Peacock Lounge at Sule Shangri-La Yangon seats 105 guests and serves High Tea from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Beautifully spruced up after a two-year renovation, and a rebranding into the Sule Shangri-La Yangon, the former Trader’s Hotel Yangon has been a major fixture in the city’s central business district for nearly two decades.
We’ve known Yangon and Trader’s from the “old” days, before Myanmar embarked on its new course toward democracy some three years ago, and it is a delight to see how things are rapidly changing for the better. But we were so glad to see Sule’s front doormen still sporting their traditional longyis—the ankle-length cylinder of cloth knotted at the waist worn by Burmese men—and their trademark dazzling Burmese smiles.
Pictured: Horizon Club Lounge, which has unobstructed views of the Shwedagon, can be accessed by Horizon Club room guests.
The 483 rooms on 22 floors look out over the city and, being just down the road from the city’s compass-center Sule Pagoda, the views are either of this landmark shrine and the city or the Yangon river or Myanmar’s venerated, stunning golden Shwedagon Pagoda.
The top-five floors are the Horizon Club rooms and suites that offer personal check-in, late check-out and the comforts of the Horizon Lounge, which has unobstructed views of the Shwedagon. Bonus: Club guests can enjoy a princely buffet of savory and sweet canapés with cocktails and very generous glasses of wine daily from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Deluxe, the spacious Executive and the two Club suites, which have separate living rooms, are from 710 to 1,354 square feet. The top-tier Presidential Suite is 2,000 square feet, and has a master bedroom overlooking the Shwedagon, a living room with a chess table, a kitchenette and a dining area that can seat up to 10. And it comes with butler service on request. The Deluxe and Executive suites and the Horizon rooms all feature elegantly cool beige and taupe décor, enlivened by colorful wall art of Burmese scenes. Bathrooms are fitted with bathtubs and rainforest showers. Good to know: Floors six, nine and 18 are smoking floors.
Café Sule serves international, Asian and local specialties.
With 60 connecting rooms across a combination of rooms and suites, there are plenty of solutions for families and groups. Resident Manager Dave Junker ([email protected]; 011-951-242-828 Ext. 6002) says dual rooms are also popular with the many families who are now traveling to Myanmar with young children. Luxury travel advisors should contact Dave or DOSM Agnes Pacis ([email protected]; 011-951-242-828 Ext. 6300) for clients who have special requests. Bookings should be planned well ahead of time as five-star rooms in Yangon are just not enough to meet the demand. Use [email protected], and remember the Presidential Suite cannot be booked through the GDS and, due to local laws and hotel policy, pets are not allowed.
For treatments in the spa, contact Manager Htay Hann Su Pyone ([email protected]; 011-951-242-828). She recommends booking in advance, as there are only five treatment rooms, and says the aromatherapy treatments are very popular with guests who come in jet-lagged after long-haul flights. The Health Club has fitness equipment, sauna and steam rooms and is beside the attractive outdoor pool area.
The Executive Suite comes with a bedroom, a living room and a spacious bathroom
The Sule is the only five-star hotel in Yangon to operate its own fleet of limousines, a reminder that luxury tourism is in its infancy in Myanmar. And the Sule cars even have Wi-Fi, which not so long ago was practically unavailable anywhere in the country. Head Concierge Moo Thaw ([email protected]) can suggest the must-sees in Yangon and the best shopping options—like the Scott Market, which is a three-minute walk and is a treasure-trove of Burmese artefacts, crafts and precious and semi-precious gemstones, and Pomelo, the city’s first fair-trade craft shop, which has a fantastic range of home-décor and souvenir items. Thaw can also book private jets or hot-air balloons for clients requesting five-star services, to visit the thousands of ancient temples in Bagan.
We found it hard to resist the lavish buffets in the Café Sule, which range from seafood to international, Indian and local specialties. And on Thursday nights, Executive Chef Roshan Fernando ([email protected]; 011-951-242-828) and his team put on a Japanese Night. We did not have time to try the Chinese Summer Palace restaurant, but word has it that the Peking Duck there is the best in town.
When in Asia, we love to have noodle soup for breakfast; and Chef Ho in Café Sule, with his steaming cauldrons of broth and colorful array of vegetables, fish, meats and condiments, customizes soups to clients’ tastes. Do suggest your A-listers to skip their usual breakfast cappuccino or latte and try one of Myanmar’s specialty soups. They will be amazed how light, yet wholesome, and incredibly flavorsome they are.