In a word, odd! The Kyaing Tong New Hotel is what passes for upmarket in Kengtung and despite its name is one of the oldest hotels in town -- since it is currently undergoing renovation we'll desist from being too critical.
The hotel was built on the site of the demolished Lord of Kengtung's palace – a spectacular Indian maharaja-style palace considered too reminiscent of past Shan glories by the government, which built a large concrete hotel on its prime lakeside location, before offloading it to the "private sector". The interior is being renovated and rooms are actually very good though the exterior has an awful lot of work still to do. The once lush gardens are an overgrown jungle full of packs of roaming dogs and the large pool is now empty except for stagnant rain water. When we visited the entire staff were on the balcony (which does have great views over the lake) varnishing furniture, so efforts are being made and there is potential. Room prices however reflect room improvements rather than building and garden renovation so it does work out on the expensive side. The huge suites may be a good family option as long as you don't let the kids venture too far into the 'garden'. That said, a standard room during low season is still considerably better than what you'd get at the Princess Hotel. As usual transport and trekking are on offer and staff are very welcoming. Rates include breakfast.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 10th February, 2014.