For those who like their hotels with a side of history, the Belmond Governor's Residencedeserves a spot on your bucket list.
Built in the 1920s, this is one of the few luxury hotels in Yangon with a story to tell. The teakwood mansion, which makes up the main building in the hotel, was built by Armenian brothers Samuel and Carapiet Balthazar in the 1920s—the same brothers behind the Balthazar Building in downtown Yangon.
In 1952, they sold the mansion to the government so that it could become the official residence of the governor. In the '90s, the building was converted into a luxury hotel, after which it joined the Belmond group in 2006.
Getting to the Belmond Governor's Residence is a smooth 40-minute ride from the airport. The hotel is located near various embassies in a quiet neighbourhood north of the city, giving it a secluded and private feel.
With the People's Park and Shwedagon Pagoda just five minutes away by car, and the city centre reachable within 15 minutes (pending traffic), the location is perfectly suited for seeing all of Yangon's sights.
Upon arrival, we are welcomed to the property with a resounding "welcome gong" and checked in swiftly by the reception staff. The resident cat, a plump orange tabby, is often seen sleeping on a woven mat at the hotel's driveway, serving as a sort of unofficial mascot.
To get to the room, we pass through a teak walkway that's flanked by a lush lawn on one side (a pair of pristine white geese could be spotted) and a swimming pool on the other. Various pieces of local artwork displayed outdoors add colour and a sense of place.
Choose between Deluxe Rooms, Deluxe Garden View Rooms, Governor's Rooms and Suites at the Belmond Governor's Residence ranging from 39 square metres to 48 square metres large.
All rooms have king-size or twin beds with a large terrazzo bath, writing area with desk, lounge chair and silk fabrics contrasted with dark teak wood furnishings. The exotic fruit platters in the rooms are a nice touch, as are the provided bathrobes and slippers in traditional Myanmar fabrics.
Photo: Courtesy of Belmond Governor's Residence
The Belmond Governor's Residence has one main restaurant, Mandalay, which serves a generous breakfast buffet spread accompanied by live "saung" (harp) music each morning. During lunch and dinner, the all-day dining restaurant serves a menu of traditional Burmese and classic European dishes.
By night, the chefs are happy to fulfil any requests off the menu, in addition to a full menu of Burmese and Western dishes. Highlights include the smoked Myanmar catfish and pickled pumpkin, US Prime Manhattan steak, and butterfish filet.
Something every guest should do is have a drink at Mindon Lounge, the hotel's outdoor bar that lines the swimming pool and is lit by lanterns. On a breezy night, it's the perfect place to reflect on the sights you've taken in that day, along with a cocktail and/or cigar in hand.
As an intimate hotel, the Belmond Governor's Residence also has an in-house spa that's open from 10am to 10pm. With just two treatment rooms available (one that can accommodate couples), don't miss your chance to try the signature Tibetan massage that mixes cupping and kneading with acupressure techniques.
Unfortunately, the hotel does not have any fitness centre available for guests but there is a ground-level swimming pool just next to the main mansion for soaking up the sun, or perhaps a few laps.
From the moment we arrived to when we checked out, the staff at Belmond Governor's Residences beamed with friendliness. Unlike some parts of Yangon, language was a non-issue and service was always courteous and professional.
Tatler Tip: The Governor's Rooms are worth the splurge as the extra spacious room will certainly come in handy for storing all your souvenirs from the market.
Learn more at belmond.com