A little far off the typical Asian tour, Myanmar still hosts a variety of luxurious hotels for the discerning traveler. Step into this faraway land, previously unopened to the West.
‘It is quite unlike any place you know about’, wrote Rudyard Kipling when he landed in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, more than a century ago. Incredibly, the statement still holds true today, even for the most seasoned travelers. This is the gilded land of mystical pagodas, undiscovered tropical beaches and lost Asian charm. Accommodation here is not as abundant as that in Thailand or Vietnam, but there’s still a convenient selection of excellent hotels. We handpicked some of the best from around the country.
Source: Belmond Governor’s Residence
Belmond Governor’s Residence, Yangon
Stay here if… you want a culturally-enlightening experience. Built in the 1920s, Belmond Governor’s Residence is a romantic, colonial-style mansion that served as the official home of the governor in the British Crown Colony of Burma. The hotel’s comprehensive breakfast menu includes a sophisticated version of mohinga, the traditional Burmese breakfast of fish noodle soup.
It is located in the old capital of Rangoon (Yangon). Nestled in the charming Embassy Quarter, it is within walking distance to the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda.
Our favorite feature is undoubtedly, the building’s beautifully preserved façade and elegant setting. It features traditional teak furnishings and three elegant dining options set amidst landscape gardens and lotus pools. The bedrooms are luxuriously spacious and each bathroom is fitted with a large, sunken bathtub.
The only downside is that the hotel is on the pricier side, averaging US$350 per night for a Deluxe Room.
- Source: Strand, Yangon
- Strand, Yangon
Stay here if… you want to experience bygone-colonial Myanmar or if you’re a fan of literature. One the most famous hotels in Yangon, The Strand has over 100 years of history, glittering chandeliers that grandly hang above marbled floors and a famous cigar bar. The rooms retain the colonial style that greets you in the lobby and the hotel is listed on the Yangon city heritage list. Legendary literary guests including George Orwell and Somerset Maugham have stayed here.
It is located in the heart of downtown Yangon, near to the Yangon River and the main commercial district.
Our favorite feature is the top-notch service. You won’t find a front desk here, as guests are taken directly to their rooms upon arrival at the hotel. Each guest is attended by a private butler who waits outside the door just down the hallway.
The only downside is that the hotel does not have a pool or fitness center.
Source: Hotel by the Red Canal
- Hotel by the Red Canal, Mandalay
Stay here if… you are looking for peaceful sanctuary from the bustling city streets. The colonial hotel offers 25 suites named after the 4 major ethnic groups in Myanmar: Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and Shan. The interior of each suite is decorated accordingly and feature design and decoration typical of that group’s culture and customs.
It is located in Mandalay, the last royal Burmese capital. A few minutes’ walk away is the famous Mandalay Palace.
Our favorite feature is the hotel’s restaurant, Spice Garden, which offers a fine array of Northern and Southern Indian cuisine.
The only downside is that the boutique hotel is rather small compared to bigger names. That being said, it keeps the larger tour groups away so couples are likely to find tranquility here.
- Source: Aureum Palace
- Aureum Palace, Bagan
Stay here if… you intend to splurge for the ultimate luxury hotel experience. Set among the ancient temples of the Kingdom of Bagan, this domestic luxury chain offers lavish, pond-side rooms with views of beautiful lotus flowers just outside your window and towering pagodas on the horizon. This sprawling resort offers spacious villas and an extensive list of dining options from a poolside BBQ restaurant to a sophisticated cocktail bar.
It is located in Bagan, capital of the ancient Burmese empire. Set within the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone, the hotel is a good base for exploring the some 2000 temples in the area.
Our favorite feature is the large outdoor pool where you can enjoy the cool breezes from the lakes as you stroll around in the balmy evenings. Private plunge pools are available for villa guests.
The only downside is that the staff, though lovely and efficient, can struggle to understand English.
- Source: The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate
- The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate, Bagan
Stay here if… you want a convenient base for exploring pagodas in Old Bagan. Rooms are spacious and decorated with Burmese fabric and hardwood, as well as replica paintings of nearby temples. All rooms and suites are arranged in individual villas along pathways that wind through mature bamboo gardens.
It is located beside the stunning historic gates to the old city of Bagan. The impressive Ananda Pagoda is a short walk away.
Our favorite feature is the large, shaded pool which provides a welcome respite after a day of temple exploration in the tropical heat.
The only downside is the limited and comparatively expensive menu of the bar and restaurant. Open-air restaurants can be found across the main road.
- Source: Aureum Palace at Inle Lake
- Aureum Palace at Inle Lake
Stay here if… you wish to be next to nature without eschewing comfort and quality. Arrive by long-tail boat to this luxury resort on stilts by the shores of Inle Lake. The beautiful location is key to the success of this resort, with guests able to look out across the lake from the intimate and secluded comfort of their own room. Expect flower petals on your bed and smiling staff ready to assist you.
It is located on the shores of Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar. Embark on boating excursions across the water and experience fishermen at work, floating vegetable farms and villages built entirely on stilts.
Our favorite feature is the private outdoor terrace from where you can watch the sun go down over the lake and hills beyond.
The only downside is that Inle takes some effort and time to reach, with the nearest airport being Heho Airport, 35 km away.
- Jade Marine Spa and Resort, Ngapali
Stay here if… you wish to unwind by the beach. The Jade Marina Spa and Resort sits on the shoreline of palm-fringed, white sandy Ngapali beach. The sands stretches 3km along the beautiful Bay of Bengal and your room will be in stepping distance from the beach loungers. Most of the stylish rooms have a balcony and many look out into the water.
It is located 500m away from the city center and provides easy access to many of the main attractions.
Our favorite feature is the outdoor pools, from where you can watch the fishermen reel in their daily catch or lounge with a sophisticated cocktail and a good book. There is also a hot tub and kids’ pool.
The only downside is that food served at the hotel restaurant is average at most. That gives a good reason to dine at local options nearby, most of which offer superb Burmese cuisine.
Myanmar’s a land of unexpected luxury and ancient culture. The charm of the pagodas and fresh air near the bright blue lakes make Myanmar the perfect place to get away from it all while also having an eye-opening experience of a land much different than your own. You can expect first class treatment with a royal getaway to this far-off land.
If you’re ready to indulge in the unique splendor of Myanmar, you can visit anytime with the Myanmar: Into the Golden Lands Private Tour. You can even travel with a small group of like-minded explorers during our Myanmar: Into the Golden Lands Small Group Tour. Either way, you’re in for a trip of a lifetime that will satisfy your taste for adventure.