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“THE place to stay in Mandalay”

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Hotel by the Red Canal, Mandalay
Ranked #5 of 119 Hotels in Mandalay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 March 2012

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.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank kalevipoeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 March 2012

A small hotel very similar to the sort of "pension" style family-run hotel one might find in Europe. We had five nights here and were very much "under the weather" with terrible colds and coughs so really needed somewhere peaceful to rest and recuperate between pre-booked tours of Mandalay and the surrounding areas.

Mandalay was the place we liked least in our three week tour of Myanmar; it was very polluted (views from Mandalay Hill and Sagaing Hill more or less non-existent under thick haze) but we did like the Hotel by the Red Canal and found it quiet and very pleasant. We had a room which was a Rakhine Suite - this was a good-sized bedroom but quite a small bathroom - looking out over the back; no balcony and a view of a back yard (rather noisy dogs at times during the night). I wouldn't really describe it as a suite but it was fine with a comfortable bed, enough room for clothes, and plenty of hot water. Sometimes little notes were left when the bed was turned down - an example as follows:

"Night is a wonderful opportunity to take rest, to forgive, to dream, to smile and to get ready for all the battle that you have to fight tomorrow. Good Night."

(The only battle that we had to fight was with the persistent hawkers at some of the sites, but we appreciated the thought!)

We didn't find any problem with the stone/pebbles feature in the bathroom - the bath itself could be a bit slippery when showering, but there was a rubber mat to help with that.

The whole hotel was kept spotlessly clean and we could often see the staff cleaning balconies, windows, floors, refrigerators, etc. - even taking probe temperatures of hot food in the restaurant!

Breakfast was fine and we thoroughly enjoyed the Indian food in the restaurant. It was great fun to watch the chef throwing the bread into the tandoor oven and then retrieving it. The Indian Ambassador came for his birthday party one night with several dozen guests and the hotel staff worked incredibly hard transforming the pool area for this event.

We didn't actually use the pool (the water was quite cold) but were very happy relaxing by it.

We had cocktails by the pool on two or three occasions and met some nice people - particularly a great family from Virginia! The lady who plays the golden harp each evening is lovely!

I had a couple of massages in the spa which is situated under the restaurant in a sort of Indiana Jones subterranean hideaway - the body massage in particular was excellent.

A big thank you to all the staff who worked so hard to make our stay a memorable one.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank j1954g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

A 'boutique' hotel so the rooms and hotel were somewhat on the small size but everything was nicely done up in good taste and the hotel had a very pleasant atmosphere. It is though quite far down a side road from the moat around the Palace and there is nothing of interest close by. Good though if you want peace and quiet. I didn't see any parking area and the hotel had just a small covered entranceway by the street and we then walked for a short way through the gardens to the main building and Reception.
The rooms were certainly small, although not tiny and looked like fairly modern and clean and bright. Nice wood (teak?) panelling around the hotel as well as in parts of the room gave a refined air to the hotel. Beds were comfortable and of good quality. Not much space to spread out in the room but enough storage space for clothes etc. TV was average size though as usual in Myanmar, not many English language channels. There was a door in the room leading out to a small balcony with a bench so one could sit outside and admire the view, albeit the balcony was pretty narrow. We had a good view over the entrance, pool and garden which was nice. Our friends though were in a room at the back of the building and the view was nowhere near as good. Air con worked fine. Room had the usual in-room safe and mini fridge plus a kettle with tea/coffee etc which was a good touch. Bathroom was smallish but fine and clean and nicely decorated. In bath shower was fine.
The dining room was in a separate building near the pool. We tried an evening meal there with its mainly Indian food menu. Choice was good though food quality only so-so and quite pricey. Breakfast was fair even though there was quite a small choice but one thing that we did like was that the Myanmar dish varied each day and was one of the more unusual Myanmar dishes, which was great. The hotel also served a free afternoon tea with small snacks by the upstairs guests area on the open sided balcony, very pleasant. There was also a daily (?) free cocktail 'party' for guests though we didn't bother with that.
There was a PC by Reception for guest use which I didn't try but my friend did and he said it worked fine and was reasonably quick.
Staff were very pleasant and friendly and no problems there. Their English seemed pretty good.
BTW, the canal across the street opposite the hotel was not red at all but more a dirty brown!
If we returned to Mandalay we would probably stay somewhere a bit more central, but this hotel was fine and we would have no problem with staying here again if we needed to.

Room Tip: Get a room at the front of the main building as they have better views than the back. As the hotel i...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Arthurrvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 February 2012

We stayed at this hotel feb 2012. We felt the rooms are very small, the room that we were in was very dark, we were at the back of the hotel and we just looked out at a wall. You had to be careful when using the bath due to the stone feature along the side of the bath. The staff and the food were good. We would not stay again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a balcony.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Ann281
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 February 2012

Stayed here for three nights during a group tour of Myanmar. This is one of the best hotels we stayed in with decent size comfortable bedrooms. The nightly cocktail party was great before dinner which we took in the on site restaurant which serves pretty good Indian style food. All in all looked much better than its rather larger competition.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Gricper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

We found the staff to be welcoming and helpful and the food at the restaurant was very good. The two hour cocktail party every evening was fun and we had the chance to exchange travel tips with other guests. They offered light snacks and two featured cocktails with unlimited refills.

An unexpected benefit was that, unlike most hotels in Myanmar, the Red Canal accepts major credit cards although the fee is steep.

We appreciated the in-room lock box but this one was tricky to operate and we had to call the manager and have him unlock it and show us how it works. He pointed out that one of the electrical outlets above the mini-bar provides 110 voltage which I appreciated since my laptop didn't like my voltage converter. I was surprised that this feature was not noted anywhere.

When we found water dripping from the bathroom ceiling management came to the room immediately and when we returned in a couple of hours the problem had been resolved.

The major problems are that the rooms are dark and small with very little room to walk around the beds. Also, there is something in the hotel pool water that gave me an uncomfortable skin reaction (maybe the chlorine).

TIP: One morning we wandered over to the Aye Yeik Mon Girls Orphanage which is very near. We didn't know what it was and were looking around when approached by a girl who asked if we would like a tour. She graciously showed us the dormitories, classrooms and kitchen where lunch was being prepared and we were invited to stay for a meal. We were also introduced to the headmistress and had the opportunity to meet several children. There was no solicitation of a donation although we were happy to offer one. Turn right as you exit the main entrance to the hotel and then left immediately at the road intersection to walk over the canal. You'll find the orphanage on your right.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank wanderingways
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

During our trip in Myanmar we stayed 2 nights in Mandalay. We selected this hotel due to the good rating in tripadvisor, but finally have been very disapointed.
The welcome at the maingate was allways warm and friendly. The room, 1st floor - Ralchine Suite - did not fulfill our expectation. One big bed, but no space for lugagge or any other furniture. No lighting concept in the room. The bathroom too small for two people. Showering without splashing everything is inpossible. Not to mention the problrm we have had with the safe. And as per other reports we were not the only one.
WiFi is very slow and the computer offered to the guests occupied by the manager surfing in facebook.
Breakfast is very poor. Not even orange juse is served.
The pool very small and full of chlorine. This probabely due tonhe fact, that no shower is provided at the pool site.
Nevertheless, the staff is friendly and they do their best.
All over, this can definitively not be the best hotel in town.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank beatzue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel by the Red Canal, Mandalay

Address: No. 417 Corner of 63 & 22 streets | Aung Myae Tha Zan Township, Mandalay 952, Myanmar
Phone Number:
Region: Myanmar > Mandalay Region > Mandalay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 119 Hotels in Mandalay
Price Range: £98 - £186 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel by the Red Canal, Mandalay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 15
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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