Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Luxury Hotels and Travel
Reload this Page >

five luxury hotels in Myanmar

five luxury hotels in Myanmar

Old Mar 18, 2018, 9:10 am
  #1  
Original Poster
Four Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Asheville, NC
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, STARS, MO FAN Club, PEN Club, Bellini Club, Dorchester Diamond Club, Travel Leaders
Posts: 1,854
five luxury hotels in Myanmar

I've recently returned from a trip to Vietnam and Myanmar during which I was able to do some site inspections. My report on Vietnam hotels can be found here. Read on for my reviews of three hotels in Yangon, one resort on Inle Lake, and the Sanctuary Ananda riverboat. I begin with my standard caveat that this represents my personal, subjective opinion based on my own sense of aesthetics, and I would full expect others to hold different opinions.


Belmond Governors Residence, Yangon

I begin at the end of my trip. We spent our final 9 hours in Myanmar as day guests of Belmond prior to our flights home. What a treat! Governors Residence is an urban resort in the upscale embassy district of Yangon. About a mile north of the Shwedagon Pagoda, the neighborhood has quiet tree-lined streets and lacks high rise buildings, a completely different world than the crowds, noise, and hustle of downtown Yangon. I found the Governor's Residence utterly delightful with its colonial architecture, green lawns, leafy trees, the scent of flowers, the sound of birds chirping, and traditional croquet lawn. Its main building, with teakwood floors, ceiling fans, and open-air verandas, was constructed in the 1920s. A large fan-shaped pool attracts guests (including myself) during the heat of the afternoon.

There are 49 rooms in 5 categories Deluxe, Deluxe Garden, Governors Rooms, Junior Suites, and Family Suites. Pictured below is the "standard" room decor of all room categories other than Governor's Rooms. This is the bedroom from a Family Suite. Its design is clean, simple, and a bit contemporary with teak wood and a lighter touch. These rooms have a shower in the bathtub, one vanity, and a WC.

Family Suite, Belmond Governor's Residence
.
However, we spent our day in a Governors Room (pictured below). These rooms are more traditional, making greater use of carved woodwork having a darker feel. They were described to me as having "more character," and I agree. It's simply a question of which design you prefer. Bathrooms of Governor's Rooms are superior and offer dual vanities, a step-in shower (but no tub), and a WC.

Governor's Room at Belmond Governor's Residence
.
Governors Residence would be my first choice in Yangon.



The Strand

The Strand is a good choice if you prefer to be downtown and experience the hustle of the city and have access to local restaurants, etc. It is located across the street from the river, but it's not an especially attractive area. However, once you enter the hotel, you're in a different world. guests immediately experience a taste of British colonial elegance in the attractive lobby with white walls, dark trim, and ceiling fans. We ate lunch in the restaurant and enjoyed two of our favorite Burmese recipes tea leaf salad and fish soup. Lunch was delicious lunch, and the total bill, also including a smoothie and a milkshake, was just $26.

Lobby, The Strand
.
The Strand has 32 suites on 2 floors with four categories Superior, Deluxe, Executive, and the Strand Suite. We were shown #104, an Executive Suite (pictured below). A gorgeous room, it continued the same British colonial-tropical feel experienced in the lobby. The bathroom maintained original tile floors and walls. There were dual vanities, a soaking tub, step-in shower, and WC. The renovation maintained the British Colonial style by utilizing the bath original fixtures.
Executive Suite, The Strand
.
For something really special, book a Strand Suite, 200 sqm of space an apartment really with 1.5 bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, and spa room.

A Butler's desk is located on each of the two floors to provide for the needs of guests. The large garden behind the hotel is a secluded haven in the middle of Yangon with large swimming pool. Live, traditional music is performed in the lobby every evening.


Sule Shangri-La

This is actually where we stayed, but I did not plan my Myanmar itinerary. In a word, it's adequate. Named for the Sule pagoda located a few blocks down the street, Sule Shangri-La is the most centrally located hotel in Yangon, but theres really nothing special about this hotel. A large hotel with 484 rooms, the property offers standard issue hotel accommodations. I didn't even take a photo of the room. The small bathroom has a single vanity and toilet. The shower-in-the-tub is equipped with a plastic shower curtain. The room is carpeted and provides a King bed, a daybed in front of the window, and a desk with convenient workspace level plugs.


Pristine Lotus Resort, Inle Lake

The next stop on our trip was Inle Lake, a remote area in central Myanmar with a lot of local interest. The lake is well worth exploring, but you'll need a longboat and a guide to tour the lake. Most hotels will provide tours, or you can book private tours in advance through an on-site. There are many things of interest on the lake fishermen at work, hydroponic tomato farms, towns with their unique crafts, and the very special Inlay Shew Inn Tain pagoda with over one thousand stupas.

We spent two nights at Pristine Lotus Resort for our explorations of the lake. The resort has two categories of rooms a boat-shaped Floating Duplex on the lake side of the resort (80 sqm) and Lotus Villas just across the village road (100 sqm). We stayed in a Lotus Villa # 2004 pictured below.

Lotus Villa, Pristine Lotus Resort
.
The rooms location across the road was just fine, and we really enjoyed the room, pictured above. You enter into the sitting area seen in the photo. The sofa faces a cabinet containing a small flat screen TV, and there is a desk against the same wall. To the right side of the photo (but not in the picture) is a spiral staircase to an upstairs loft that provides sleeping spade for two additional guests.

The room is attractively decorated with local carved art. The floors and furniture are constructed of teakwood. Walls and cathedral ceilings are white with exposed beams and teakwood window trim. The four poster King bed is equipped with mosquito netting that can be closed at night. The bathroom has a WC, a large wooden vanity with a single sink, a closet and dressing area, and a room off the bathroom with both a bathtub and step-in shower. The room could use better lighting.

Internet is free but slow. Guests receive an access code at check-in valid for two devices. We were told it would not work from guest rooms, but I was able to connect from the desk in my room.

Apparently the chef was not on property during our stay. Breakfast was OK with a buffet and hot dishes made to order. At dinner, appetizers were quite good but entrees were lackluster. My recommendation here: make a meal of appetizers!


Sanctuary Ananda

Its a boat, not a hotel. Ananda is a riverboat built in 2014 by Sanctuary Resorts, Think of it as a boutique hotel with 21 "suites," each with a balcony, on three floors (decks). There are four categories of cabins: Deluxe Bagan Suites (on the Bagan Deck, the lowest deck right over the engines), Deluxe Mandalay Suites (on the Mandalay deck, the next deck up), and Luxury Suites (on the top deck). The Owners Suite, a true suite, is also on the top floor. I was able to see a Deluxe Suite, a Luxury Suite, and the Owner's Suite.

Deluxe Bagan Suite, Sanctuary Ananda
.
Typical hotel aficionados would never call these suites. They can be termed suites only by comparison to the typical postage-stamp sized accommodations found on most cruise ships. The Deluxe Suites are but 291 sq ft, equivalent to a Classic room. We momentarily occupied one of these cabins before taking advantage of the chance to upsell. The cabin was attractive (see the picture above) but had limited space. There was a small balcony with two wooden chairs, and the cabin provided a small work space was provided in one corner, but the cabin lacked seating. The bathroom had a single vanity, a toilet on the inside wall, and a glass-enclosed shower on the outside wall. Closet space was quite limited, and we couldnt figure out where we could store our bags.

We had the opportunity to upsell to a Luxury suite. 334 sq ft in area, and I'm glad we did. The size of a Superior hotel room, the additional 43 sqm made a significant difference to our comfort occupying the cabin. Unlike the Deluxe category, the Luxury cabin had a sofa (which could also be made up as a Twin bed), an easy chair, and a coffee table. The workspace was larger and more usable, and the cabin featured additional shelf space, useful to hold stuff. Two much appreciated luggage racks were provided. Being on the top deck meant further separation from the sound of the engines and generators, and we were just steps from the lounge and the public deck at the bow of the ship.

The Sanctuary Ananda is a true 5-star boutique experience.
  1. Room decor, designed by Burmese designers using local fabrics and materials, is colorful and very attractive
  2. Service is very good, as youd expect from a boutique property.
  3. The ship will clean two pieces of laundry per day on a complimentary basis.
  4. All meals as well as complimentary wine at meals, local beer, soft drinks, juices, and coffee are included. The menus are varied and the food was consistently excellent.
  5. The showers are excellent with good water pressure, nearly instantaneous hot water, and fixtures that are easy to figure out and there was no leaking whatsoever under the glass shower door.
  6. LOccitane amenities are provided in bathrooms.
  7. Guided touring excursions are included
  8. WiFi is free when available (but slow).
While the mattress was a bit hard, we requested a pillow top mattress. The next time we were in the cabin, the bed had already been remade with the pillow top. We slept well.

The Owners Suite is a true suite, over 700 sq ft with separate living and bedrooms.

I recommend booking the Ananda through A&K rather than directly through Santuary Retreats. Being an A&K guest, we had already been upgraded from Bagan Deck to Mandalay Deck, and we were offered a welcome amenity of champagne (which the cruise director permitted us to substitute for unlimited free laundry).

One of the advantages of being on a boutique ship the number of guests was small to begin with, and our small group split up into three groups for our daily excursions. There were plenty of empty seats on the busses on which we rode. This experience is totally unlike being part of a busload of megaship cruisers following a flag-carrying guide.

Im not a cruiser, but Id do a river cruise again as long as I was on a boutique ship like the Ananda.
bhrubin and Larkin like this.
DavidO is offline  
Old Mar 18, 2018, 9:38 am
  #2  
Suspended
Marriott 25+ BadgeAman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,764
Thanks [MENTION=24793]DavidO[/MENTION] for that walk down memory lane!

We stayed in the Strand Suite at the Strand in Jan 2014. The Strand Suite was/is spectacular, and clearly the best accommodation in the city. Service and food/beverage were als excellent at the Strand.

We also had a chance to visit the Governors Residence for a wonderful lunch and a tour of the property. We also got to inspect a junior suite, which looks similar but is larger than the Governors Room shown in this review.

My TripAdvisor review reinforces much of what DavidO states, actuallythough wed gladly choose again to stay in the Strand Suite at the Strand Hotel.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUser...on_Region.html


bhrubin is offline  
Old Mar 18, 2018, 10:27 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: US Air, UA BA LH AI DELTA MARRIOTT CHOICE SGP
Posts: 9,883
Originally Posted by bhrubin
Thanks [MENTION=24793]DavidO[/MENTION] for that walk down memory lane!

We stayed in the Strand Suite at the Strand in Jan 2014. The Strand Suite was/is spectacular, and clearly the best accommodation in the city. Service and food/beverage were als excellent at the Strand.

We also had a chance to visit the Governors Residence for a wonderful lunch and a tour of the property. We also got to inspect a junior suite, which looks similar but is larger than the Governors Room shown in this review.

My TripAdvisor review reinforces much of what DavidO states, actuallythough wed gladly choose again to stay in the Strand Suite at the Strand Hotel.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUser...on_Region.html


OP ( & other posters of TRs).
How about naming price ranges ( I know they vary greatly). This would simplify looking for hotels for most. Thanks
HMPS is offline  
Old Mar 18, 2018, 12:40 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,232
Nice report, but a tough time for Myanmar.

In Shan State, I definitely prefer Inle Princess to Pristine Lotus.

As for the wishlist, it's time for a true luxury hotel in Bagan--ideally not operated by the military.
bhrubin and SanDiego1K like this.
MattEvan is offline  
Old Mar 19, 2018, 9:00 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 1,648
Originally Posted by DavidO
One of the advantages of being on a boutique ship — the number of guests was small to begin with, and our small group split up into three groups for our daily excursions. There were plenty of empty seats on the busses on which we rode. This experience is totally unlike being part of a busload of megaship cruisers following a flag-carrying guide.

I’m not a cruiser, but I’d do a river cruise again as long as I was on a boutique ship like the Ananda.
I'm probably the most dedicated cruiser on this Forum and after about 20 oceanic trips and river trips in Burma and Cambodia/Vietnam I must say I don't recognise the image painted by DavidO here. Of course mega-cruise ships are to be avoided but if he were to go on an expedition ship with 100 passengers, or something like the fabulous Seabourn Quest which took me to South Georgia and Antarctica last month, then I think his aversion to cruising might change. And he'd see a lot more of the world too.

Glad to see The Strand looking in such splendid condition. I loved our stay here back in the Aman days. I did miss a pool though in Rangoon's sweltering heat.
Pausanias is offline  
Old Jul 30, 2019, 10:08 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 10,177
Sule Shangri-la review

I absolutely detested this SL upon arrival when they used my wife's Rimowa carry-on as a doorstop. They were deeply apologetic and did sufficient service recovery to make up for the bellboy's stupidity. There's a lot of limitations to the hardware because it was built in 1996.

- no dual vanities (solved this by getting a suite with an extra powder room so we can both get ready at the same time)
- one electrical outlet ONLY on the right side of the bed. Someone won't be charging in bed.
- manually drawn curtains
- hideous furniture

The Horizon Club booking with [MENTION=723585]BESVISOR[/MENTION] definitely made a difference in terms of service. Very attentive Club attendants who would bring drinks or plates to the table and ask if you need any bookings done.
Aventine is offline  
Old Jul 30, 2019, 2:51 pm
  #7  
Aman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Everywhere
Programs: UA GS 3MM, NH PLT
Posts: 791
The Governor's Residence is a charming property with gorgeous grounds and beautiful architecture, but be warned: the room choice will make or break your stay.

We stayed in a Junior Suite on the upper floor, which offered sufficient privacy. However... many of the rooms face one another (across an inner courtyard), and the ground level rooms are exposed, both to people walking in the courtyard as well as guests staying in upper floor rooms across the way. This will force you to close the curtains in a room that is somewhat deficient of natural light to begin with.

Otherwise - the food was great, service very polished and personal, and it's a pretty good value overall.
KI-NRT is offline  
Old Jul 30, 2019, 5:48 pm
  #8  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeShangri-La Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: UA 1K, QR Silver, DL Silver
Posts: 4,262
Originally Posted by KI-NRT
The Governor's Residence is a charming property with gorgeous grounds and beautiful architecture, but be warned: the room choice will make or break your stay.

We stayed in a Junior Suite on the upper floor, which offered sufficient privacy. However... many of the rooms face one another (across an inner courtyard), and the ground level rooms are exposed, both to people walking in the courtyard as well as guests staying in upper floor rooms across the way. This will force you to close the curtains in a room that is somewhat deficient of natural light to begin with.

Otherwise - the food was great, service very polished and personal, and it's a pretty good value overall.
I was just at the Governors Residence a couple weeks ago and echo your comments. I had a two bedroom junior suite at the back corner of the resort, which seemed to have a good amount of privacy.

I also took a full day tour with a guide and driver from the hotel and both were fantastic.

GM held a cocktail reception one night too, which was nice.

Id highly recommend the hotel.
United747 is offline  
Old Aug 4, 2019, 9:06 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 10,177
Originally Posted by KI-NRT
The Governor's Residence is a charming property with gorgeous grounds and beautiful architecture, but be warned: the room choice will make or break your stay.

We stayed in a Junior Suite on the upper floor, which offered sufficient privacy. However... many of the rooms face one another (across an inner courtyard), and the ground level rooms are exposed, both to people walking in the courtyard as well as guests staying in upper floor rooms across the way. This will force you to close the curtains in a room that is somewhat deficient of natural light to begin with.

Otherwise - the food was great, service very polished and personal, and it's a pretty good value overall.
We are in the Deluxe Garden view room and it's been fine. The only annoying part is sharing umbrellas with your neighbors (or even having neighbors). Food is excellent and definitely has an Aman-ish vibe going on.
Aventine is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.