One of the loveliest hotels in southeast Asia, this Orient-Express–run property sits tucked away in the city’s embassy district. It’s just a 5-minute drive to downtown Yangon, with such tourist sites as Scott Market, Chinatown and the Indian Quarter, but the beautifully landscaped Governor’s Residence feels miles away.
Guests enter via a covered bridge, that’s surrounded by lotus ponds and gardens, arriving at a Colonial mansion, built in 1920, with a wrap-around porch and airy public spaces. Fans whirr overhead, large red umbrellas dot the landscapes and teak armchairs make inviting spots in which to process the day’s sightseeing. The 49 well-laid-out rooms and suites feature lots of teak, smooth wood floors and large bathrooms with free-form tubs and rain showers. Those on the lower floors can be on the dark side, with heavy wooden shutters (especially those lining the pool), but all the amenities are spot-on and there’s nothing more comforting than returning to these beautifully styled, calm enclaves at the end of a busy day.
Especially compared with hotels in downtown Yangon, Governor’s Residence offers a generous feeling of space, whether you’re having a cocktail in the al fresco Mindon Lounge, reading in the lofty Library or lounging by the spacious pool. Even if you are not staying here (due to its small size, the Governors Residence is often booked months in advance), come for a meal in the garden, impossibly romantic at night with its myriad candles and crimson lights. The chef hails from Scotland but his take on Asian cuisine is passionate and delicious.
The only other high-end option in Yangon, besides Governor’s Residence, the historic Strand hotel is located in the downtown area, facing the Yangon river (across a busy thoroughfare). Part of the GHM Hotel Group, which also runs the Nam Hai in Hoi Ahn, the Strand is a fine option if Governor’s Residence is booked, or if you are only in town for one night and want to be based in the downtown Yangon area.
The location lends itself to walking tours of the neighborhood (acclaimed Monsoon restaurant and Loft Gallery are nearby). Rooms are generously sized, with high ceilings, and there’s an intimate spa (but no swimming pool). The Strand’s lobby, which rises into a four-story atrium and conjures scenes from Somerset Maugham’s books, is normally buzzing with activity. Even if you are not staying here, come for a drink at the hotel’s famous Strand Bar and see the impressive art collection at the excellent River Art Gallery.
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