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Bagan Umbra Hotel 3.0

Bagan, Myanmar

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located near temples between Nyaung U and Old Bagan
  • Restaurants, bike rental shops, and travel agencies surrounding the hotel
  • All rooms have TVs, minibars, and air-conditioning
  • Grand Deluxe rooms include local art, funky furniture, and private patios
  • Two pools including an infinity pool with temple views
  • Indoor/outdoor restaurant open all day
  • Free breakfast buffet with Western and Burmese options
  • Large parking area
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Standard Rooms are small, basic, dated, and noisy
  • Wet room bathrooms in Standard Rooms need an overhaul
  • Weak Wi-Fi signal -- best used in lobby

Bottom Line

The 94-room Bagan Umbra Hotel is a mid-range resort located between Nyaung U and Old Bagan. It's a great choice in terms of its proximity to temples -- Shwe San Daw is just a 10-minute drive away -- and there are a decent amount of dining options and shops in the area as well. Rooms here are a mixed bag, ranging from old and worn Standard Rooms, to the newer Grand Deluxe Rooms, which are quite stylish and have private patios. The resort has two pools plus a restaurant serving free buffet breakfasts and dinners that can be enjoyed alfresco on a terrace. Travelers might want to investigate the Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, which offers similar amenities but more uniform rooms, though rates at the Bagan Umbra will be far lower.

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Scene

Compact hotel with traditional accents and lovely grounds

Like many of the hotels in the area, the lobby of the Bagan Umbra Hotel resembles a temple, with its arched entry door and pointed roof. A pair of golden bird statues guard the entrance and there are some lovely dancer sculptures outside -- it all comes together to create a fitting welcome to this mostly pleasant hotel. Inside, the lobby is large, with red and gold covered pillars that contrast the cream-colored walls and floors. Buddhist art adorns the walls, while beautifully crafted rattan sofas and teak chairs provide seating and a dash of homey comfort. Lovely arched windows let in plenty of natural light. A massive sculpture carved from the root of a tree to resemble a group of fish sits at the center of the patterned tile floor, small nod to the artsy accents employed in higher-category rooms here. Couples and small groups of friends make up most of the guests here, though a few families pass through as well. 

Location

Midway between Nyaung U and Old Bagan, close to temples and restaurants

Bagan Umbra Hotel is located on the Nyaung U-Old Bagan Road, the second main road that runs between the airport and the area's iconic temples. It's about midway between the two towns. There is a fair amount of traffic passing by, and some of the rooms closest to the road will be disturbed by noise. Most of the main temples are nearby, such as Shwe San Daw, which is about a 10-minute drive away; there are even a couple that are within walking distance, plus one right next to the hotel. It's easy enough to find restaurants in the area, and there's a decent selection right outside of the hotel, though there are many more dining options in Nyaung U, just a five-minute drive down the road. Bicycle and electric scooter rental shops right outside of the hotel, so it is easy to get around on one's own, or else there are taxis and horse carts available for tours. The airport is about a 15-minute drive from here.

Rooms

Rooms vary from lackluster and dated to modern and bright with private patios

The hotel's 94 rooms are a mixed bag, ranging from older Standard Rooms that garner lots of complaints from guests, to more modern and stylish Deluxe and Grand Deluxe Rooms. Standard Rooms are small, dated, and bare bones, plus guests complain of a variety of issues like odors and noise from the road outside. The hotel would like to renovate them, but the present rules regarding the Bagan Archaeological Zone don't allow for it, so they stand as is. These rooms have worn wood floors and bare walls, and are simply furnished with beds, cupboards, desks, and chairs. Amenities include minibars, old tube TVs, and air-conditioning. Wet room-style bathrooms are tiny and outdated, with dirty grout and worn surfaces. The wet-room layout also means that the entire bathroom gets wet during a shower.

There are two types of Deluxe Rooms here, and these feel like an entirely different hotel than the Standard Rooms. They are housed in an old wing, where rooms are less modern but larger and with shower/tub combos in bathrooms, or in a more contemporary wing. Rooms in the more contemporary wing have nicer floors, teak cabinets, flat-screen TVs, and bathrooms with rainfall showers. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, but it's not the best.

The best digs in the house are the Grand Deluxe Rooms, which are stylish, modern spaces with chic decor. Guests are greeted by traditional puppets on the doors serving as room numbers, and the interiors are mood lit, with plush funky chairs, contemporary Burmese decor, patterned duvets and throw pillows, and lacquerware and teak pieces. These are the only rooms that come with safes, and they also come with irons and ironing boards. Bathrooms are particularly appealing, with vibrant tilework, contemporary fixtures, and dark marble accents. Some rooms have small private patios furnished with rattan seating, while others have balconies overlooking the infinity pool. 

Features

Two pools, restaurant with free breakfast, nighttime cultural events, and free Wi-Fi

Bagan Umbra Hotel has two outdoor swimming pools, one of which is a lovely infinity pool surrounded by sun loungers and traditional red Burmese parasols. The pool overlooks the lawn and has views of a picturesque temple that gets lit up at night. The other pool is smaller and older, though it provides a pleasant, serene spot for relaxing.

For dining, the La Yeik restaurant serves up both Burmese cuisine and international fare. Traditional puppet and dance performances are put on for guests at night. Free breakfast buffets are served here, or sometimes in the garden, and offerings include a nice mix of Western and Burmese options. There's also an outdoor terrace overlooking the pool and temple where the restaurant serves Thai hot pot buffets as well as a la carte items in the evenings.

Other facilities at the hotel include a small spa, a large parking area, and a vast lawn that's used to host weddings, parties, and other special functions. There's also a gift shop in the lobby. Wi-Fi is free, but the signal is weak and best accessed in the lobby.

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Address

Nyaung U Main Road, Wet-Kyi-Inn Village, Nyaung U Township, Mandalay Province, Myanmar, Bagan, Mandalay Region 05231, Myanmar

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