The former residence of a French governor, this century-old mansion also did double duty as a garrison. Today, the converted hotel sits within a quiet residential quarter crisscrossed by tree-lined lanes, and dotted with traditional Lao homes and mid-century Indochinese bungalows.
French colonial architecture with a Lao touch, alongside lush botanical gardens.
Each suite features exquisite tapestries with motifs of mythical creatures, handwoven by local women from the social enterprise Ock Pop Tok.
Dine al fresco under the safari tent at Governor’s Grill and try the traditional buffalo larb – a Lao-style minced salad with kaffir lime, herbs and a peppery kick.
The hotel’s resident bunnies, Mano and Mani, ceremoniously appear to welcome arriving guests.
Once a Victorian mansion built by British entrepreneur John Darwood and opened in 1901, The Strand has since grown into one of the region’s most iconic old-world hotels, hosting literary luminaries, intrepid explorers and statesmen for over a century. It re-opened its doors in late 2016 after a six-month renovation.
While the hotel channels a British colonial aesthetic, keep an eye out for glorious Burmese antiques and textiles.
Old and new collide in the surrounding Kyauktada district, where traditional roadside tea shops stand alongside trendy eateries and galleries.
High tea at The Strand Café includes all the English classics, along with traditional Myanmar delicacies.
Literary fans who relish the idea of bedding down where George Orwell and W Somerset Maugham once stayed.
92 Strand Rd
This Anglo-Indian mansion dates back a century and was once the jewel in the crown of an upscale neighbourhood dubbed “Millionaire’s Row”. The abandoned building was slated for demolition, before hotelier Chris Ong snapped it up and set about bringing it back to life.
The hotel’s central design motif, the jali (a diamond-shaped geometric pattern), can be spotted throughout the space in wood lattices on windows, walls and verandas. Rooms and suites feature a coherent blend of colonial and Art Deco fixtures.
Suites boast grand four-poster beds with hand-loomed textiles.
Just around the corner is a stall peddling roti canai (crispy, buttery flatbread). Walk around the rest of the precinct for a knockout tour of Penang street food.
153 Jln Hutton, George Town
This 20th-century Chinese-style home was thought to be beyond renovation. However, original windows and doorways were salvaged for this new 19-room hotel.
There’s a prevailing old Shanghai vibe, with fixtures like fuchsia lanterns and handsome stone vessels overflowing with bougainvillea.
Chareon Muang Road is a narrow strip lined with old teak buildings that now house creative design studios and galleries.
The hotel’s lawn leads right onto the banks of the tree-lined Ping River, where you can watch traditional longboats floating by.
181 Chareonraj Rd
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine