Yangon is a bustling and hectic metropolis with somewhat between 6 and 8 million inhabitants (nobody knows for sure), a city of chaotic traffic and constant noise. Much like many other Southeast Asian cities you might get quite a culture (and sensory) shock when you arrive here. Therefore a hotel like Belmond Governor’s Residence comes as a much welcomed retreat from the city!
From overwhelmed senses to a quiet mind
Exploring cities like Yangon is exciting and inspirational, but at the same time nerve-wrecking and exhausting. So nothing is more important than a safe haven after a day of immersing yourself in the city. This is exactly what Belmond Governor’s Residence offers: It’s like an oasis amidst the chaos, a retreat from the noises and smells of the city. We spent 3 nights here right at the beginning of our Myanmar roundtrip and it turned out to be the best way to ease ourselves into the chaos of Yangon.
First impressions of Belmond Governor’s Residence Yangon – a green oasis!
A central, yet quiet location
The hotel is located in the diplomat’s district of Yangon among embassies with huge gardens and secured walls. This part of Yangon feels like it doesn’t really belong to the city, although it’s very centrally located. In fact it’s only a 5 minute drive to the most famous sight of the city: The Shwedagon pagoda. And although you’re close to the most important sights this area of the city is like a little village inside the city – with virtually no traffic and a lot of greenery.
Yangon’s most important temple – the Shwedagon Pagoda – is only minutes from the hotel.
Hidden away from the noise
And although the Governor’s Residence is so central, it feels more like staying at the outskirts of the city. The small driveway that leads to the reception desk of the hotel already gives away a bit of the promise. A wooden deck opens up with a long teak wood walkway leading through a small park to the main building. While two peacocks graze on the side of the path, the huge fan-shaped pool promises a cool-down after the city tour.
The main teak wood building is surrounded by a giant fan-shaped pool and lush gardens.
The hot midday hours are best spent in the shade of the Burmese umbrellas at the pool.
Colonial architecture & heritage treats
In the main building of the Governor’s Residence you’ll find the bar & restaurant and a small gift-shop filled with Burmese handcraft items. A wooden staircase leads up to the second floor of the restaurant and bar – with views over the pool and a selection of local art is up for sale.
Every day starts under the wooden fans with an à la carte breakfast.
The second floor of the main building is the perfect place for morning yoga & afternoon drinks.
The secluded guest rooms
After passing through the main building another courtyard opens up with a couple more two-storey colonial buildings. These are the guest rooms, hidden away from any neighbour, street, sound or smell of the city. We enter our oasis and feel quite relaxed immediately. It’s good to be away from the hustle and bustle a little bit!
In this green sanctuary it’s easy to relax from the chaos of Yangon.
Colonial room style
The rooms at the Belmond Governor’s Residence are decorated in a unique blend of Burmese and colonial style and dominated by dark teak wood. Now, this might not be according to everybody’s taste – as the whole room becomes quite dark – but it sure feels like a wonderfully quiet sanctuary, that lets the senses calm down.
A teak wood retreat – spacious, yet still cozy and absolutely quiet.
The bathrooms are spacious, with two sinks, a big walk-in shower and a separate toilet.
Laundry service deluxe
If there’s anything to complain about, then it’s the humidity in the rooms. During our visit in the beginning of October it was still the last leg of the rainy season hence the humidity was incredibly high and creeped into the rooms of the hotel as well. Drying our sweaty clothes became impossible under these circumstances. But the laundry service of the Governor’s Residence helped us with this problem!
We used the laundry service in nearly every hotel in Myanmar, as the humid heat made us use a lot more clothes than usually 🙂
Comparison is key
During our month in Myanmar we returned to Yangon twice and stayed in two other hotels (Hotel Savoy and Chatrium Hotel) as well – so we have a bit of a comparison now. The Governor’s Residence is most definitely the #1 hotel in Yangon – not only due to it’s incredible architecture and wonderful flair, but mostly for it’s secluded location. We didn’t find as much calm & quiet anywhere else in Yangon again!
The pool at Belmond Governor’s Residence is probably the most relaxed place in the city!
Traveller type for Belmond Governor’s Residence
The ideal traveller type for the Belmond Governor’s Residence would be someone who likes to reminisce about past times, enjoys quiet and calm and has an interest in the colonial history of Myanmar. Staying in a place with history adds incredible value to understanding more about a destination and get a sense of how life in Myanmar must have been during British times.
The Governor’s Residence is no hotel for people who like modern architecture or entertainment. Also you won’t be able to immerse yourself in the city life right at the doorstep. You could potentially walk to some of the close-by sights, but in the heat and chaos of the city a taxi ride is our absolute recommendation anyhow. We believe being a bit away from the hustle and bustle is a good thing when in Yangon, which won’t become our favourite Asian city anyways (but that’s another story 🙂 ).
Disclaimer: We were invited to stay at Belmond Governor’s Residence for 2 nights and paid a reduced press rate for the 3rd night, but our views of the hotel stay independent from that invitation.