If you happen to end up in Mandalay I would highly recommend the Hotel by the Red Canal. We have traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and this hotel is one that stands out from the rest in terms of ambiance and service. It is located about a ten minute walk from the eastern side of Mandalay Palace on a dusty street ( aren't they all in Burma though) in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The Red Canal itself is a narrow ditch that may be filled with water during the rainy season. I do not mean to discourage you by this description but merely to present a realistic picture of the surroundings so that you may not have any unrealistic expectations. Burma is really a third world type of place after all. This small hotel itself is rather charming with a small pool where you are able to cool off during the heat of the day if you wish, although I never did observe anyone using it during our stay. The room was lovely and comfortable with a clean and modern bathroom. The restaurant was adequate but not special although the breakfast in the morning was excellent with fare to satisfy the Western as well as Asian palate (mohinga and occasionally congee). Especially welcome was passion fruit juice in unlimited quantities. The attached restaurant has been touted by other visitors to serve excellent Indian cuisine. I am afraid that I have to take exception to such opinions. We are familiar with Indian as well as Southeast Asian cuisine and cook both at home. The food served in the restaurant, while adequate, was just average and really spiced to Western tastes. There are a number of restaurants nearby that serve decent Thai food. One is located in a residential building a few blocks down 23rd St toward the Mandalay Palace. The major selling point for a stay at the Hotel by the Red Canal, other than the physical plant, is the charming and helpful staff who go out of their way to make your visit here memorable. Most all spoke passable English and were always ready to cheerfully help with all our travel needs. We also were able to enjoy many lively discussions with some of the staff about Burma and their lives upon our return to the hotel after a day of arduous sightseeing. An additional plus was the free happy hour ( with exotic novel concoctions) arranged by the management between 6 and 7 PM by the pool every night. This social event, attended by many of the guests, afforded an opportunity to exchange 'war stories' of travels through Burma and Southeast Asia. It also made our stay at this hotel less impersonal and more like we were part of a traveling community. Mandalay Hill is about a 20 minute walk north from the corner of East Moat St. ( East of Mandalay Palace) and 23rd St. I would recommend this as a destination for one day. The walk up to the top of the hill (in bare feet) should take you about 30 minutes. At the summit you may be rewarded with a panoramic view of Mandalay ( through the trees) if the smog has not obliterated the city. If you have time after dinner one night make arrangements to see the Moustache Brothers on 39th St. They perform at 8 PM and the show lasts about an hour. The performance is a bit corny but a a cultural experience nevertheless. Take a taxi down to the show and make arrangements to have the driver wait for you since it may be difficult to find a ride back from that part of town at that hour of night. The round trip fare, including the wait, should set you back no more than $ 10 US. If we ever return to Mandaly we will certainly stay at the Hotel by the Red Canal. It was a magical and memorable experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An oasis by the landmark Red Canal in local folklore just minutes from the famed Mandalay Palace and other attractions, The Hotel by the Red Canal is a convenient sanctuary, with its lush tropical greenery and calming water features, amidst the hustle and bustle of Myanmar's cultural city. “By choosing to stay with us, we will provide you with the extra measure of quality, comfort and personal convenience that you are looking for. Being small, we are able to provide personal attention to the needs, wants, and expectations of every guest.” The boutique-style hotel is a celebration of all things Myanmar, featuring teak furniture and fixtures & fittings made from rattan, mother-of-pearl and other local materials as well as Myanmar marble lining the bathroom walls. Each of the 4 types of guestrooms or customized suites, differentiated by individual style, bears the name of the major ethnic groups in multi-cultural Myanmar and is adorned with rich traditional paraphernalia and trappings reflecting their respective cultural heritage. All Chin and Shan suites feature a balcony overlooking the swimming pool and garden green. Ground floor Chin suites enjoy a “water moat”. The Rakhine suites are spacious and ideal for the business traveler. An outdoor shower with a slate wall of cascading water is the highlight of the honeymooner Kachin suites. ... more less
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