Let me start off by admitting that I did have my doubts about Myanmar, particularly Yangon. I thought it was a place of utter disrepair and poverty. I was wrong. It’s a charming place with a wealth of potential. And it is quite developed with wide roads, new buildings, big houses, and patches of development in its townships. Yangon also has its own version of bad traffic caused by a surge in the number of cars (including the high-end brands) following relaxed taxation on vehicle purchases (Unlike what’s mostly written online about them, taxis in Yangon are in good condition. You still have to haggle for the price as they don’t have a standard flag down rate.). Maybe we all thought “development” was not in the vocabulary of the Burmese people when they were under military rule.
This hotel met my expectation. I could not demand for a Shangri-La treatment when I only had a budget of roughly USD50 per night. I was pleased with what I experienced — decent room with sufficient toiletries, clean lobby (7th floor at least), good buffet breakfast selection (never mind if for the 6 days I stayed in this hotel I noticed that there were many dishes that were repeated), and very friendly and courteous staff.
I noticed that my floor hallway and my room had relatively new wallpapers. Mine in the room had a light bronze tone with some flower designs, making the room appear quite dark, even with the lights on. The bed and pillows were sufficient and comfortable. One thing that I admired here the most was the centralized lighting system on the bedside table. For a hotel of that class, I thought it was a wise investment. There was also a fridge and an LCD TV (two English channels only: one news, not CNN, and another sports; sometimes there are English movies appearing on some channels — best to bring movies on your USB or an HDMI connector to watch movies streamed on your laptop or iPad straight on the TV screen).
Quite surprisingly, Internet connection in my room was strong. I noticed many wifi routers installed to strategic areas throughout my floor — a good indication that they share in the importance of Internet connection for their hotel quests.
There were times though when connection would get cut-off, but whenever you’d call front desk, they’d always send someone up to help you resolve the issue. Password to wifi is only good for one device, so ask for another internet voucher for free if you’re using two at the same time.
Breakfast was quite impressive. It had a good selection of dishes, although some, like the sausages and fried dumplings, were a mainstay. They also served dimsum for breakfast and traditional dishes, like the mohinga, a soup made of thick fish broth with rice noodles which is said to be one of Myanmar’s national dishes.
Elevators need improvement. There are two servicing all floors.
There is a massage section on the 5th floor. On the ground floor, (exit through back door then turn right) is Crystal Jade, a Chinese restaurant that offers dishes at what I thought were ridiculously cheap prices. Before Crystal Jade is a grocery store which has most of what a foreigner would need (food, toiletries, etc.).
The hotel is very near the Shewadagon Pagoda (some rooms have a good night view of the Pagoda) and other tourist places in Yangon. You can also take a cab to a food center which offers local and international dishes.
You can book through any legit agents or online booking sites. Of course front desk needs to go over it for confirmation, so be a little more patient in dealing with them upon check-in. Once your booking is accepted, the check-out process is a breeze.