I love old traditional hotels. It is a hobby of mine to stay, if it is affordable. Still my favourite one is the Mount Lavinia in Colombo/Sri Lanka. And on my long list of hotels around the world I still plan to visit was the Strand in Yangon on top. It is a relic of the same colonial-era legacy as the Oriental in Bangkok, the Raffles in Singapore and the Eastern & Oriental in Georgetown.
Opened in 1901 by the Sarkies Brothers, the hotel in its early years hosted the writers Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell and Somerset Maugham. During World War II, the Strand was used to house Japanese troops. Burmese nationals were not allowed to stay in the hotel until 1945. And in its darkest period, from 1962 to 1989, the hotel was owned and managed by the Burmese government.
The latest incarnation of the Strand dates to 1995. It’s very much a luxury affair, with heaps of charm and history – even the bathroom fixtures are vintage. In the lovely colonial bar I enjoyed a delicious Whisky Sour.