The city of Yangon, which was a British colony from 1852 until 1948, was a leading port during its heyday at the turn of the 19th century. With it’s stately government buildings, colonial Yangon flaunted some of the finest Victorian architecture still standing east of London.
As Yangon rapidly develops into a modern tourist destination, The Strand Hotel remains a bastion of imperial elegance with its high ceilings, teak floor-to-ceiling windows and lacquered fans. From the main entrance off Strand Road, one is instantly transported back to an era of gentility.
The day begins with breakfast at the Strand Cafe, where light streams in through the tall windows facing Yangon Road. A selection of Burmese and British specialties are on the menu, and you may order as many items as you please (trust me, i had trouble narrowing down my list to what I would actually be able to eat in one sitting). Although I enjoyed my pomelo salad with mint and then a heaping plate of almond french toast, I regret not tasting the Strand's take on the Burmese national dish, mohinga.
On each of its 3 floors, there sits a butler, which says more than I can possibly describe about the throwback vibe of the Strand Hotel. My first step into the suite, with its high ceilings, large windows, and hand carved wood furniture was quite breathtaking. It was clear at that moment why luminaries such as Somerset Maugham, David Rockefeller, and Rudyard Kipling spent time at the Strand.
After a day of exploring the magnificent pagodas of Yangon, it was a joy to come home to such a palatial room and wash my dusty feet (shoes are not allowed at any places of worship) in the tub with the fragrant amenities.
A stay wouldn't be complete without a cocktail at the legendary Strand Bar, where, according to the New York Times, "a worldly mélange of hotel guests, expatriates and locals gather to throw back a Dagon Beer". Like every other detail at The Strand, each cocktail is meticulously made and served with roasted peanuts. I sipped my Strand Sour by the window just before departing to Yangon Airport.
The Strand Hotel 92 Strand Road, Yangon, Myanmar