. . .You share our Guest Register with the likes of George Orwell, Sir Peter Ustinov, Somerset Maugham, David Rockefeller, Sir Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling and HRH Kin Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga (in 1936), who have all stayed at The Strand.
Enjoy your ‘Burmese Days’ and the magical experience that is Myanmar and its wonderfully friendly people.”
That excerpt from the welcome letter from The General Manager was to set the tone for an extraordinary stay at The Strand Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar.
Stepping into the lobby – admittedly small in stature and décor when compared to today’s 5-star behemoths – with its marble floors, rattan furniture and lofty ceiling felt as if we were stepping back more than a century in time into the British Colonial Far East.
|Lobby of The Strand - Yangon, Myanmar|
|The Strand, Rangon, Myanmar, left, Raffles Hotel, Singapore, right|
Because the cruise line allowed for on-shore stays, we’d planned to stay in this historic haven since booking our cruise. This neo-classic charmer was built in 1901 by John Darwood, and was later acquired by four Armenian brothers – the Sarkies – as part of their early 20th Century luxury hotel collection that included The Strand, the Eastern & Oriental in Penang and the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
|Serenaded at checkin; we sipped watermelon juice with another couple from the ship|
A Brief Hotel History
From its beginning this three story hotel, “was regarded as ‘the finest hostelry east of Suez’ and Murray’s Handbook for Travelers in India, Burma and Ceylon, 1911 edition, says the hotel was patronized by ‘royalty, nobility and distinguished personages’,” according to Philippe Delaloye, the current General Manager.
However, during the intervening decades, the British Colonial period ended and Burma became an independent country (1948). The once-luxurious hotel served as a home for Japanese soldiers during Japan’s occupation in World War II and then fell into a state of disrepair in the 1960’s. A Burmese businessman purchased it in 1988 and commissioned its extensive renovation. There were no new towers, fitness clubs or pools added; it was simply restored to its once-luxurious self. And a few modern conveniences like free wi-fi and flat screen televisions have been added.
|Fresh blooms and toiletries in our bathroom|
We were shown our second-floor suite by the butler assigned to our floor. A butler (or two) are assigned to each floor 24/7 and simply await a call from guests ~ they open your door for you when you return to your room, push elevator buttons, and lock up your suite when you leave.
|The Butler's station was manned 24/7 on each of the hotels floors|
|Suite 102 The Strand, Yangon, Myanmar where treats were left each night by the butler|
Dining at The Strand
|Dining was a delight at The Strand from breakfast to dinner|
The hotel’s specialties included Onn-Not-Khao Sive, a chicken in light coconut gravy with egg noodles, crispy noodles, boiled egg, shallot and lime (pictured lower left) and the Strand Mohinga, a signature dish, a lemon-grass and ginger infused fish soup, not pictured. We tried them both - they were excellent!
|Enjoying the genteel life at The Strand, Yangon, Myanmar|
That’s it for our visit to Myanmar. We returned to the ship and that evening set sail for our next port of call, Cochin, India. We’d have three ‘sea days’ while crossing the Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world before finally setting foot in India. Was the hassle we had with getting an India visa worth it? We’ll let you know in our next post! Happy travels to you and yours until we meet again~
Linking up this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings