The Strand was built in 1901 by the Sarkies Brothers, founders of Singapore’s Raffles Hotel. Over the years it has been a destination for British literary dignitaries such as George Orwell, Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Noel Coward.
The Colonial-era architecture is both grand and impressive and once through the heavy teak front doors you find yourself in an impressive marble-floored reception hall, overlooked by two further storeys of teak landings. Known simply as ‘The Lobby’, this in turn leads to the three downstairs public spaces – ‘The Bar’, where the legendary Friday Happy Hour is an institution amongst the British ex-pat community (as it has been for decades), ‘The Café’, of course serving high tea daily with homemade pastries and ‘The Grill’, a lavish dining room with a vaulted ceiling, skylights, chandeliers and an exquisite fine-dining menu.
The hotel’s 31 beautifully appointed suites are the essence of timeless elegance and boast high ceilings, teakwood floors, spacious bedrooms with hand carved wood frame beds, ceiling fans, luxurious bathrooms and attendant 24 hour butler service.
Beyond the lobby, bar, restaurant and rooms, then the hotels’ facilities are undoubtedly limited. There is no swimming pool, no gym and the spa comprises simply of a modestly converted guest-room. Whereas there are grand plans for an extension in the future to accommodate these 5-star trappings, for the time being The Strand simply remains faithful to its history.
To stay at The Strand is an experience of historical re-enactment and it somehow means so much more than a stay in one the of worlds ubiquitous 5-star ‘brand’ hotels. It will undoubtedly enhance your understanding of the British colonial Burma of years gone-by.