I’ve always said it and I’ll say it again, there’s something special about Shangri-La Hotels, I call it ‘the Shangri-La Way’ something that stands out and a welcome you won’t receive any where else. The Sule Shangri-La Hotel, a very popular luxury hotel in Yangon Myanmar was no different, once you step inside those doors, you know you’re about to experience something truly wonderful and it never fails to impress.
The Sule Shangri-La Hotel opened in November 1996, the hotel opened as Traders Hotel in 1996 and was re-branded to the Sule Shangri-La in 2014 after an extensive renovation. The hotel has 474 rooms consisting of deluxe rooms, Horizon Club rooms, various suites, a presidential suite and one bedroom apartments. The Sule Shangri-La Hotel, an older hotel in Yangon Myanmar area. On arrival you’ll receive a warm ‘Mingalabar’ which means hello. Myanmar is also known as the ‘Golden Land’ due to all the gold draped over the thousands of Pagodas, in particular the Shwedagon Pagoda which is believed to contain 8 strands of hair from Buddha.
We completed our loop of Myanmar arriving back in Yangon at 7am after a 12 hour bus ride from Inle Lake. The roads are very rough and full of pot holes which doesn’t enduce much sleep along the way. We arrived at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Yangon tired, exhausted and in desperate need of a long hot shower, well that’s how I felt and the rest of the family didn’t look any better.
I knew as soon as we walked in that we would be in for a treat, there are many hotels to choose from in Yangon Myanmar and you know when you arrive here that you’ve made a great choice. I had an arrangement with the hotel and they knew that we would be checking in early and leaving early the next morning for our flight home to Melbourne. On arrival our bags were taken care of and delivered to our room not long after we walked through the door. We went to check in and were promptly escorted to the Horizon Executive Club Lounge for a personalised check in with a welcome juice and cool refreshing towel, we were invited back for breakfast after freshening up in our room. Check in as always was quick and efficient and before we knew it, we were on our way to our room.
The Sule Shangri-La Hotel is located right in the heart of downtown Yangon, walking distance to most of the main attractions including Bogyoke Market, Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandula Park, Yangon Central Railway Station, Junction City Shopping Mall, Yangon City Hall and Aung San Stadium.
Hotels such as the Shangri-La luxury hotels are at the top end of the hotel market and will not be cheap, however you are paying for the point of difference, the exceptional service provided and for a stand out experience that you’ll never forget. That’s something worth paying for, the ‘Shangri-La Way’, try it, you won’t want to go back.
Use this link for bookings direct with the hotel.
However, I have a few options which will help you find a competitive rate, I always use third party aggregators when looking for accommodation, these sites provide a competitive rate more often than not cheaper than what the hotels offer. I advise you to use the three links below, compare the prices as they will all be slightly (sometimes substantially) different and go with the one that suits you best.
Remember a mid-week stay is usually cheaper than a weekend so organise your itinerary around weekends or any major events or long weekends to minimise costs.
We were escorted to our room by a front office team member, when she opened the door to our room I had ‘the Shangri-La happiness’ wash over me again. My mouth dropped to the floor and I had a beaming smile on my face. We had a Club Suite, with adjoining room for the kids, the Club Suite includes a separate lounge area for relaxing in.
The Club Suite has dark timber furniture giving the warm oriental feel that is synonymous with all Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts I have stayed in, particularly the original Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. The master king size bed was decorated with the word ‘welcome’ made from orchid petals and a beautiful bunch of flowers on the make up desk. If you know me, you know I love fresh flowers and this was the perfect personal touch for making me feel at home.
I went straight to my bedroom window, I knew which way to look for a view of Shwedagon Pagoda, the crown landmark of all of Yangon, their most famous and most loved Pagoda and I could see it from the bedroom window. What better view to wake up to. Anywhere with a view to the Shwedagon Pagoda is prime real estate in Yangon and one that people will gladly pay for. It really was a great honour to be able to wake up to see it sparkling in the golden glow of sunrise.
Our Club Suite lounge area had welcome platter of fresh fruit, chocolate shortbreads and a personalised welcome letter from the General Manager. There was enough luxurious furniture for all 5 of us to relax on and a wall mounted large screen television. I hadn’t seen any news since leaving Australia so I put the news on to see what had been happening in the world.
The Club Suite came with a tea and coffee station including a coffee machine with pods. It had a gorgeous traditional clay tea set that I thought definitely would have suited our house at home! I love that the hotel provides enough tea and coffee to last a week, meaning you are welcome to really make yourself at home. The mini bar was also fully stocked with soft drinks, beer, wine and basic spirits, however if your favourite drop was not accounted for, you are more than welcome to call housekeeping and they would deliver it to your room because that’s the Shangri-La difference, they make things happen!
If the suite wasn’t already perfect, there was also a desk and chair, ideal for the business guest but also a great station for charging all the electronics that a family of 5 travels with these days. Between both Craig and my laptops, iPhones, camera, GoPro, the kids iPads, Alannah’s iPhone we really do need a bit of space for all these products. I love that the Shangri-La makes space a priority over profit and this is evident in the room sizes.
The marble bathroom was spacious and located off the hall through to the master bedroom. I had to laugh when Caelan walked in and announced that there were two toilets in the bathroom! I then had to explain to him how to use a bidet and what its purpose was. It was one interesting conversation about toilets with a 9 year old boy!
I had a long soak in the deep bath tub and used that bath salts provided while Craig took the kids to the pool in the afternoon. The kids thought it was funny when they came back to the room and I was in the hotel robe and slippers at 5pm in the afternoon. I meant for those slippers to make their way into my luggage but we were very short on space. I was also very happy to see a separate walk in shower, I much prefer that to a shower over the bath tub which I think is an accident waiting to happen.
What I really loved about the Club Suite was all the windows, they let in a great deal of natural light. Every part of the suite had a window with a different view of Yangon. I’m a really visual person, I take the time to look out the windows and I always open the curtains to allow the natural light in. Unfortunately we only stayed one night here and we were leaving before dawn so I didn’t get to sit in the window and watch sunrise which is one of my favourite things to do at a hotel.
The kids had an adjoining deluxe room with very comfortable twin king single beds. It’s hard enough to get Alannah, our teen, our of bed at the best of times but from this luxuriously comfortable bed, it was near on impossible. There was a welcome platter of fruit which Keira was straight into, along with the chocolate shortbreads. What a welcome!
I could hear the kids calling, ‘Mum look what’s on our beds’. The staff had placed Shangri-La plush dogs on each of the kids beds to make them feel at home and welcome. Towel art was something we experienced on a recent cruise, the housekeeping staff had created elephants from bath towels, placed them on the kids pillows and decorated them with beautiful orchid petals. I love those little gestures that make the whole family feel welcome, there was also a special toothbrush and cup in the kids bathroom especially for each of them. They really had gone above and beyond to welcome the kids and I was really appreciative of that.
The girls had the adjoining room and Caelan shared with us in the master. Not that I knew he was there. The girls really enjoyed having the extra bathroom to themselves and having two bathrooms makes a huge difference, especially when you have a 4.30am wake up for an early flight out like we did. The kids room also had another flat screen television so the kids could watch their shows while I watched mine in the suite.
The adjoining room had its own welcome platter or fruit which was fantastic, we didn’t have to have the fight over who had what and I was glad to see it mostly consisted of fresh fruit which the kids love anyway. The shortbread biscuits were a lovely addition but I have to admit the kids did devour the fresh fruit pretty quickly. There was an oversized window in this room as well which is great for letting in natural light, you could see the Yangon Central Railway Station from this room.
All guests staying in Horizon Club rooms, including all the suites receive access to the Horizon Club Lounge which is located on the 21st floor of the hotel and occupies quite a large area. The Horizon Club Lounge is perfect for the business traveller where they can relax outside of their room and there are a number of local and international newspapers available to read in lounge area with floor to ceiling windows to take in the views.
There is a buffet breakfast served each morning and the table seating area has a great view of the Shwedagon Pagoda. We sat sipping our tea and eating our eggs benedict while taking in the amazing view across downtown Yangon to the Shwedagon Pagoda.
There is a menu for how you like your eggs cooked and then the buffet which is pretty extensive for club lounge. There was traditional asian options as well as western fare that we know and love, pastries, yogurt and fresh fruit. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the buffet breakfast which was great considering we had just got off an overnight bus from Inle Lake. Craig said the coffee was great, I’m a tea drinker and loved my little matching tea cup and tea pot.
The Horizon Club Lounge has its happy hour each evening between 5.30pm and 7.30pm where it is an open bar including canapés, cocktails, beer, wine and spirits. We visited for a quick drink before heading off to dinner at the signature Chinese restaurant on the first floor. However, if you don’t feel like going out, you can relax with your drink and grab a light dinner from the buffet.
The kids were excited to get a swim in the pool at the Sule Shangri-La, being a downtown city hotel space is limited however the pool area at this hotel is reasonably large. There is a big pool, part sectioned off for those wanting to do laps and the other half is for everyone else, well in this case for my kids to play! I was also happy that there was a lifeguard attending to the pool area which is great to see and a rarity in a lot of hotel pools these days. There was a separate little splash pool for infants which is great for those travelling with younger kids. There isn’t a pool bar, however the lifeguard will place any orders for you which will be delivered to the pool area.
The health club which includes the gymnasium and beauty centre is also fully staffed to assist you with the operation of gym equipment, provide classes and instruction for you throughout your stay. The gymnasium is fully equiped with modern equipment and mats and weights and is even complete with a yoga room! I was very surprised to see the gymnasium quite busy each time I walked in. The locker rooms are clean and tidy, with showers, lockers and change rooms.
Shangri-La Hotels are well known around the world for the high standard of their spa and relaxation centres and the Sule Shangri-La is no different. Craig and I were treated to a 60 minute relaxation massage in the Beauty Centre and I have to say I was pretty impressed. We chose to have ours at 9pm which was prefect as I walked back into our suite and went straight to bed and slept like a baby!
The experience starts the minute you walk in though, while I was completing my paper work, I was given a ginger and lemon tea to drink. We were then escorted by one of the professional massage therapists into our treatment room. First I had a foot message then moved to the therapy table and had the most perfect relaxing fully body massage. I loved that I was given a choice of 6 different oils and asked to have a smell and choose which one I would like the therapist to use. Each had information about what the essential oil is best used for. I chose one that was not energising as it was late at night and one that would entice sleep and relaxation. It worked a treat, as for Craig, well I think I could hear him snoring in the next room.
When you first enter the Sule Shangri-La Hotel you will be greeted with a very elegant lobby lounge that oozes oriental affluence. The Peacock Lounge is open from 7am to 11pm and is at the very centre of the hotel. They serve a western high tea between 2.30pm-5.30pm and of an evening there is a pianist playing in front of the intricate painting of a peacock and the Shwedagon Pagoda which in itself is an impressive piece of artwork.
The peacock is actually a peafowl, one of the countries nationals animals. Grand lobby lounges like these with their pride of place crystal chandelier really set the scene for an upmarket hotel such as the Sule Shangri-La Hotel and definitely why I consider it a top luxury hotel in Yangon Myanmar.
There are a number of restaurants at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel, fairly typical of a luxury hotel in Yangon Myanmar. As we only stayed for the one night I can’t provide you with a personal experience of all of them but I will do my best to give you a good overview of your options.
The Summer Palace is an authentic Chinese restaurant located on the second floor of the Sule Shangri-La Hotel and also the hotel’s signature restaurant. We had dinner here and I can confirm the food is superb. We have eaten Chinese food on many occasions and I can honestly say that the Summer Palace was one of the best Chinese restaurants I have had the pleasure eating at.
We sampled a wide range of dishes including dim sum, dumplings, pork, chicken, seafood and rice dishes. The dumplings, as usual, were a big hit with the kids and you had to be quick or they would have eaten them all. We chose a good variety of dishes, placed them in the middle and we all sampled a bit of every dish. The favourites by far were the sweet and sour pork voted in by the kids, I think the chicken in black bean sauce was a stand out and Craig will always vote for the seafood dish. The mango dessert was pretty impressive all round and I would gladly recommend the restaurant to anyone visiting the hotel.
There are also six luxury private dining rooms for anyone wishing a little private party.
Cafe Sule is where the buffet breakfast is swerved, consisting of Asian and International options, its an extensive buffet experience. Unfortunately we had to check out at 5.45am and Cafe Sule operates between 6am-10am for breakfast. When I checked out for our cab to the airport, I was presented with five take-away bags with a ‘to-go’ breakfast from the Cafe Sule for us to eat at the airport.
This is another example of the ‘Shangri-La Way’, making sure every guest is well looked after and always keeping their guests needs and wants at the fore front. I was absolutely blown away by this last gesture and couldn’t thank them enough. The kids ate the pastries in the cab and were ready to face the craziness of Yangon International Airport. I won’t deny it though, I would have loved to experience the Cafe Sule breakfast.
The Cafe Sule also does a buffet lunch and dinner, known throughout Yangon for exceptional food from the many international chefs on hand. Definitely a good excuse for me to return and stay at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel again.
Known in Yangon for having the best coffee in town, the Gourmet Shop has a delectable choice of cakes, pastries, chocolates and sweets to satisfy the sweetest sweet tooth. The kids eyes lit up like christmas trees when they saw all the sweet goodness in the shop window. It was more like an upmarket coffee shop however you can also get cold drinks, sandwiches and pies. You can eat in at the hotel or even take it away to your room.
Decorated in dark timber and wrought iron fixtures the Gallery Bar resonates with colonial Britain. Happy hour is between 6pm and 8pm and the bar has a great range of imported and local beers. The bar menu consists of traditional pub fare such as steaks, pastas, tapas and burgers.
The drinks menu and the bar setting conjures memories of a number of London hotels I visited when I was backpacking in the 1990’s. You could easily be mistaken and think you were sipping a long island ice tea in the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair London. I love bars just like this one, with their character and flair, I could easily slip into the vibe with my favourite cocktail, a mojito or daiquiri and pretend to be related to Princess Diana!
We loved every minute of it, a perfect example of a luxury hotel in Yangon Myanmar. We couldn’t have felt more welcome and it warmed my heart at just how welcome the team made the kids feel. From the Shangri-La plush toys, the tooth brushes in the bathroom, the welcome fruit and sweets on arrival, the take away breakfast and lastly the biscuit decorating kit we found in our room after dinner, the kids were totally spoilt and didn’t want to go home. The Sule Shangri-La team went above and beyond to make our stay memorable and just perfect. I get reminded of it everyday when I go into Keira’s and Caelan’s rooms to wake them for school and they’re cuddling their Shangri-La puppies. It makes me smile everyday and I wonder if the team at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel could see this now how happy they would be.
Its a special hotel that caters well to both the business and the tourist and in this case families, all three are very different guests with very different requirements. The Sule Shangri-La Hotel manages to cater to all and does it very well. The kids had a little giggle about the notebook and pencil next to the toilet but as I explained to the kids, when a good business idea come to you, you need to be in a position to capture it as best you can, loo included!!
For me I loved the windows, the natural light and fresh flowers. When you only have one day in such an exceptional hotel its hard to drag yourself away. I did though, I took myself off to the Bogyoke Market to the jeweller recommended by the team at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel. I bought myself a matching set of sapphire earrings and pendant to remember my trip by (and it was my birthday a couple of days after I got home), I mentioned the Shangri-La had sent me and got myself a tidy little discount.
The Sule Shangri-La Hotel is in the perfect place to explore downtown Yangon as everything is in walking distance from here. There are a number of shopping malls very close to the hotel including the Sule Plaza which is attached. I would definitely stay here again as the location is perfect.
The Shangri-La Hotel Group are at the top of the game and as stated above, you know what you’re to get exceptional service, luxury rooms and amazing dining options, its the ‘Shangri-La Way’ and I’ll never get tired of staying at a Shangri-La property. I highly recommend this hotel for every type of traveller. You won’t be disappointed, its definitely one of the best hotels in Yangon Myanmar.
Sal, Craig & our3kids.
Disclaimer: We had a mutually beneficial agreement with the Sule Shangri-La Hotel, however as always our opinion is our own.