The Strand

Imperialists, Historians and Sophisticrats

PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget

RATING: Wow factor

The Strand hotel is Grand Dame of Yangon, Burma. We have a real soft spot for her. And yet again, she was the brainchild of our faithful old chums the entrepreneurial Sarkies brothers (remember them from Singapore and Penang?).

These days, the Strand Yangon is a little tired around the edges but isn’t that what’s to be expected? Even with her Sunday best on, this grand old lady still bears the wrinkles of her venerable age.

A description of The Strand in a traveller’s handbook from the early 20th Century calls it the ‘finest hostelry east of Suez’ and even today she stands tall and proud – albeit lacking some modern refinements such as a swimming pool.

But there is character at the Strand hotel Yangon in spades. The lobby ceiling fans are made from cane, the polished marble floor still shines with all its glory, the dining room is light and airy with huge windows designed to let the in the breeze and Burmese teak floorboards line the upper floors.

The Strand hotel rooms are spacious with a few reproduction antiques dotted here and there, as well as a charming collection of old world history books for fascinating bedtime reading.

The food is superb; a vast menu of Burmese, Thai, Chinese and Western fare, all cooked up with passion and skill. And it is definitely worth making a reservation for The Strand Grill, which enjoys a fine reputation among the local elite.

You will find yourself swept up by the magic and bygone era elegance of the colonial landmark that is the Strand hotel Yangon. It’s not polished like Raffles in Singapore or manicured like the Eastern & Oriental in Penang but it’s real (although the planned programme of refurbishment may change this charming old hotel).

Yonder Insight

We’ve been told The Strand’s afternoon tea is the third best in all Asia (needless to say the Sarkies brothers founded numbers one and two as well). We can’t disagree. (Mumbled apologies as we wipe a few stray crumbs from our faces).

On your doorstep

The beauty of the Strand is that downtown Yangon is all within walking distance. There are bars and restaurants within just a few blocks, the stunning old post office building is within touching distance and cultural gems such as Sule Pagoda and Scott’s Market are just a stone's throw away.

Thoughts on a postcard

Sitting amid the teak panels of The Strand Bar, sipping the house Strand Sour, we thought of all those who had been before us: Edward VIII, Mountbatten, Kipling and Orwell to name but a few.

Thoughts on a postcard

Sitting amid the teak panels of The Strand Bar, sipping the house Strand Sour, we thought of all those who had been before us: Edward VIII, Mountbatten, Kipling and Orwell to name but a few.

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The Strand: the map

Alternative accommodation in Yangon

The Governor’s Residence

Without doubt, the hotel to experience in Rangoon. Actually, let’s make that in the whole of Burma. The Governor’s Residence hotel has no competition, even among the best of Burma luxury hotels. This is an early 20th Century colonial mansion, in fact the former home of the governor of the southern states of Myanmar, which has been restored to create a 49-bedroom hotel of unparalleled luxury.