Located in New Bagan, near a large selection of restaurants and shops
Elegant rooms in canopy-covered brick villas with high-end rattan furniture
All rooms come with separate bathtubs and designer rainfall showers
Suites have whirlpool bathtubs and have 42-inch flat-screen TVs
Two enormous swimming pools with lots of sun loungers and personal space
Three bars plus upmarket dining at Tiffin Box restaurant
Extensive buffet breakfast is included in room rates
Charming spa for massages plus a large whirlpool
Fitness center with modern cardio equipment and yoga mats
Resort has E-bikes and bicycles to rent for exploring temples
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Far from main temple zone, need to rely on transport
10- to 15-minute walk from center of New Bagan
Bagan Lodge is a gorgeous modern property with 86 upscale villas and suites on 10 garden-landscaped acres that are a retreat from dusty Bagan. Rooms here are some of the nicest in Bagan, housed in brick villas with canopy tent roofs. The villas feature polished wood floors, elegant rattan furniture, and palatial bathrooms with separate bathtubs and designer rainfall showers. The resort has two enormous swimming pools and a whirlpool plus a large fitness center, spa, three bars, and an upmarket restaurant. One downside is the location: The resort isn't on the river or located in the main temple zone, so transportation is necessary. Amazing Bagan Resort, close to the town of Nyang U, is worth a look as well -- it's not quite as glitzy, but rates are lower.
Artsy upscale boutique hotel with elegant traditional touches
Bagan Lodge looks unassuming from the road outside, as one only sees a handcrafted brick wall decorated with the resort's logo. However, behind the wall are four large teak wood columns that support an ornate teak arch with a tiled triangular roof, which leads into the open-air lobby -- it's a fine and subdued first impression for what is one of the nicest properties in Bagan.
Once inside the resort, things are a bit more glam -- albeit a traditionally Burmese take on glam. Traditional arts play a major role in the decor here, a motif that's apparent right away. The centerpiece inside is a large lacquer covered bamboo vessel -- the kind one finds throughout Myanmar -- that's meant to resemble a Buddhist stupa. According to the owners, the piece was quite an investment for the hotel, and is just one of the many exquisite art objects that welcome guests into the resort. There's a golden peacock bowl, a gilded traditional harp, and dazzling lacquerware vases among the trove of local treasures. Plenty of polished teak and rattan furniture complete the look.
The landscaped grounds pick up where the lobby leaves off, with wire giraffe sculptures covered with ivy; old horse coaches placed throughout the gardens; and orchids and other tropical plants and shrubs dotting the expansive lawns. The hotel is one of the few upscale options in the area, and delivers when it comes to quality in a region filled with budget and mid-range properties. Couples and small groups of friends make up the majority of guests here, though families also pass through.
Located outside of New Bagan on 10 acres of landscaped gardens
Bagan Lodge is located slightly outside of New Bagan, the largest town in the Bagan area. It's a good location for access to lots of restaurants, shops, and a much more authentic village feel than Nyaung U, which is a backpacker haunt. The resort is located a good 10- to 15-minute walk from the center of town, but there are scooters and bicycles for rent, making it easier for guests to get around. These will be useful for reaching the temples as well, as the resort is about 15 minutes from the main temple area of Old Bagan by car (the trip is longer by bicycle, of course)
While Bagan Lodge has no river views of the Ayeyarwady, nor is it in the Archaeological Zone like many of the other high-end hotels here, it does have the advantage of being built on 10 acres of landscaped gardens, so that it feels private and exclusive. The airport is a 15-minute drive from here, and there are some nearby temples that get few tourists, so it does have the added advantage of being off the beaten path.
Simple villas and ornate suites with modern amenities and local touches
There are 86 rooms at Bagan Lodge available as suites or villas, with a fairly distinct difference in style between the two categories. The villas are all ultra-spacious -- possibly some of the biggest rooms that we saw in Bagan -- and more modern in style. They have polished fine wood floors, are filled with contemporary rattan furnishings like chairs, sofas, cabinets, and chest of drawers. The color palette skews neutral, with tasteful pops of soft gray and green. The palatial bathrooms offer both separate bathtubs and designer rainfall showers.
The suites are even more plush, but the ornate style has a more vintage sensibility. They are outfitted with art pieces such as fine lacquerware, imported carpets, damask wallpaper, and several gold plated armchairs fit for royalty which grace the separate living area which divides two enormous bedrooms. The Impressionist-inspired European landscape paintings are an odd choice for a hotel in one of Myanmar's most iconically Burmese regions. Each bedroom has a 42-inch flat-screen television and gold wallpaper. There's even a whirlpool tub with colorful LED lights in the bathroom, plus a separate shower, and long vanities with vessel sinks.
Modern conveniences include flat-screen TVs, electric hot water kettles along with free tea and coffee, air-conditioning, minibars, safes, and free Wi-Fi. All rooms also have furnished patios or terraces, with lounge chairs and umbrellas for those visiting in rainy season.
Two large swimming pools, whirlpool, and an upmarket restaurant plus three bars
Bagan Lodge has some of the most extensive features of the many hotels that we've visited in Bagan. To start with, there are two enormous outdoor swimming pools, both with plenty of sun loungers. One of the pools sits out by the lobby and restaurant, and the other is hidden at the back of the property by the suites. Additionally, there's a large whirlpool out by the Suite Pool -- it really is eye-catching, as it's set inside a columned rotunda, with large female statues holding candles guarding each side. It makes for a great photo-op and regal dip (if, like some of the suites, it does look a bit out of place in Southeast Asia's countryside).
The resort also has a modern gym with Lifecycle cardio machines, a set of free weights, pulley machines, and a rowing machine -- features almost unheard of for hotels in these parts. There's also a spa that offers both traditional and oil massages available, along with other wellness treatments. Treatment rooms are attractive, but simple, with polished dark wood floors and elegant portraits on the walls.
For eating and drinking, the Tiffin Box is the hotel's upmarket restaurant, with a menu full of Asian and international dishes ranging from gourmet burgers to Indian curries. There's also a local menu with a selection of Burmese cuisine. The restaurant has both an air-conditioned indoor dining area as well as an open-air (but covered) main section, which is where the free gourmet a la carte breakfast is served each morning. For drinks, there are two pool bars, including a fancier option near the Lobby pool with a collection of rattan chairs, including a hanging swing chair, to enjoy cocktails by. There is also a snazzy Lobby Bar, which has fine objets d'art combined with a pool table.
Other features at the resort include buggies to drive guests around, as the grounds really are expansive; rental bicycles and E-bikes (really electric scooters) for visiting the temples; and a small meeting room for seminars, conferences, and any group events. Wi-Fi is free throughout Bagan Lodge.