Where to Stay in Myanmar’s Capital: The PARKROYAL Yangon
Despite rising visitor numbers, Myanmar’s capital of Yangon is a destination that remains largely untouched by tourism. In my first day spent wandering around the city, I could count on one hand the number of Westerners I bumped into, a delightful change from the majority of Southeast Asian countries I’d explored in the proceeding months. You might expect the quality of accommodation there to reflect this isolation from the rest of the world… until you stumble upon the modern, luxurious oasis that is The PARKROYAL Yangon.
2018 note: if you’re considering visiting Myanmar, I urge you to first research the government’s persecution of the Rohingya people. I strongly condemn the government’s actions, but I also recognize that the majority of the Burmese population, including the lovely PARKROYAL Yangon employees I met during my stay, have little to no say in what their government does. This article further explores the ethics of tourism in Myanmar. Whether you visit the country now or wait to see if things change has to be your decision. This post is merely a write-up of the experience I had at a beautiful hotel prior to the escalation of the Rohingya Crisis.
After a marvelous staycation at Sydney’s PARKROYAL Darling Harbour and a fantastic visit to the PARKROYAL Saigon in Vietnam, I was eager to explore the hotel’s other locations, including Yangon’s. I had a few days in Myanmar’s capital before moving on to the temples of Bagan, giving me the perfect opportunity to check out the PARKROYAL Yangon. And it impressed from the moment I stepped through the doors.
The hotel’s location is perfect: it’s just a few minutes’ walk to the city center, and other major Yangon attractions—some of Myanmar’s true highlights—such as the Shwedagon Pagoda, are only minutes away by taxi. The best way to see Yangon is simply to wander, observing the city’s blend of English and Burmese architecture, strolling through the markets, and tasting local cuisine. The PARKROYAL Yangon is in the ideal spot for heading outside and simply seeing what you see.
Rooms begin at just $135 U.S. per night, but the hotel also offers luxurious, multiroom suites for those really looking to maximize their stay. Each room is tastefully decorated with modern elegance and Eastern flair, complete with a seating area and desk. You’ll find wifi, large TVs, a fully-stocked minibar, and coffee and tea facilities in each, and windows look out onto either the hotel pool or the city.
Guests who book an Orchid Club room are treated to even more perks: you’ll zip through an express check-in and stay on an exclusive floor, where you’ll also find a Club Lounge, which serves complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres each evening. You’ll also be greeted with a drink and fruit basket and get restaurant discounts and other freebies throughout your stay. If you’re traveling for business or you just enjoy treating yourself, the Orchid Club is the perfect way to stay at the PARKROYAL Yangon.
Even if you never set foot outside the hotel (which I strongly recommend against!), everything you need is contained within. Work off that mohinga in the gym, join an aerobics or yoga class, relax in the sauna, and then cool off in the outdoor pool. Book a traditional Burmese Thanaka massage at the spa, and then taste the best of local and international cuisine at one of the hotel’s three restaurants (more on those in another post!), topped off with a drink at The Lobby Bar.
Yangon is a fascinating city that’s well worth exploring. Whether you’re visiting Myanmar on business or as a tourist, if you’re looking for comfort and elegance, there’s nowhere better to rest your head than the PARKROYAL Yangon.