Occupying prime position on one of Yangon’s main boulevards, The Strand Yangon is a historic colonial property whose story is irrevocably tied to that of the city. Like any property with a long legacy, this hotel has been through its fair share of ups and downs. But through it all, it has tried to maintain a high standard of service — and now it’s going from strength to strength.
The hotel underwent a thorough renovation in 2016 and has emerged better than ever. Originally built in 1901, the building retains all its Colonial splendor while offering guests a modern take on its traditional service.
If any hotel could be said to stand in for the history of Yangon, The Strand Yangon would be it. Built in 1901 by famed hoteliers the Sarkies Brothers, the hotel quickly became a destination in its own right. As an important trading hub for the British Empire, all manner of merchants and leisure travellers passed through Yangon – and its most prestigious hotel. If you managed to get a look at its guest book, you’d find a who’s who of politicians, authors, celebrities, and even royalty.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. During the Second World War, the Japanese occupied Burma and the hotel acted as a barracks for soldiers stationed here. After Burma achieved independence in 1948, the property was largely neglected. That is, until it was sold off to an intrepid Burmese businessman in 1989.
Seeing the potential in the heritage building, local businessman Bernard Pe-Win partnered with renowned hotelier Adrian Zecha to revamp the flagging property. After a thorough revamp, the hotel reopened in 1993 as a high-end boutique hotel. This was just the beginning of its renaissance.
In recognition of its storied past and icon status, The Strand was granted the coveted “blue plaque” status in February 2019. Awarded by the Yangon Heritage Trust, the plaque recognises The Strand’s significance in the history and culture of Yangon. It’s the first hotel in the city to receive this honor, and just the 27th building or site in the whole city.
DINING & DRINKING
There are three F&B outlets at The Strand, each one offering a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.
The elegant Strand Café is the hotel’s all-day dining destination, offering a wide range of western and traditional Myanmar cuisine. More importantly, the café dishes up one of the city’s most beloved foodie experiences – the Strand High Tea. Book ahead, choose from the Classic English or Myanmar tea set, then sit back and enjoy.
To the right of the hotel entrance, the Sarkies Bar is a cosy, wood-panelled bar that positively oozes history. Slip in for the happy hour where you can sip on historical cocktails that have been developed at The Strand Yangon through the years. Pick the Strand Sour and you can practically feel Rudyard Kipling’s ghost nodding in approval – this was the favored drink of this famed author.
At the oh-so-elegant Strand Restaurant, you’ll feast on high-end Mediterranean-inspired degustation menus in sumptuous Art Deco-esque surrounds (a la carte dishes are available, too, if your appetite isn’t quite up to scratch). Be warned: the restaurant is only open for dinner from Wednesdays to Sundays, so plan accordingly.
The entry-level Superior Suites start from US$238 per night including breakfast.
WHAT WE LOVE
- The decor here combines Colonial vintage and Art Deco style with a dose of modern sensibility – it’s utterly charming.
- This is an all-suite hotel, and each one has plenty of space and style.
- The hotel’s location is one of the best in town – you can walk to a number of the best sites and restaurants.
- Butler service is included in all suites, and it’s ever so useful for whatever you may need.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- The hotel offers airport transfers in BMWs – it’s easily the most comfortable (and stylish) way to arrive.
- The list of distinguish guests who have called The Strand Yangon home is long — everyone from George Orwell and Somerset Maugham to Mick Jagger and Prince Edward VIII has stayed here.
- The hotel has its own ship, The Strand Cruise. The luxe liner plies the Ayeyarwady River between Bagan and Mandalay on three or four-night itineraries.
- The hotel was brought to fame by the Sarkies Brothers, the same hoteliers responsible for the Raffles Hotel Singapore and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang.
The Strand Yangon is an all-suite hotel. Each of the 31 suites here offer plenty of space with aesthetics that seamlessly blend the old and new. Vintage furniture and original artworks sit comfortably with fresh drapery and modern Burmese objets d’art.
Suites feature vintage dressers with triptych mirrors and king-sized beds dressed in crisp white Egyptian cotton sheets, as well as a separate sitting area and plenty of luggage and wardrobe space. There’s even a well-stocked bar loaded with all the equipment you need to mix up your own 5pm cocktails (though you might as well give into dilettante inclinations and have your butler conjure them up for you). The expansive bathrooms feature double vanities, a soak tub and separate shower, and L’Occitane amenities.
Perhaps the best part, though, is the fact that each suite comes with attentive yet discrete butler service. Whether you need your clothes pressed or shoes shined, or are just after a mid-afternoon tea service in your suite, butlers are on hand on each floor to make sure guests’ needs are met promptly.
As part of its renovations, The Strand Yangon introduced upgraded wellness facilities in November 2017, such as its new pool. For a bit of pampering, two therapy rooms offer a range of spa treatments influenced by traditional Myanmar wellness therapies. Book ahead to try the signature Strand Massage. There’s also a new onsite gym fitted with a range of cardio and weight equipment by LifeFitness.
The new pool is fringed by sunbeds and cabanas and sits next to the hotel’s tranquil 800-square-meter shaded gardens.
TRAVEL IN STYLE
Chances are Yangon will be hot, so you’ll want to pack light, breathable clothes. If you’re visiting temples, you’ll need to cover your legs and shoulders. Planning to dine at one of The Strand Yangon’s restaurants? You’ll want to pack something a little nicer.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GO
This is Southeast Asia, so it’s hot and humid all year round. November to February are usually drier with lower temperatures. Avoid April to October when you’ll be facing the rainy season and unbearably oppressive temperatures that hit the 40s.
THE STRAND YANGON
92 Strand Road
+95 1 243 377