BELMOND GOVERNOR´S RESIDENCE
written ALBAN E. SMAJLI
The Victorian luxury hotel Belmond Governor‘s Residence is located in the Embassy Quarter of Yangon and has the reputation of being the city‘s most charming hotel. The elegant two-story teak mansion from the 1920s has served as the official home of the governors of the British Crown Colony of Burma.
Photographer ZAW MIN YU
Late in the noon, we arrive at the hotel and are offered refreshing local tea. Before we are taken to our room, we were welcomed with powerful chimes by an antique gong of bronze, whose voluminous sound rings through the entire terrain and serves as a signaling instrument to let all guests know about our arrival. The Residence is beautifully laid out, with rambling gardens and a pool that gives you the impression of entering an architectural island that seems to rest in the bygone era of colonial Burma. Eventhough the luxury hotel is situated in the heart of a metropole, all you experience is a sigh of decompression walking through the Residence, with the peaceful sound of peacocks and cicadas and the unique scent of the tropic. With its 49 spacious rooms, the residence gives an exclusive feeling and airs an absolute relaxation for the mind and the soul. A letter in the room welcomes us with the aim to „hark back to the elegance and simplicity of an earlier time.“ Our room is beautifully presented with wooden floor and hand-carved comfortable furniture.
The luxury hotel is built in a great colonial-style with a plenty of green areas that house many tropical trees and flowers. In the morning, we enjoy the generous buffet of traditional treats, including fresh juices, curries, pastries, fruits or local noodle and fish soups.
The breakfast is being served in the main building of the Governor‘s Residence and includes fan-cooled verandahs. The pool and its sunlougers literally is the best option to cool off from the tropical temperatures during our trips in the busy streets of Yangon. The city is often portrayed as a metropole of crumbling colonial buildings that makes way for bulldozers to build up shiny and new developments. But the people rather favour conservation than absolute transformation.
Yangon‘s remarkable collection of colonial-era buildings is sorely in need of restoration to save a significant document of history. The Governor‘s Residence demonstrates the best, how conservation of architectural heritage can benefit local communities and improve one city‘s reputation. And a tranquil way to end the day at the Residence is the downstairs Mandalay Restaurant, where we either sat inside or rather prefered the cosy verandah, overlooking the swimming pool and observing the lotus ponds reflecting in the water and being broken by the waters movement. Like a moving and colorful still life painting, we will always remember this unique and burmese experience and have it always in our minds.
We’re glad we were there and... Belmond Governor‘s Residence, thanks for sleeping with us, too.
Photographer EX PANSEA
CREDIT INFORMATION | © BELMOND GOVERNOR´S RESIDENCE YANGON
Photographers: Ex Pansea + ZAW MIN YU