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Hotels in Cotonou

Introduction to Cotonou

Cotonou started out as a small fishing village, but today it is the largest city in the West African country of Benin. Once a French colony, Benin is now independent but still uses French as an official language. If you'd like to visit this bustling port town, Skyscanner can help you find the best hotel room at the cheapest rate. If you need cheap airfare, no problem; the innovative search program can help.

Things to Do in Cotonou

Cotonou has its own Cathedral de Notre Dame, but it's architecture is completely different than it's French counterpart. The outside is covered in white and red horizontal stripes, with contrasting mini-stripes on the many arches. The colour scheme, though somewhat muted, is carried into the inside space. Serving as the Archdiocese of Cotonou, the cathedral definitely has a combined West African and French vibe. Pick up a book at the small bookshop right next door, also a great place to pick up a map of the city. The area around the cathedral is known for its French colonial architecture, worth a look.

Get your shopping fix at the Grand Marche de Dantokpa, located by the lagoon on Boulevard St Michel. One of the largest markets in West Africa, this is the place to mingle with the locals, sample exotic foods and buy handcrafted clothes, artwork and furnishings. You'll also find street vendors just about everywhere selling local treats, such as atta, a bean flour fritter, and doko, tiny fried donuts often flavoured with bananas.

Getting To and Around Cotonou

Flying into the Cotonou Cadjehoun International Airport (COO), puts you only two kilometres from the city centre. Flights arrive from many African nations, as well as from Paris, Brussels and Istanbul. Rental cars are available, but be prepared to share the sometimes narrow city streets with more motorcycles and scooters than in most places. Cotonou does have an efficient grid system, making the roads easy to navigate once you get used to the traffic. Taxi fares from the airport and around town are negotiated. Expect to pay at least $5.00 CAD for that airport run. Accepted currency is the West African CFA Franc.

Hotels in Cotonou

Most hotels in Cotonou are along, or close to, the Gulf of Guinea. You'll also find properties near the canal, mostly on the western bank. Complimentary airport shuttle service is the norm for most moderate to high end properties.

  • At Mason Rouge, it's all about the colour. Only steps from the beach, the property features rooms with boldly coloured contemporary furnishings and modern artwork. Even the façade is bright red, as the name implies. Relax in the pool area, work out in the gym or ask the concierge to arrange a guided tour. Wireless Internet is free and secured onsite parking is available. Sample some European fare with a local twist at the onsite restaurant, just off the pool area.
  • Also within steps of the beach is the Benin Marina Hotel, a modern resort with a more refined architectural style that is filled with an assortment of African artwork. Rooms are in warm earth tones and include the latest in electronic gadgetry, including Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs. Choose from city, pool or ocean views. Room rates include breakfast. Two restaurants, two bars, three tennis courts, two pools and a nine-hole golf course are onsite. French and English are widely spoken.
  • The Benin Royal Hotel is in the centre of the city, equal distance from the beach and the canal. With modern architecture and a penchant for bold colours, this is another Cotonou hotel that stands out. Even the free-form pool is bright blue, surrounded by shade umbrellas of every hue. The moderately priced property includes breakfast in the room rate and has free Wi-Fi in all room categories. The Jacuzzi Prestige Room is a favourite with honeymooners. Check out the Behanzin Restaurant, with its daily buffet, and the roof-top Ife Restaurant, both are onsite.