The Sanctum

Sophisticrats, Well-heeled Globetrotters and Romantics

PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget

RATING: Wow factor

The Sanctum Inle Resort is a Yonder hot pick. The brainchild of Parisian Brigitte Dumont de Chassart, this is a hotel that offers an experience like no other on Inle Lake, Myanmar. Designed to inspire contemplation through invoking conceptual overtones of a European monastery with cloisters, Spanish arches and beamed ceilings, it is also reminiscent of colonial buildings throughout the wider region.

Interior décor is minimalist and stripped back. It is elegant and tasteful. The Sanctum hotel rooms vary in size but all sport high lofty ceilings, hardwood floors and superb modern bathrooms. Depending on category, they are either located in the main building or villas scattered across the grounds.

The successful blending of period architecture with ultra-modern minimalist interiors is a hard task to achieve but they have smashed it at the Sanctum Inle Lake. Throw in vibrant lotus silk cushions, quality linen and velvety towels, and you’ll feel you’ve found nirvana (without the inconvenience of having to devote yourself to years of solitary meditation).

The Cloisters Bar is a delightful late afternoon and evening retreat and represents the height of sophistication on Inle Lake. You’ll find a broad range of Myanmar beers, vintage wines from the Inle Red Mountain Estate and some excellent blended whiskies. The Refectory restaurant serves up the best Shan food we have eaten, with much to choose from, including noodles, curries and fresh garden salads. It is lauded for its broader regional fare, as well as its expertly prepared Western classics.

And how could we forget the Mohinga? The Refectory’s version of the classic Myanmar dish is the best we have tried – soupy with intense flavours of lime, coriander, spring onions and chili.

Yonder Insight

The Head To Toe Sanctuary Journey is our favourite spa treat. The 90-minute long treatment is the ultimate way to get into relaxation mode. You’ll leave feeling like you can walk on Inle Lake (best not to try it).

On your doorstep

Just a stone’s skim away (ok, a pretty big one) are the villages of Inle Lake, each of which has a craft speciality. The Ywama village is famous for its goldsmiths and silversmiths whilst the Phaw Khone is renowned for its delicate silk weaving.

Thoughts on a postcard

Sanctum hotel chef Kyi Pyar took us to his organic vegetable gardens on the shore of Inle lake. There were greens, marrows and courgettes and a range of fragrant herbs including basil, coriander and thyme. That evening, all this beautiful produce landed on our plate, cooked up with garlic and chilies.

Thoughts on a postcard

Sanctum hotel chef Kyi Pyar took us to his organic vegetable gardens on the shore of Inle lake. There were greens, marrows and courgettes and a range of fragrant herbs including basil, coriander and thyme. That evening, all this beautiful produce landed on our plate, cooked up with garlic and chilies.

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The Sanctum: the map

Alternative accommodation in Inle Lake

Inle Princess Resort

Inle Princess welcomes guests back time and time again. Renowned for its excellent staff, quality food and its beautiful location, it is one of the best on Inle Lake, Myanmar. Its location, with its own private canal entrance, is simply magical. It’s an enclave of tranquillity. Okay, it’s not the most modern but we certainly rate it for atmosphere and consistency.

Novotel Inle Lake

Having opened only recently, 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 tiring of the vernacular architecture of thatched roofs and ubiquitous teak. And it has one magical ingredient...

Aureum Palace Inle

All hotels within the Aureum Palace group are idiosyncratic in style… and this one at Inle Lake, Myanmar, is no exception. You’ll arrive to water features, statues, huge columns and a heavily teak-lined open reception. From here, the hotel cascades down towards the lake shore, occupying as it does a lovely lake-front setting with a huge pool overlooking the water.