When travelling through Myanmar most travellers will spend at least a night or two in Yangon, a fascinating city to be sure but one singularly lacking in five-star accommodation. But enter the long teak walkway from reception to the main buildings of the Governor’s Residence, an almost century-old mansion built of teak and located in the verdant Embassy Quarter of the city and all thoughts of sleeping rough vanish in the blink of an eye.
This is the kind of place you could easily imagine glamorous ladies in slinky satin evening gowns holding long cigarette holders and sipping glasses of sherry while their menfolk gathered in the smoking room to talk of the dreadful state of politics in the old British Empire. Once the residence of a state governor, this romantic building is now one of Belmond’s (ex Orient Express) world-renowned, luxury hotels.
Room for two
Spacious, inviting and offering every comfort, the decor in the rooms, suites and Governor’s Rooms is an exotic combination of sumptuous Asian fabrics and pure white bedding. Teak timber is again the star with floors and furniture glowing with the warm ambience it provides. The large terrazzo bath is an eye-popper but I guess would take around half an hour to fill! You will fall into the king-sized bed and not want to get out but leave you must because a wonderful breakfast spread awaits!
Myanmar’s cuisine is tasty without being overly spicy so start your day with a healthy and authentic Burmese soup – the recipe is freely available to guests and trust me, you will want to recreate this tasty dish! The breakfast spread is delectable but it’s only an introduction to the taste-sensations on offer.
Start your evening with a cocktail while relaxing in an over-sized armchair in the first-floor Mindon Lounge. Then choose from the Burmese Curry Table or the local and western cuisine in the romantic Mandalay Restaurant which overlooks the tropical gardens and lotus ponds. Do try the local wines as they are quite good, especially the Red Mountain brand.
You simply cannot come to Myanmar and not visit the two century old, Shwedagon Pagoda but leave at least half a day to walk around its wonderful pagodas and halls and drink in the magical atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. Have a beer at the Strand Hotel by the river and then wander through Yangon’s run-down heritage area for a taste of the grandeur of Rangoon’s yesteryear.
Shopaholics will enjoy the Bogyoke Aung San Market (once called Scotts Market) but if you’re travelling upcountry there’s more authentic souvenirs to collect.
Couples will love
Staying at the Governor’s Residence is an easy introduction to this fascinating country and couples will love the sense of tradition imparted by the architecture and furnishings and the earnest and honest interaction with the warm and wonderful staff.