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Sainte Marie Island was used by 17th century pirates such as Captain Kid as a hideaway on the spice route.
There's more comfortable accommodation nowadays though, in the shape of the Princesse Bora hotel, which has 15 circular bungalows with thatched roofs set in the garden near a swimming pool, sandy beach and lagoon.
The hotel restaurant is one of the best on the island and guests can enjoy delicious Creole, French and Malagasy influenced cuisine.
Activities include quad-biking excursions to see the pirates' graveyard, and Ambodifotatra, the island's tiny capital. Also available are snorkelling, diving and whale-watching trips, and there is a spa where an assortment of treatments and massages inspired by ancestral African traditions are on offer.
Guests arrive and depart from the hotel in ox carts to the Sainte Marie Island airstrip.
Charlotte C, Original Traveller