Lonely Planet review
The Strand is a relic of the same colonial-era legacy as the Oriental in Bangkok, the Raffles in Singapore and the Eastern & Oriental in Georgetown, but boasts what is arguably a more ‘colourful’ history than its peers.
Opened in 1901 by the famed Sarkies brothers, the hotel in its early years hosted the likes of Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell and Somerset Maugham. During WWII, the Strand was used to house Japanese troops, and Burmese nationals were allegedly not allowed to stay in the hotel until 1945. And from 1962 to 1989, in what was quite possibly its darkest period the hotel was owned and managed by the Burmese government.
The latest incarnation of the Strand dates to 1995. It’s very much a luxury affair, with heaps of charm and history – even the bathroom fixtures are vintage – and a high level of service. But it’s worth mentioning that the Strand doesn’t have the same modern comforts as other hotels of this class (the TVs are non-flatscreen and small, internet is available only in the lobby or business centre, and don’t even bother looking for an iPod jack). Note also that, at the time of research, only cash in US$ dollars was accepted, so book online or make sure you have a lot of cash.
Even if you can’t afford the rent, the Strand is well worth a visit for a drink in the bar, high tea in the lobby lounge or a splurge lunch at the café.
Services & facilities
- Air conditioning
- Internet access