The Kandawgyi Palace Hotel was a great place to relax. It is a very beautiful building. The building was formerly the Rangoon Rowing Club used by British officers in 1934, then in 1948, the building was changed to the Union Club Burma for Burmese government officials and their guests. Then not long after that, the building was converted in to the National Biological Museum. There is a large dinosaur sculpture in the back of the hotel on the way to the pool left from this part of its history. In 1979, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism took over the museum and turned it in to a hotel. It wasn’t until 1993, when the hotel was sold to a private company and it became the hotel we see today. The hotel was named Kandawgyi Palace–the Palace on the Royal Lake.
Kandawgyi Lake which perfectly sits outside the backside of the hotel was not always here. Water from Inya Lake was channelled through pipes to form the Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake. This lake was intended as a clean water supply during the British Colonial Administration. There are many wood walkways that have been built on the lake which provide a wonderful place to take a morning or evening stroll. Lovely waterlilies lay in the lake along the hotel boundaries.
We stayed at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel for 6 days. The staff were wonderful. They would all swoon when I passed by with the 2 month old baby, but they were all very friendly with the other kids as well. This was such the case in the dining room for breakfast. The staff there were so helpful to my children. My older two boys like to be independent and retrieve their own food at the breakfast buffet so there always seemed to be a staff member just behind them, ready to help them with anything. It was a huge help for me since I was being hounded by the smaller to for all the food in the whole buffet line.
The food provided for breakfast was a cold cut meats, cheeses, jams (some homemade), breads, cereal, and pastries. There was an egg station, noodle soup station, pancake station, and a fruit station. Then a line of warm foods with American fare like sausage, bacon, potatoes, and a few Burmese dishes. There was also about 5 juices you could choose from. My kids and myself were quite happy with the spread!! A definite highlight to this hotel.
The pool was also a highlight to our stay. It was huge. I liked the size because I am always worried my kids will bother the other pool goers with their loud playing and splashing, but this pool was large enough that I never thought they were a bother to anyone. The view from the pool was lovely. You can enjoy the Karawagyi Lake and have a great view of the Pyigyimon Burmese Royal Barge, built in 1972.
The lounge chairs around the pool were very nice as well. There seemed to be ants everywhere on the ground, maybe because of all the trees around the pool with their fruit.
The pool had several levels to it. There was a few areas that were deep for my good swimmers, and then a few areas that were shallow for my newbie swimmers. The pool was great for my kids because it didn’t get boring. They had fun discovering different areas of the pool. The pool seemed pretty clean; only the bits of leaves and flowers that would fall from the trees above.
The rooms were as you would expect. It did have the Lanna feel of hotel rooms in Thailand–clean, modern, teak wood. The room was very clean. We stayed in two rooms on the first floor for the first four nights; they were connecting rooms. These rooms only had showers in the bathrooms. But then we stayed in two rooms on the fourth floor, and those rooms had bathtubs and a separate showers which were nice for the kids. The rooms were larger on the first floor which was nice. I think I would have preferred to stay in the rooms on the first floor because they were bigger, but we had moved all our stuff before checking the upper rooms out so we just stayed put so we wouldn’t have to move again. The move happened because our tour guide had upgraded us once all our students met us in Yangon. The hotel does have baby cots which was nice for the baby.
I would definitely stay at Kandawgyi Palace when I am in Yangon again. It was about a 10 minute drive to the central area of Yangon, but that wasn’t a problem since taxis are super cheap. If you wanted to get anywhere downtown it was 3,000 kyats which was about $2.30 USD. And that was the price they would give us coming back to the hotel. I felt like all the taxi drivers we encountered were honest with us and didn’t try to take advantage with us. I would have to say that all of the drivers I went with there endearing toward the children. They all couldn’t believe we had 5 kids. Our whole family would just pile in to one taxi. I would have Lucy in a wrap with me, then the three boys would sit with me in the back seat, and Kate would sit in the front with Jacob. I know this isn’t safe, but we didn’t want to get separated. The few times we would take several taxis with our students, at least one taxi would get lost and we would have to meet back at the hotel to find them so it was just easier piling in to a taxi together. All taxis were older cars, but most had air conditioner which was great! The traffic is pretty bad in Yangon. It seemed like rush hour much of the day.