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The Strand Yangon Launches Yangon Insider Packages

May 26, 2017 River Cruising No Comments Email Email

Myanmar’s recently renovated luxury urban resort hotel, The Strand Yangon, first opened its doors to explorers and adventurers in 1901. Today the Strand team welcomes 21st century travellers with the same elegant style and character that made the Strand name synonymous with luxury hospitality in South East Asia 116 years ago.   Built in a prime location at the cultural centre of the city, the renaissance of The Strand Yangon has happened at the same time as the explosion of new art galleries, shops and restaurants that have popped up amongst the historical and architecturally significant buildings surrounding the hotel.

To enable guests to make the most of the hotel’s position at the hub of this vibrant city, The Strand Yangon has launched two new packages, Off The Beaten Track Yangon and Landmarks of Yangon, that include some of the team’s personal recommendations of what to see and do in Yangon, based on their expertise as Yangon Insiders.

“The majority of our team here at The Strand Yangon are Myanmar nationals and have worked at the hotel for an average of 15 years or more.  They are family in more ways than one, with generations of some family having worked here through the hotel’s colourful history,” remarked Olivier Trinquand, Vice President, The Strand Hotel & Cruise.  “To help our guests discover the fascinating history and architecture on their doorstep, we have asked the team to share their insider tips on their favourite experiences in Yangon to help create these special experiences.”

Visitors to The Strand Yangon can explore the city and take advantage of some of the insider tips from the team with one of two new tours bookable through the hotel’s concierge.  The two-night Landmarks of Yangon tour includes one full day tour, or two half-day tours, of the colonial-era architecture of downtown Yangon.  A guide will take guests on a walking tour of some of Asia’s most impressive late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings, both religious and secular.  In the late afternoon, guests will then take a car for the short journey to the Shwedagon Pagoda in order to see the pagoda as oil lamps begin illuminate it as the sun sets.  A private area of the pagoda will be set aside so that guests can participate in the lighting of 500 oil lamps as part of the daily ceremony.  This two-night package is priced from AU $1235 per room based on double occupancy during low season and includes accommodation in a Superior Suite, return airport transfers and excursions as described.

Yangon, Myanmar view of Shwedagon Pagoda at dusk

The two-night Off The Beaten Track Artisans package includes two half-day guided walking tours which begin with visits to the contemporary art galleries close to the hotel, followed by visits to a handcrafted gold jewellery workshop, the spice market, a fortune teller and local fair trade shops, as well as lunch in a nearby restaurant.  This two-night package is priced from AU $1250 per room based on double occupancy during low season and includes accommodation in a Superior Suite, return airport transfers and excursions as described.

THE STRAND YANGON TEAM SHARES THEIR #YANGONINSIDER TIPS

Mya Mya – Head Butler

Mya Mya has been at The Strand Yangon for over 20 years and is Head Butler, leading a team of eight providing 24-hour service to the hotel’s 31 suites.   She says, “We are like a family at The Strand and the hotel is our home.  I always suggest to our guests who love a traditional afternoon tea to try out our new Myanmar style afternoon tea at The Strand Café.  It’s served in beautiful lacquer ware boxes and has all the sweet and savoury dishes we would enjoy at home, like Laphet tealeaf salad, Myanmar wontons with shrimps from the Rakhine region, and sticky rice balls with brown bean paste.  Delicious!”

Mark Murraybrown – Operations Manager

Mark first visited Myanmar in 2014, drawn by the intrigue and mysticism so long associated with Myanmar.  Since that first visit he has explored much of the country, finally moving from London to Yangon in 2016, having worked for many years developing the teams of some of London’s finest restaurants.   Mark says, “Visiting Myanmar is an experience rich in culture, spiritual well-being and serenity.  Even within the bustle of Yangon, it’s possible to find a quiet place for reflection.  When time allows, I like to take an hour to visit the Shwedagon pagoda as the sun is setting upon it’s golden stupa, light a candle and find secluded spot in the gardens.  My other recommendation is to visit one of the fair trade shops within a 5-10 minute walk of the hotel that sell beautiful and affordable crafts, such as Pomelo and Hla Day.“

Christian Martena – Executive Chef

Christian Martena has been part of the Strand team for just over a year and spent the months while the hotel was being refurbished last year travelling to different regions of Myanmar, learning about the different ingredients and styles of cooking in order to combine the century-old Myanmar recipes he discovered with a modern European style of cooking.  Christian suggests that visitors wanting to learn more about local cuisine and wanting to take home a taste of Myanmar should visit the Yangon spice market – “a true delight for all the senses, with vibrant colours, smells, tastes and textures from all regions of Myanmar.”

Thin Aye Khine – Head Concierge

Khine joined The Strand Yangon in 2001 and, on attaining the position of Head Concierge at the hotel, was instrumental in establishing the Myanmar chapter of the Concierge Association of Les Clef’s d’Or.  She and her team are responsible for ensuring the comfort of all guests and advising them on places of interest to visit and experiences to try during their stay in Yangon.  She has a personal interest in the welfare and social development of less-fortunate communities and suggests that visitors to Yangon might like to take a rickshaw from the hotel to visit some of the lesser known villages on the far bank of the Yangon River, where they can see working local markets and meet villagers going about their every day lives.

Jared Green – International Director of Sales

What first struck Jared when he came to Yangon was the genuineness and spirituality of the people.  He says, “Myanmar is on the cusp of greatness and it’s great to be sharing that experience.  Yangon is such an energetic and creative place with a serene soul.  It’s been exciting to see over the past couple of years the galleries of local artists popping up in the area around The Strand Yangon.  You can literally take a stroll around the block and see work from up and coming contemporary artists from Myanmar at places like the River Art gallery and the Pandosan gallery.”

Ohnmar – Executive Housekeeper

Ohnmar leads a team of 19 housekeepers at the hotel and is the second generation of her family to work at The Strand, following in the footsteps of her uncle who was at the hotel for many years.  For a fascinating glimpse into every day life in Yangon, she suggests visitors take the three-hour round trip on the circular train track that loops the city.  She says, “The circular train stops close to the hotel and is an inexpensive way to discover the scenery and every day life of Yangon and its people.  Be sure to pack your camera and a bottle of water!”

Olivier Trinquand – Vice President – The Strand Hotel & Cruise

Despite having worked in many Asian countries, Myanmar has been a delight for Olivier.  He says, “each and every day is a reminder of the wonderment that is Myanmar; a country with such a rich heritage and a wealth of endearing qualities.  This history and heritage is evident everywhere in Yangon.  From architecturally significant colonial buildings such as The Strand Yangon, to the treasures to be found in the many good quality antiques shops that we suggest our guests visit, such as Augustine.  The spirit of an elegant bygone age can also be captured whilst touring the city by taking an excursion in the beautifully restored vintage Elephant Bus.”

Shwe Sin – Director of Sales – Myanmar

The Sarkies Bar is a city landmark in itself, having been a gathering point for raconteurs and explorers for over a century.   We recently renamed the bar after the famous brothers who founded the hotel, along with Raffles Singapore and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang.  I love the atmosphere of relaxed glamour we have recreated in the bar, with it’s leather banquettes and teak paneling, bringing to mind explorer’s clubs of old.  I can just imagineNoël Coward and Orsen Welles stood at the bar as they once did, swapping stories over a Strand Sour.  The Strand Sour is a cocktail that has become synonymous with the hotel’s colonial grandeur. Originally mixed by the bartenders at The Strand in 1968, it’s a refreshing mix of local Mandalay rum, lime juice and Angostura bitters – the perfect long cool refreshing drink to combat the heat of the day.

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