Mandalay hotels are typically all tall, thin modern buildings, but top marks to Bagan King's owners who have gone to great lengths to disguise this format with a full-on, ye-olde Bagan theme.
The exterior of what is basically a seven-storey rectangle is finished in red-painted brick with elaborate, temple-style arched doorways. Inside, the dark ochre reception area is dimly lit with statues of mediaeval warriors, massive teak furniture and a hard to describe but incredibly elaborate ceiling; even the front desk is a recreation of a Bagan shrine. (You can be sure they considered dressing bellboys up as King Anawratha’s bodyguards but fortunately someone was a voice of reason.) Anyway, we shouldn’t criticise for too much effort; the result is impressive and we bet the builders had a lot of fun.
Rooms are much more restrained and they’ve gone for a simple look of white walls and varnished teak, with minimal finishing. Well, apart from the faux-brick bathrooms.
As the building is new as of 2016, bed and bathrooms are spotlessly clean and everything works well. Most (but not all) rooms are bright with decent views. None however have balconies and we’re not sure why they didn’t see fit to add any but a good touch was double glazing throughout to keep traffic (and dog) noise to a minimum.
They reckon their WiFi is above average and breakfasts get good reviews. It's served in their top-floor restaurant where the Bagan theme makes a big comeback. There’s plenty of carved, dark wood, more brick walls and a truly spectacular ceiling again – this time entirely covered with murals done by Mandalay’s top Michelangelo impersonator.
The unobstructed views from the seventh floor are spectacular and it’s worth popping in for a look – at views plus ceiling – even if you’re not staying here. There’s even a telescope for guests in the funky little adjacent bar area.
And while Bagan King might be on the OTT side, considering the quality and size of the rooms, it's good value for money too. We saw some very good online booking deals to be had last time we looked, so do check availability with Agoda and Booking.
The location isn't bad, a couple of blocks down from the moat on relatively quiet 73rd Street.
Address: Corner of 73rd and 28th Streets, Mandalay
T: (02) 67123-4, (096) 816 666; F: (02) 67125
Coordinates (for GPS): 96º5'44.4" E, 21º58'46.9" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: US$40 to $100
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Superior double room||US$70||US$100|
|Deluxe double room||US$80||US$120|
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.
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