Lokanga Boutique Hotel is steeped in history. Its location in the capital, Antananarivo, is the neighbourhood of Ambohimitsimbina or ‘the hill of sighs’, the oldest part of ‘Tana’ that was considered a sacred royal hill where the queen’s musicians and English missionaries used to live. It is high above the city and a welcome respite from the constant hustle and bustle of downtown Tana.
A lokanga is a traditional Malagasy violin, a nod to the area’s musical past. The original house was built by a wealthy family in the 1930s and has a varangue or terrace especially placed to the west for the best views of Madagascar’s sunsets – the perfect place to settle down with other guests over an iced drink after a day of sightseeing. It also has vistas of Anosy (an artificial lake in the south off the city) as well as the multi-purpose Mahamasina stadium where the Malagasy enjoy rugby, football and concerts.
The owners have restored the individually decorated en suite bedrooms with beautiful antiques original to the house, like old maps and an Italian baroque bed, that echoes the French colonial history of the island. Outside, ornate turrets and shutters all give the Lokanga a storybook atmosphere but there are plenty of modern conveniences, too, like Wi-Fi for keeping in touch. Expect a cosy, welcoming feel where you can truly relax after a long-haul flight or a lengthy journey through Madagascar.