Our third and final stop in Myanmar was in the Inle Lake Region. We flew from Bagan to Heho then drove 45 minutes through winding hilly roads and reach the hotel, which straddles the road and abuts the lake itself. Our rooms were across the road from the lake, near the reception area, the restaurant and the spa. Getting to the lake took just a couple minutes – the road you must cross is no more than 4 meters wide.
As we pulled into the circular drive, the bell staff were ready and waiting to help with luggage. We headed up to the reception area to collect our keys and we were given cold watermelon juice and cold towels to help us recover from the commute. The weather was much warmer at Inle Lake than we had experienced throughout the rest of the trip, but it was still cooler than we had anticipated. It was in the mid to high 30s (95F) and the sun was intense.
We were assigned room 2003, which was just a 2 minute walk from the he reception area. We were driven in a golf cart and our luggage was taken in a separate cart. Completely unnecessary, but a nice gesture.
The room was large with two twin beds-again, our request as someone snores… There was also a lofted area with another bed, we didn’t use this one of course. Each bed had their own mosquito net and the room did have air conditioning, which worked quite well and cooled the room down quickly.
There was a sunken living areas with a somewhat uncomfortable couch and chair. The TV didn’t work, but the channel guide showed about a dozen news channels, just like we saw at Bagan Lodge. It would have been nice to watch the news as the Internet was excruciatingly slow and it would drop connection frequently. I just wanted to keep up on the ACA news back, the London Attack and the Russian Election Interference Probe. It is good to disconnect a bit though. I do wish, if the Internet was that slow, they just wouldn’t offer Internet, it just causes me frustration when it is exceedingly slow.
Off the living area there was a deck that looked towards the lake, but no lake view. On the deck there were two chairs which we used both days to do some writing and quiet reflection.
The four piece bathroom had a segregated WC, a single sink, a separate sunken tub and an open shower. The closet was also in the bathroom area.
The amenities were fine – mostly unneeded for us (toothbrush, hair dryer, sewing kit), but needed to check the boxes for the various hotel rating agencies. The shampoo, body wash and lotion were in ceramic vessels. I didn’t like this. One, it was hard to get the right amount of shampoo out – I felt I was wasting so much of it. Two, I was afraid it would fall, shattering when it hits the floor and then subsequently slicing my feet. I prefer individual plastic bottles. That’s my personal preference.
I took breakfast in the hotel one day, which was included in our rate. They opted not to set the buffet, but allowed us to choose from the a la carte menu. I had French Toast, which was a little bland and a bit under cooked- very eggy. The breads that were served were good and half the fruit was great. The watermelon was at the peak of ripeness, while the pineapple was mostly core and at least a week from being ripe.
We ate dinner at the restaurant once and it was awful. Like most of the trip, we ate family style. The chicken curry was flavorless, which was head and shoulders better than the beef. The beef tasted like it had turned. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but something was definitely wrong. I started with the Tom Yum Soup, which had great flavor, but the vegetables were so large, you couldn’t eat them – each vegetable was at least an inch and a half long, which makes it difficult to spoon. We left not hungry, but saddened.
We decided to visit the spa during our stay too. The hotel was running a special on a 60 minute Thai massage for 34USD. Yes, I know we could have schlepped into the neighboring town and got a cheaper massage, but about a fifty cents a minute, I’ll pay for the convenience.
I had a special massage (not like that!). I was escorted to the treatment room, which had a queen sized bed, no massage table, just a big bed. I was given thin sweatpants and a t-shirt that was at least 3 sizes too small. The massuese was very small, but she was strong and used every portion of that bed. She used physics to contort me into positions I hadn’t been in since I was in college! At one point as she’s holding both my legs straight up in the air, I thought she was trying to get better TV reception – I was her antenna and she couldn’t get Judge Judy to come in clearly. After about five minutes of playing human windmill, she got back to the traditional Thai massage techniques. She did a great job.
The hotel has a pool, which is across the street from the rest of the hotel amenities. We used the pool for a few minutes, but there weren’t enough umbrellas nor was there a bar, so it got hot and sober pretty quickly. We did spent a bit of time in the hot tub, which is filled daily from local hot springs. The first day they failed to fill it. The second day we spent about 45 minutes relaxing in the hot tub, with a cocktail. The hot tub is near a stagnant lagoon (at least when we were there), so it was very buggy.
The bar had a standard drink menu, with a focus on local fruit drinks as well as classic cocktails (Negroni, Old Fashioned, etc.) and we’re priced at standard Myanmar Hotel Bar prices – between 4-5USD each.
While we didn’t choose this hotel ourselves, it was selected by our tour operator, I would definitely stay here again. The rooms are nicely appointed and comfortable, the amenities are higher end and the service was a bit slow, but genuine. Just don’t eat at the restaurant for dinner.
Have you been to Inle Lake? Where did you stay? What do you look for in a hotel on a Trekking vacation, like this? What amenities and a must have?