A romantic, colonial-style mansion dating back from the 1920s, the Belmond Governor's Residence in Yangon is redolent of the days when it was home to the ruler of Myanmar's southern states
Myanmar — or, as it used to be known, Burma — is full of construction wonders, from centuries-old temples and floating gardens to ancient monasteries and wooden bridges. To visit is to immerse yourself in the country's built history, and offering a unique way to do that is the Belmond Governor's Residence in the capital city of Yangon, a teak mansion where the city's past rulers once lived, now converted into a boutique hotel.
As a home, the residence is as opulent and grand as was befitting for the country's former colonial masters: once part of the British empire, Myanmar gained its independence in 1948. Retrospection on bygone days comes naturally amid the teak walls of the Belmond Governor's Residence, which date back to the time it was built in the 1920s to serve as the official home of the governors of the British Crown Colony of Burma, such as Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith and Hubert Rance. In 2006, it became part of Orient-Express Hotels group, which in 2014 changed its name to Belmond, and renamed the Belmond Governor's Residence.
The property is located within Yangon's elegant Embassy Quarter, close to cultural attractions such as Shwedagon Pagoda, the National Museum, and the lively Bogyoke Market — but, subtly tucked away in leafy gardens, it lies discreetly hidden from the city's bustling centre. The journey into Yangon's past begins upon entering the Belmond Governor's Residence, where a verdant garden dotted with lotus pools provides a peaceful green haven.
Honouring the hotel's past, carved teak and sumptuous silks combine to create a rarified, refined and timeless air. Crafted by French interior designer and architect Patrick Robert, the guestrooms, particularly the Governor's Rooms, fully reflect its bygone era. A hand-carved bed canopy stands as the focal point in each room, with antique wooden furniture adding sophisticated charm.
This is an excerpt from the "A Ruling Residence” article from the December 2016 issue of Perspective magazine.
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