Royal Kalaw Hills Resort
Surreal as it may sound, the hill country of Myanmar is just the place to enjoy a stay in a charming English guest house, complete with mock Tudor details. You can almost imagine Hyacinth Bucket twitching the curtains here.
Make no bones about it, the Royal Kalaw Hills Resort has ideas above its (hill) station, as its self-aggrandising name suggests. But after extensive recent renovations, it is not without its unique charms, idiosyncratic though they can be.
The original Royal Kalaw Hills Resort building was constructed on a hillside just before the turn of the 20th Century and has the feeling of a small English country house. The views out over the deck and lawns contemplate Kalaw town below, with pine forest stretching into the distance.
The 14 rooms are probably the best bit: modern with stunning views from the windows and decent sized bathrooms displaying the occasional hint of design flare such as a counter-top sink. The furniture is a bit glitzy but there is plenty of storage and most rooms have beautiful teak floorboards, as well as wifi and open fireplaces for chilly evenings. The staff are very eager to please and will go out of their way to do anything that is asked of them.
The hotel restaurant serves both local and international cuisine, with outside seating in the pleasant gardens where you can enjoy a glass or two, while elsewhere there is a small spa offering a sauna and Jacuzzi.
Royal Kalaw Hills Resort is within longish walking (and certainly cycling) distance of Kalaw town although there is a sizeable hill on the approach which, depending on your view of life, may be seen as a daunting obstacle or an opportunity for some healthy exertion.
The hotel has bikes available for hire (and the cost is minimal) so jump on your chariot and head down the hill for a potter around town. Mrs Shw’mee is available to lead biking trips and is hugely knowledgeable about her hometown.
On your doorstep
The old colonial railway station nearby still retains charming original features such as the old clock made in London and the massive weighing scales from Rangoon.