** Sule Shangri-La is offering a fun water festival package for stays between 8 April and 23 April 2017. See my Top Tips below for more details **
The word Shangri-La conjures up this mystical Eden, paradise on Earth. A hotel bearing the Shangri-La name has a lot to live up to and the 5-star Sule Shangri-La, located in downtown Yangon, does not disappoint.
From the beaming face that greeted me at the airport to the warm smiles of the lady bringing me my welcome drink as I checked in, it was clear that the staff at Sule Shangri-La was genuinely happy and this exuded in the warm service they provided. I stayed in four luxury hotels during my Myanmar trip and the hospitality at Sule Shangri-La topped the lot.
The hotel boasts 479 rooms over 20-plus floors of prime Yangon real estate. I was travelling with my family and we had two connecting rooms with unobstructed views of the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda. Each room is 34m2 (365 sqf) and well-designed, with ample room for storing away my luggage and its content. This is something I particularly appreciate (who wants to see the content of their suitcase scattered across a once neat and tidy hotel room?!) but many hotels, even some top-class ones, fail to provide sufficient space for. I also grew pretty fond of the comfy chaise longue by the window – perfect for watching the street life below.
The two pools at Sule Shangri-La are fringed by swaying palms. The main pool has a corner with built-in seats and Jacuzzi jets, a corner I headed to when I was feeling too lazy to swim. Our kids had fun in the shallow splash pool, and just the fact that there was a shallow pool for children made me love Sule Shangri-La even more. Did I mention that there was an attentive lifeguard on duty as well, who kept himself at a safe distance but always had his eyes trained on the kids? It really felt like we were well taken care of at the pool.
There are two restaurants and they serve some of the best food I had during my time in Myanmar: The more formal Summer Palace, cooking up delicious Cantonese food, and the casual Cafe Sule, a phenomenal international buffet. The standout dishes at The Summer Palace were the crab and sweetcorn soup, something I grew up devouring in London’s Chinatown, the lobster and onion stir fry, and the sensational prawn and cashew nut dish. The cocktails and fresh juices were well made and so lovely and refreshing on the hot Yangon day.
Cafe Sule served an incredible breakfast complete with an egg station, waffle and pancake stand, noodle soup stall and a delicious array of food from around the world: All this made me wish I was staying more nights just to sample more of the breakfast offering. Variety alone does not a good meal make, and it was the quality of the dishes on offered that made eating at Cafe Sule such a pleasure every morning. Without exception, the dishes were full of flavour, fresh and well cooked.
The dinner at Cafe Sule was even more extravagant. There was a catch of the day section with prawns, crab, mussels and razor clams. The grilled meat station had a wonderfully juicy minute steak that was so tender that it simply melted in my mouth. There were also a dozen or so international dishes (think sushi to prawn stir fry to curries). Whatever you do, make sure you leave plenty of room for the lavish array of desserts, which included mini chocolate pie, lychee jelly in miniature cocktail glasses, crème brulée, and of course the ubiquitous freshly made waffles. It was all so utterly delicious.
The airport transfer service was seamless and the driver did a superb job of navigating the bustling Yangon streets safely and smoothly. The car was comfy and roomy enough for our family of five. I appreciated the little touches, such as in-car Wi-Fi and plenty of cold, bottled water ready for us.
Sule Shangri-La has a fantastic, well-equipped gym. There were yoga and Zumba classes available during my stay, and the Beauty Centre offered manicures, pedicures and facials.
The best things
Attentive and friendly staff, superb food at both restaurants, downtown location close to everything
Sule Shangri-La has a Water Festival fun package offering accommodation, breakfast, a dinner for two at Cafe Sule, water festival t-shirts, waterproof pouches and the all-important water guns. While you’re there, make the most of the hotel’s fantastic location and head down the road to the lively Bogyoke Aung San Market, which is also called by its British name, Scott’s market. Brimming with gems and jewels, clothes, local arts and crafts, souvenirs, and even antiques – it’s easy to spend hours here. Make sure to stop by here Tuesday to Sunday – the market is closed on Mondays. You can also find the Yangon Central Station (a great day out is to take the Circular Railway from here) and the politically important Sule Pagoda a few minutes’ walk from the hotel.
The Travel Nova’s verdict
The service at Sule Shangri-La is faultless and – this part is often harder to accomplish – genuinely warm and friendly. On top of that, the food is divine and the location is amazing.
Sule Shangri-La (website)
223 Sule Pagoda Rd | Yangon 11182 | Myanmar
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*This post was sponsored by Sule Shangri-La.