Seven hours, it was the shortest hotel stay we’ve had so far. And it saddened us to leave the lovely staff and the fastest WiFi internet connection in the country, yes, Sule Shangri-La Hotel Yangon has the fastest internet connection in the whole of Myanmar.
We’re on the fourteenth day of our two-month summer backpacking trip around Southeast Asia after our wonderful holiday in Bali and Yogyakarta. Next on our itinerary was the Golden Land, and we’re just in time for Myanmar’s most celebrated festival of the year.
It was day one of the Thingyan (Water) Festival and we’re running away from the kids who were aiming some bucketsful of water at us, good timing, I thought. We dashed outside the Yangon International Airport where a bunch of cabbies came up to our way. We walked past them and headed to the main road and easily hailed a cab.
Tugging our backpacks, we entered Sule Shangri-La Hotel, Yangon and went directly to the front desk. We had a booking reservation for one night, but with the changes on our schedule, we couldn’t stay for the night. We bought a train ticket heading to Mandalay that same day at five in the afternoon, and it was around ten in the morning (we had no choice for there will be no buses and trains leaving Yangon for the next five days).
With plans of exploring the town in less than seven hours, we moved to the breakfast area after the check-in process and stuffed ourselves before we went out to the battle zone.
We headed to Café Sule where the complimentary buffet breakfast was served for all the in-house guests. The buffet spread was a combination of local and international breakfast items.
I wanted to try out the local foodstuff so I overloaded my plate with authentic Burmese dishes which was our first take on the said cuisine. It didn’t disappoint.
After a very satisfying breakfast, we headed to our room for a quick rest. Thoughts of what ifs came across me as we’re walking down the hallway. I was thinking of ditching our plans to explore the other side of the country and just stay in Yangon, I was kinda feeling low for our short stay.
We were assigned to a Deluxe Room (check rates) that was tastefully furnished with a King-sized bed, satellite T.V., separate work station with full-size executive writing desk and castor chair, electronic safe, mini-bar, coffee and tea-making facilities.
The lush toilet and bath was well-equipped with; a bathtub with fitted hot and cold rain shower, two lavatories, and a marbled countertop with vanity mirror (plus magnified mirror) and pumped up Premium Shangri-La toiletries (the shampoo and conditioner were divine).
I prepared two cups of coffee for me and my buddy before we commence our quick Yangon tour. We sat on the daybed that was rested at the side of the huge glass window. We had a great view of the city with the colonial buildings and the shining pagodas which made me wished that we could stay there some more.
Our room has Horizon Club privileges which entitled us to have a private check-in and check-out at the Horizon Club Lounge on the 21st floor. Complimentary all-day non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits, sunset drinks and canapés, newspapers and use of private meeting rooms are available at the lounge which had the amazing view of the city (Yangon River, pagodas and other important landmarks in the city).
As it was the Thingyan Water Festival, guests were provided with free shuttle to and fro Shangri-La Serviced Apartments (near the Kandawgyi Lake) to witness the happenings at this side of the city. We saw some guests who were fully-armed with water guns and stuff. It looked really fun which made me wanna join them, but then... we're leaving in a few hours (me hate it).
The staff on the lobby suggested that we could walk for a few minutes to reach the town center, the concentration of all the festivities. We checked out the Shwedagon Pagoda and People’s Park which was a 10-minute walk from Sule Shangri-La Hotel. We’re glad to have taken his advice for we had a blast with getting soaked on the first day of the festival.
Drenched in water, we walked back to our hotel with laughter and fun memories. We weren’t prepared to be soaked but the staff were all forgiving as we entered the lush lobby. We were apologetic as we walked our way to the lift while drenching the floor. Again, everyone seemed to be ok with it.
We rushed to our room, had a quick shower and another round of coffee, and napped for a while. I panicked as I heard my buddy waking me up. His voice was alarming. So I grabbed my stuff and packed away in a flash (wishing we could stay an hour more).
We went down and were asked by a staff if we needed a cab to get to the train station, we gladly told them that we wanted to walk. They pretty much warned us of our belongings getting wet, and from the people along the rail for throwing bucketsful of water, Duly noted, I uttered.
It was sad to leave Yangon that early but we needed to move on to fulfill our plans. And cliché as it is, we still have more reasons to come back, indeed.
Besides the perfect location and the 5-star luxury experience, what I love most about Sule Shangri-La Hotel Yangon was the warm reception from all the staff. They were always there to answer each and every query we had. They were all so great that you won't be requiring them at all for they will provide you with what they think you need right before you realize you needed them. Get it? :)
Sule Shangri-La Hotel, Yangon (book online)
223 Sule Pagoda Road, GPO Box 888,
Contact Number: (+95) 1.242.828