Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


The Big Six: Burmese beds

Silk drapes, Asian artwork, wooden chalets, luxury huts and private pagodas

Governor's Residence, Rangoon

The Orient Express group is no stranger to Burma (Myanmar), with two river boats gliding the Golden Land's waterways and the Governor's Residence in the former capital of Rangoon (Yangon). Close to the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda and the bustling Bogyoke Market, the hotel offers luxury in spades. Rooms are lavished in silk drapes and timeless teak furntiure, while the Mandalay Restaurant, with views of the hotel's tropical gardens and lotus-layered ponds, serves fragrant Burmese curries.

Governor's Residence, Rangoon (00 95 122 9860; governorsresidence.com). Doubles start at US$299 (£199), B&B.

Rupar Mandalar, Mandalay

The former royal capital of Mandalay sits right in the centre of Burma. Here, the Rupar Mandalar makes an authentic base from which to explore the city's wealth of hilltop pagodas and craft shops. Each of the hotel's traditional wood-panelled rooms bares a botanical name, with sumptuous throws and Asian artwork adding warmth within. The gardens are equally tranquil, with bursting tropical plants, a pool, tennis courts and free bicycles to borrow.

Rupar Mandalar, Mandalay (00 95 9526 1555; ruparmandalar.com). Doubles from US$300 (£200), B&B.

Inle Princess, Inle Lake

Some of Burma's most iconic scenes are captured on Inle Lake, where Intha fishermen use heavy wooden oars to balance on one leg. There's no better spot to watch this traditional technique in action than at the Inle Princess. Surrounded by paddy fields, it offers a selection of low-rise wooden chalets, many of which have lake-facing views. Beyond, the resort branches out past small ponds, gardens and pathways to reveal a dining room, cocktail bar and romantic lakeside spa.

Inle Princess, Inle Lake (00 95 8120 9055; inleprincessresort.net). Doubles start at US$240 (£160), B&B.

Malikha Lodge, Putao

The town of Putao, in the far north of Burma, puts you in reach of the country's snow-capped Himalayan scenery. But first, you have to get there. Accessible only by flight during the dry season (October to April), it offers isolation in the extreme. Here, birdlife abounds, rare orchids flourish and the Malikha Lodge offers an atmospheric place to stay. Accommodation is in luxury huts, with excursions that include elephant treks, visits to local villages and rafting on the Nam Lang River.

Malikha Lodge, Putao (00 95 9860 0659; malikhalodge.net). Two nights' from US$3,000 (£2,000)pp, all inclusive.

Amara Ocean, Ngapali

Burma is blessed with 1,250 miles of near-footprint-free sand and Ngapali Beach is one of its most blissful stretches. There are coral reefs in the Bay of Bengal's blue waters offshore and inexpensive seafood restaurants beneath the palms. Hidden in the midst is Amara, a laid-back resort of 24 low-level bungalows, with thatched roofs and muslin-draped beds. A snug library, spa and sea-facing pool make this the ideal spot to unwind for a few days after an all-action cultural tour.

Amara Ocean, Ngapali Beach (00 95 9851 5480; amaragroup.net). Doubles start at US$290 (£193), B&B.

Bagan Lodge, Bagan

This resort launched last month near the ancient Buddhist city of Bagan, close to the site's 2,000-strong collection of temples, pagodas and stupas. Each of the 82 guestrooms nods towards traditional Burmese design, with simple rattan chairs and rich mahogany furniture, while the Tiffin Box restaurant promises authentic local food. In addition to a spa and pool, guests can also idle away the hours on a private pagoda tour or take a fishing trip on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

Bagan Lodge, Myat Lay Road, Bagan (00 95 616 5456; bagan-lodge.com). Doubles start at US$180 (£120), B&B.