For travelers looking to step beyond the chain hotels of Yangon, they don’t need to walk for more than a few minutes to reach a large white yacht permanently docked near Botahtaung Pagoda.
The five-deck vessel seems like it would be the private property of some eccentric, retro-loving billionaire, but it’s actually the charming, accessible, and (relatively) affordable Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel.
The “floatel” is over 100 meters long and features 104 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a jacuzzi, and even its own theater. Styled after looks popular in the 1920s, fans of the floating hotel visit Yangon just for the chance to stay in the unusual accommodation.
With an old-fashioned charm, plenty of room, and two function halls that can fit 150, the hotel is also often booked for vintage-style, old-fashioned weddings.
Visitors say they love watching the sun rise and set from the rooms on the river side, while those on the city side get pretty cool views of Yangon.
One of the boat’s many decks has been dubbed the “sunrise deck” and it becomes crowded with guests looking to see the famous site of the sun glittering off the water as it rises. In the evening, guests gather on the city side to watch the sun set over the famed pagoda. These informal gatherings offer ample time to start a leisurely chat with fellow guests on the ship, too.
Onboard, guests can pass their time on the wide-planked, open-air lower deck lined with oversized brown leather easy chairs reminiscent of a grandad’s study. Parts of the ship give off serious Titantic vibes — and that’s not a coincidence. Explore the floors and see relics from the past like old-fashioned telephones, telescopes, lanterns, and phonographs, as well as mixed elements of old Burmese and Victorian British design.
The theater is modeled after British Parliament while the Water Spa focuses on Burmese and Thai treatments from facials to massage and beyond.
The ship’s two eateries, the more formal 1920 Industrial Restaurant, and the casual Pirate Restaurant serve Burmese, European, and Indian dishes, while the upscale Victoria Bar and relaxed Robinson Crusoe Bar offer classic cocktails, and domestic and imported beer and wine selections.
Some of the decor is actually antique, while other things are just made to look ancient, artificially. Don’t think you’ll be roughing it onboard though — the ship has air conditioning, wifi, minibars hidden inside old barrels, and a sauna, spa, and bathtubs and dotted along the upper deck.
Rooms range from USD45 per night for a room without a balcony to USD230 for a suite.
Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel
6 Botahtaung Jetty