Inle Princess Resort
Inle Princess Resort sits on the eastern shore of Inle Lake at the foot of the Shan Hills.
This secluded retreat has just 46 traditional wooden chalets built on stilts along the shallow waters of the shoreline. The spacious rooms were built by local craftsmen using native woods and bamboo and are decorated with Burmese silk textiles. The rooms also feature private balconies with impressive views of fields, mountains and the lake itself.
The restaurant serves a variety of international, Burmese and Chinese dishes including the local specialties of the Shan, Intha, and Pao ethnic minorities. Guests can dine in the main dining room or outside on the terrace. A specialty of the lake region is 'stuffed fish' which is prepared using freshly caught fish and vine ripened tomatoes. The terrace bar is also the ideal spot for relaxing with an evening sunset drink overlooking the lake.
Activities include trips on the hotel boat to nearby villages and pagodas, bird watching or even Shan-style Buddhist wedding blessings. Nearer to home, the spa chalets, the only ones of their kind in the region, offer yoga and meditation classes.
Why We Love It
If you are lucky enough to be here in October, you will catch the Phaug Daw Ou Pagoda festival. This three-week long festival features traditional boat racing, parties, and other events on the water and in the villages.
Villa Inle Resort & Spa
Nestled into the mountainous landscape on the eastern shores of Lake Inle, Villa Inle Resort & Spa is a small property with a wonderfully tranquil atmosphere.
The resort is made up of 27 secluded lakeside or lake front bungalows, all of which are designed to incorporate the natural beauty of the area into their décor. Alongside intricately carved furnishings and traditional dark wood floors and ceilings, the bungalows all enjoy fantastic views across the lake, where it's possible to glimpse a fisherman gently floating by, or catch sight of the flocks of migratory birds. Thanks to their high ceilings and uninterrupted views, the bungalows all also feel very spacious.
There is a small restaurant onsite at Villa Inle Resort & Spa, which serves a selection of authentic Shan, Myanmar and Inthar cuisine in a beautiful setting with an al fresco dining deck. Additionally, the bar is a great spot for a cocktail or two at the end of the day and the resort has a selection of exotic fruit trees and a vegetable garden, so you can even pick your own fresh fruit and organic veg.
Activities at the resort are primarily based around the lake, the beautiful natural landscape and the fascinating Myanmar culture. On the western side of the lake lies Indein Village and the awe inspiring Nyaung-Ohak Monastery. Following a path up beyond this finds the Shwe Indein complex; a sprawling settlement of pagodas, mystically alluring and effortlessly appealing to wander in and around. Boat tours, scenic walks and hikes are also in abundance here, and are a perfect way to soak up the secluded setting. Then, having adventured around all day, relax and indulge in some pampering at the peaceful spa.
Why We Love It
Villa Inle's idyllic location is actually in the midst of a UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve, hence the totally unspoilt feel.
By the time travellers arrive in Inle, they've often been to the buzzing cities, explored markets, pagodas, villages, workshops, temples and stupas and in search of a few days R&R to reflect on all the colour and character in Burma. Sanctum Inle may well be the perfect sanctuary for such reflection; think whitewashed walls, lofty ceilings, large picture windows and neutral colours. Add one of the most comfortable beds we've ever slept in (ever) - with a pillow menu of course - and you've found an ideal lakeside retreat for a few days R&R.
Rooms and suites are set around a courtyard in the main building and spread across the grounds. The design is intended to reflect a contemporary monastery, with classic dark wood flooring and furniture, and arched windows offset by luxurious marble bathrooms and colourful soft furnishings. All guestrooms and suites are air-conditioned and include a TV and minibar. The huge two-storey Abbey Suites steal the best lake views, while the Junior Suites are favourites of ours, each with a private terrace looking out across Inle.
The Refectory restaurant serves a delicious breakfast and a dinner menu catering to both Eastern and Western palates, which can be enjoyed inside or out on the deck, while The Cloister Bar is the perfect spot to enjoy an evening cocktail, or indeed a (surprisingly good) Myanmar vintage.
When you return from a day on the water, hop on one of the hotel's bicycles and explore the surrounding villages and farms, relax with a book from the Library on the water's edge or slip off to the spa to try their signature Tamarind Scrub.
Why We Love It
Sanctum Inle has a little shop - The Workshop Boutique - which stocks a variety of handicrafts created by local artisans and make perfect keepsakes. Or for those who would prefer to buy directly from the artisans, the staff will happily point you in the right direction.