October 5-9, 2016
Nosy Lodge, located on Ambondrona Beach 10K north of Hell-ville, is just a 3 minute walk down the beach from Scuba Nosy Be. The small resort has 3 seaside bungalows, a few garden bungalows and a couple of rooms in the main house.
The spacious seaside bungalows are a basic wooden structure with high ceilings, minimally yet tastefully decorated. The comfortable foam bed has mosquito netting but the sheets were pilled. The waffle towels looked nice but were scratchy, especially against sun or wind burned skin. The outdoor shower had no amenities, i.e. no soap or shampoo. There was a safe in the room but the batteries didn’t work. You needed a key.
The pleasant front porch with lounge chairs is just 50 meters from the beach. Heaven sleeping with the sound of the surf in the background.
It’s not the nicest beach on the island, however, as it is brownish in color rather than the white sand at some other beaches and is covered in a fair amount of seaweed and washed up rocks. While the beach front is fairly developed mature plantings soften the buildings.
The complex includes pleasant hang out areas and a pool.
The restaurant serves 3 meals a day and you can get demi-pension at a good price with a set menu at lunch and dinner – generally lots of fish. However, if you don’t like what is offered they will make adjustments.
For our first lunch we had a choice of salads –
roasted vegetables and cheese or
smoked fish followed by a choice of
shrimp for mains.
Salad with sesame crusted fish
Dinner begins with an amuse bouche served in the lounge if you are having drinks before dinner.
The first dinner started with fish in a cream sauce followed by
fish topped with an herbed cream sauce accompanied by starchy mashed sweet potatoes and shredded vegetables. For dessert a dense brownie-like chocolate tarte – very chocolatey and not too sweet.
Meatballs with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
Grilled fish with roasted potatoes and salad
The last dinner was Malagasy beef with greens in a green Sichuan pepper (ma) flavored sauce.
Breakfast included coffee, fruit plate, crepes, jam, butter and a bread basket with 3 types of bread.
While the Belgian (French speaking) owner, Eric, speaks English, communication with the staff works much better in French, especially for any difficulties you may have.
While it feels more French here than Malagasy, some travelers complained that it was too French, with staff ignoring those who only spoke English. This is still Madagascar and things only work so well.
For example it took 3 days to get our laundry back. The lock to the outdoor shower door in the bungalow was broken. We pointed this out the first day but it was never replaced.
We were told in advance that we would have to change rooms for our last night. We made the change in the morning before heading down the beach for our last dive.
The safe in the new room was low on batteries. It finally opened with the help of a staff member. I asked her what happens if it doesn’t work again. She assured me that someone could open it for us. Sure enough when we returned the safe wouldn’t open and our room wasn’t made up. We had left the room key in the door – this room is right off the main lounge area. Their excuse was that there was only one key, the key that we had left in the door.
To their credit they quickly got someone to clean the room. Still there was the problem of the safe. Only Eric, the owner, could open it and we would have to wait as he was not on the premises at the moment. At nearly 3PM we hadn’t eaten lunch and the lodge restaurant was already closed. We were planning on going to a snack bar down the beach but all our money was in the safe. The staff kindly suggested that they could make a sandwich for us. Problem solved.
When Eric returned he did get the safe open as the batteries still occasionally worked. Shortly afterwards a young woman showed up with the key explaining that it was the only one and we needed to take care. Great, but when I try it afterwards it didn’t work. In the end we decided not to use the safe as we were not sure we could get our stuff out if the batteries failed for good.
All in and this is a relaxed and convenient place to stay, especially if you are diving with Scuba Nozy Be. Just don’t expect a European level of service.