Novotel Inle Lake
PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget
Having opened only a couple of years ago, this place is different to the rest at Inle Lake, Myanmar. Why? Because it’s massive and made of concrete. In other words, all the ingredients of a classic Novotel. And that makes it a breath of fresh air for those who find themselves tiring of the vernacular Burma architecture of thatched roofs and ubiquitous teak. The design is Asian inspired, but it’s is angular and modern in every way. And it’s a hotel with one magical ingredient…
As you would expect of a Novotel, it delivers on facilities, from a large, infinity pool and a sunken bar to a Jacuzzi and hammam. There is a superb gym and the spa is light and airy, with a range of divine treatments perfumed with eucalyptus, pine and water hyacinth.
Rooms come in a myriad different categories, depending on your whim and budget. The beds are extremely comfortable, the linen is thick and crisp, while the occasional furniture is contemporary. The bathrooms are sizable, many with free-standing baths and separate rain showers.
And now for the magical bit. The aptly named Sunset terrace and bar provides early evening views that are out of this world as the sun drops down onto the high hills of the Shan plateau directly across the lake, making it glow a golden yellow colour. This has got to be the best sunset spot on Inle Lake. Beat that for perfect sundowners.
You can pretty much snack at most spots around the hotel, including the pool bar, Sunset bar, lobby lounge and Terrace restaurant. The food throughout is excellent, with a broad selection of cuisines, although there is a tendency to favour Asian fusion.
So, a Western hotel short on local charm but with all of the mod cons and sunsets to die for. Is it for you?
If the budget allows, push the boat out and go for a villa over the water. Waking up with direct views on the lake and wandering out in the morning to discover the lotus flowers surrounding your room opening in the morning sunshine is magical.
On your doorstep
The whole lake! There isn’t much on the land side so go out in your private boat captained by a local Intha and with an expert guide to explore the fascinating stilt villages.