Be warned! The Anjajavy Lodge is not some undiscovered gem — at least, in a manner of speaking. The lodge is of such high calibre that it is firmly on the to-do lists of the world elite; Bill Gates has rested his high-tech heels here. But beyond that in-the-know circle, this far-flung Relais & Châteaux hotel is still a virtual unknown. To put it another way, travelers know very well about Anjajavy, but your everyday tourists would draw a blank. At least, for the moment.
So how does a property pull off this nifty trick? It comes down to the old adage of “location, location, location”: The Anjajavy rests languidly on the northwestern coasts of Madagascar. While Pixar gave the island nation brand-recognition, it remains out of the world-travel spotlight. This works in the Anjajavy’s favor; the experience is authentic to the local culture, which, despite being off the coast of Africa, is more akin to that of Polynesia. The privacy is practically absolute. And over development, the kind that makes Cancun or Hawaii visually stunning but somewhat plastic-looking, is not even on the horizon.
Splashed over 750 hectares on Madagascar’s Péninsule d’Anjajavy (the country was once a French colony; vestigial remains abound), guests are treated daily to so-blue-it’s-trippy views of the Mozambique Channel on one side and so-green-it’s-dreamy vistas of the surrounding nature reserve on the other. The grounds feature 24 breeze-blown and luxuriously-appointed villas crafted of native rosewood, each with a spacious terrace facing the sea, upstairs bathroom, a living room with a salon, and a bedroom.
Also featured are more than 1,800 species plant and animal, much of them part of the extended family unique to the island, including lemurs and olpure, a kind of iguana. Just as unique are the tsingy, a breathtakingly bizarre land formation that looks like a gothic forest of razor-sharp stone needles.
Most of the geology is not quite as bloodthirsty. Feel free to explore secret paths leading to seven rilling creeks flowing down to a private stretch of white-gold sand. Visitors often find themselves in a prolonged moment of primeval solitude; at most there might be a few distant fishing boats skirting the waves. If your tastes run a little more contemporary, try the sea-water infinity pool.
All this Malagasy quietude can kick up the appetite, and Anjajavy marries local cuisine with sensory overload. Fresh seafood and organic produce are meticulously designed to complement each other; I personally recommend anything with a prawn. Madagascar is famous for some of the tastiest in the world.
It’ll make you wonder why so many people don’t know about this place.