options for each course. Service is never fast! Ravintsara did exactly this, and all the meals we ate there were very nice. Good quality products, well prepared, pretty quickly served. The one thing I would say is that they don’t cater brilliantly for vegetarians, so my adult daughter did struggle a little, but had we spoken better French I think they could have sorted her out perfectly well.
The staff – there are loads of them (this place is certainly not under-staffed) and they are very polite, and very helpful, if perhaps a bit formal. The staff speak good French but only the concierge (who is excellent btw) spoke fluent English as far as we could tell.
Occupancy – this hotel seems to run on pretty low occupancy. Depending on what you like that’s a consideration. When we stayed there in June which is a bit off-season we were the only guests in the hotel a couple of nights and other nights there were no more than 8 others staying there. We asked about it and apparently they are busier in high season but rarely fully booked. You get the sense this hotel might have a rich benefactor behind it where it’s a labour of love for them (hence the incredible grounds etc) rather than a money making machine. This means if you like your holidays quieter it could be perfect. But if you like the hotel you’re in to be more lively then maybe go to the Vanila Hotel up the bay. Both hotels are very nice in their different ways.
Day trips - You can book all the normal Nosy Be tours at Ravintsara reception. They link with Nosy Be Original who actually have a base in the Vanila Hotel 500 meters up the beach, and the boats pick you up off the beach right outside Ravintsara.
Best Rooms - Best rooms are the two beautiful beach rooms we stayed in – rooms 11 and 12. But all the rooms looked very nice to be honest and none are more than 30 seconds walk from the pool/beach.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC