Expensive but good
Our top luxury choice for Mandalay is The Hotel by the Red Canal, a small hotel that remains low-key and unpretentious but offers a superb setting and professional staff.
We counted 26 rooms split over four price categories in this hotel, set in an immaculately tended tropical garden surrounding a medium-sized pool. In turn this is surrounded by a teak deck providing plenty of seating areas amid streams and walkways. Rooms are in a three-storey white-painted teak building with traditional Burmese roof.
Rooms themselves are classy and attractively laid out; though the hotel is popular and they don’t have problems filling rooms in high season, it doesn’t seem to stop the bubbly staff from going to lengths to keep guests happy. When we visited in low season, free afternoon tea and snacks was served between 14:00 and 17:00, while cocktail hour from 18:00 to 19:00 offered two free cocktails per guest. We got the impression the manager enjoyed this as much as the residents and her mingling with guests is a commendable touch.
Rooms are named after different Burmese ethnic groups: Rakhine, Kachin, Shan and Chin. Rakhine and Kachin come with limited views and no balconies, and while the former are slightly larger, fancy outdoor Bali-style showers in the latter account for a higher rate. Shan rooms have balconies and are on the top two floors at the front of the main building with views over the pool. The most expensive Chin rooms are on the ground floor, with excellent balconies overlooking an artificial stream and beyond the pool.
Interior decoration reflects the ethnic group after which the room is named but all are very tasteful and the exterior teak and white extends to interior walls and floors. Fittings and furnishings are what you’d expect at this pricepoint. They claim the best WiFi connection in town but we didn’t try it.
The high-roofed restaurant for inclement weather is as well designed as everything else around here is and offers Indian and Burmese specialities for lunch or dinner. If we were going to splurge in Mandalay this is where we’d do it, and we reckon it’s worth paying a bit extra for the brighter, balcony rooms. In mid-2016 they still hadn’t fixed their high season rates.
The hotel has a quiet location in a residential area of eastern Mandalay only a short walk from the palace moat. Mandalay Hill and adjacent temples are within walking distance, though you would need a taxi to get down to the cafes and restaurants of 81 and 82 Streets. (If you’re staying here, you’ll be able to afford one.) Rates quoted below include service and tax.
Address: Corner of 63 & 22 Streets, Mandalay
T: (02) 61177; (02) 68543; F: (02) 61464
Coordinates (for GPS): 96º6'42.15" E, 21º59'15.64" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: US$100 to $200
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
|Superior double room|
|Deluxe double room|
Shan. Chin: $186.
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Mandalay