There are some hotels you get a sense of before you even walk through the door. In this case before I set foot in Myanmar I knew The Strand was going to be special. I put that feeling down to my early correspondence with the DOS, Jared Green, who reached out to me soon after I started with Diethelm Travel. For my industry friends you know there are those hotel sales personalities who are just such a delight to talk to over e-mail that you just sense it’s a good precursor to how fabulous the hotel is going to be.
I LOVED The Strand. Let me set the scene. The hotel has been a fixture in the Asia hotel scene for a long time. Since it’s creation in 1901 ongoing restorations and refurbishments have kept this ‘Grand old Lady’ of Yangon looking and feeling fresh.
The thing is, as old ladies go The Strand is one uber-chic, fashionable and impeccably preserved old lady! She totally owns her position right on the Yangon River, walking distance to everything in Downtown Yangon. You walk in the hotel and phrases like contemporary, slick and ’boutique city hotel chic’ all spring to mind.
You’re in the heart of the action yet you’re in total exquisite isolation, wrapped up in the walls of a contemporary style which does a stellar job of complimenting it’s proud colonial roots. Neither does the colonial style try to steal the attention. It’s not a fight between new and old, it’s a balanced double act – a perfect meeting of old and new.
…but what I love most about the Strand are the bright, light and airy rooms with the most amazing high ceilings and huge windows. Anyone who’s ever arrived somewhere after a 20 hour flight on a stuffy plane will know how re-invigorating it feels to let yourself be enveloped by a bright, crisp hotel room. The kind of room that smells so fresh and clean it feels like you’re the first person ever to check into that room. That’s how I felt at The Strand. No dark paneling, loud wooden floors and no cold corners in sight, just clean lines and a style subtle enough it works for both younger and more mature clients alike.
There’s one thing – guests might ask about a pool. Yangon gets hot and humid so a dip is a nice idea. Right now at The Strand there isn’t a pool, but it’s coming. The hotel have a plot of land next-door to build on so the wheels are in motion. Honestly, in my opinion the pay off of having this super chic gem of a hotel at your disposal overrides the addition of a pool any day of the week.
After we finished up at The Strand my guide Mr. Thomas took me on a walking tour of downtown Yangon. Check out the photos below for scenes of Yangon in pictures. The pics give you a sense for the street scene but if there’s one thing you take away, make a note of ‘Rangoon Tea House’ – you MUST send your guests here. Super cool new tea house in central Yangon serving all kinds of traditional Burmese cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner – plus the signature Burmese teas the place is famous for. We take clients here regularly to rave reviews of the cool scene, great teas and central location. Highly recommended for a stop during any walking tour of Yangon.