In Hotels, Inspiration, Myanmar (Burma), Reviews, Sleep, The Best Of...

Mandalay Hill Resort

Home to the iconic U-Bein Bridge, incredible temples, and the gateway to the north-eastern Shan state, there are plenty of reasons to visit Mandalay. And as Myanmar has opened up to tourism in recent years, there are now plenty of options to choose from when it comes to picking the perfect hotel.

During my time in Mandalay I inspected more than 10 hotels across the city and personally stayed in three. Why on earth would I do that? Because as a travel consultant for London based travel agency Fleewinter, it is my job to research everywhere and determine the best places to stay for our customers. And that’s exactly what I have come to Myanmar for – and why I will be here for six weeks. So without further ado, allow me to present the best places to stay in Mandalay!

I have three categories; the best boutique hotel, the best large hotel and the best mid-range bargain.


The Hotel by the Red Canal


This is a lovely little boutique property, with 26 rooms set besides a small kidney-shaped pool; with a traditional beamed, high-ceilinged bar and restaurant.

What makes this hotel special?

The attention to detail – all the bathroom amenities were beautifully packaged – earplugs were wrapped in rustic brown paper with a string bow around them! This was the only hotel in Mandalay that I stayed in that provided a turn-down service in the evenings, and they also offered all guests a free cocktail in the evening with nibbles. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here, who offered impeccable service at all hours.

What’s the best room at the Red Canal?

This is a tricky one – I loved the Chin Rooms with verandas that open onto a small stream that runs through the hotel but they are a little dark when the veranda door is closed (as you would want it to be when the air conditioning is on). The Rakhine rooms are probably the safest bet as they are larger and lighter but there is no outdoor space.

What’s the catch?

I loved this hotel but the rooms are definitely smaller and darker than others in the same price range and it whilst the service is excellent, it may not be ideal for those who like to feel a bit anonymous on holiday!

What’s the pricetag?

From £190 per night in the high season (October to March)

Rupar Mandalar


The Rupar Mandalar is a larger hotel by boutique standards, with 44 rooms but still retains a an intimate feel; set in tropical gardens with a good variety of rooms and a big swimming pool.

What makes this hotel special?

Its rooms are beautifully decorated with handsome Burmese finishing touches and all guests are offered a complimentary Thai massage during there stay (what’s not to love!) The pool is a great size and was being refurbished and re-tiled when I was there in the low season (great to see hotels carrying out big maintenance work in the off-season). They also offer a complimentary evening cocktail and show Burmese dance performances in the evenings.

What’’s the best room at the Rupar Mandalay?

The Corner Premium Suite is without a doubt the best room – in a new block, these rooms are large, spacious, light and airy. They have two large windows on opposite sides of the room with two balconies and pool views – outstanding rooms.

What’s the catch?

It’s on the outskirts of the city so ideal for those with their own transport. The deluxe rooms are quite dark as they are all wood panelled.

What’s the pricetag?

From £160 per night in the high season (October to March). For more details click here.


Mandalay Hill Resort


There are a few large hotels in Mandalay but this one wins the most points for me thanks to its fabulous views, phenomenal swimming pool and great service.

What makes this hotel special?

Set in a beautifully manicured jungle at the base of Mandalay Hill, this hotel offers the best views over the city and of mountain temples to the west. It also has the best facilities – the gym was excellent, the spa feels like an Indiana Jones treasure trove and the pool is quite simply the best in Mandalay! It even has an in-pool bar that you can swim to for a cold beer. It also had the most comfortable bed, mattress and soft sheets of anywhere I stayed in Mandalay.

What’s the best room at the Mandalay Hill Resort?

This is hotel with about seven different room types but you can’t go wrong with the deluxe rooms – mountain views, spacious and light. Be sure to request a room on the top three floors as the views are better and these are non-smoking. If you have cash to splash the £800 per night the exclusive Spa Villas are a must – step inside the villa and you would be forgiven for thinking  that you’ve entered the residency of a former Burmese King!

What’s the catch?

It’s a big resort-style hotel, which I don’t normally love. There are 208 rooms, so this is not going to be a winner for the boutique hotel lovers. It is also further out of town.

What’s the pricetag?

From £230 per night in the high season (October to March) – for more details click here.


The Bagan King


This smart central hotel offers the best city location of all the hotels, it’s beautifully decorated in a traditional Bagan style and oozes boutique uniqueness!

What makes this hotel special?

Step into the Bagan King and you will be taken to an ancient Burmese world; heavy wooden doors are intricately carved, bronze statues of Burmese kings line the wall, and the chandelier glistens with gold leafs hanging from its frame. I was served the best welcome drink of all of Mandalay while I waited for my inspection (slushed honey melon dew served in a golden goblet) and the rooms are well appointed and great value. To round it all off, this hotel has a lovely traditional restaurant with very impressive ceiling paintings – the Sistine Chapel of Mandalay perhaps?!

What’s the best room at the Bagan King?

There are only two room types; the superior which all have twin beds, and the deluxe, which have double beds. I actually preferred the superior rooms as they were a bit more spacious but they all come with twin beds.

What’s the catch?

There’s no swimming pool and the rooms do not mirror the elegance of the lobby, they are more simple and could be larger. The bathrooms are like wet rooms, as the shower is not curtained off.

What’s the pricetag?

From £70 per night in the high season (October to March)

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PS If you are looking for things to do while you’re here take a peek at my Top 5 Things to do in Mandalay post. Or if you need any help at all planning your trip to Myanmar (Burma) don’t hesitate to contact me at Fleewinter  or via my contact tab here – I specialise in putting together private, tailor made holidays around Myanmar.

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