Aureum Palace Hotel Bagan

Aureum Palace Hotel Bagan

A tranquil paradise in the heart of Bagan ~ Review

Myanmar is a land of unparalleled beauty where your soul derives a refreshing sense of energy from its remarkable landscapes wrapped in nature’s green cloak which is intricately embroidered with ancient temples, dreamy villages, life-giving rivers and the warm smiles of its people.

Bagan is one place in Myanmar where time has aged differently. Temples built centuries ago claim the skies in Bagan and the current residents of the place seem to be content with houses that don’t disrupt the beauty of the current vista.

Vikram and I travelled from India for a day to reach this beautiful town which serves as a poignant juxtaposition between the splendour of the age-old temples standing staunchly as an example of their regal past and the simplicity of the lives led by the people eager to establish a connection with visitors in an attempt to know more about the rest of the world and its cultures.

We checked into the magnificent Aureum Palace Hotel Bagan which beautifully melds into the magical background of the temples maintaining a balance between new and old and allowing its guests to enjoy the most charismatic views of Bagan. Situated at the heart of the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone, this is just the place for guests to immerse themselves in luxury.

 

Check In

The land still wore the shroud of darkness and in the dim light of the stars, the temple silhouettes majestically marked most of the horizon. We loved the ethereal scenes we passed as dawn neared with the promise of lighting everything up. When we reached the property, just one look at it was enough to tell us that luxury wouldn’t be discounted.

The architecture of the hotel is planned in a way that the property inconspicuously blends in with the rest of the landscape creating an uninterrupted vista. As our car reached the entrance, a hotel staff member rushed to help us with our bags and requested us to head up the stairs to the lobby.

We sipped on sweet tea while the staff at the front desk completed the paperwork for our check-in. The availability of modern amenities and the splendidly designed lobby didn’t prepare me for the traditional key that we were given to access our rooms. They don’t use the regular access cards for rooms here! We were also provided with two passes to the viewing tower in the property from where we could enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets of Bagan. We headed back to the entrance of the lobby building, where a golf cart was waiting to take us to our villa.

 

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Jasmine Villa

Tuning our senses into the calming atmosphere of the hotel we headed towards Jasmine Villa where we would be staying for the next three days. The sun was yet to light up the sky and at this early hour, we heard more birds than humans. The property, which boasts 72 opulent villas, looked quiet – its magnificence humbled in the shadows of the dark. The 27 acre gardens in the hotel created a continuum of architecture resonating with the landscapes outside the property.

Our villa was prettily nestled by the lake allowing us to enjoy some of the most delightful views of the place.

The villa itself was spacious, and the use of plush fabrics and antique décor made it look rather luxurious. We had a lavishly designed bedroom, a charming living area, a pretty veranda, and a beautiful private terrace. The bathroom was surprisingly big and very well-appointed. It had a main room which housed an impressive tub {a treat after a long day of temple-hopping} and a sink, the bidet room and the shower room.

All villas in the Aureum Palace are rife with hand-crafted teak furnishings, antiques and local artefacts which help guests gain an insight into the local architecture and décor. Hardwood floors add warmth to the look while a personal Jacuzzi shakes us back into the modern world amenities that we are accustomed to. The private terraces for alfresco dining served as a perfect vantage point for us to enjoy the views of Bagan and the hotel property.

Living in luxury in a country visited by relatively few travellers, was an experience that the Aureum Palace helped us create in Bagan. As we began to unpack, there was a knock on the door and housekeeping showed up with bug spray reminding us that living next to a water body in a beautiful landscape came with its own downside. They came to our villa every day usually before evening to offer to spray our rooms.

 

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Hotel Appearance and Amenities

A visit to Bagan is like a journey into the past. But what my mind had failed to imagine was that Aureum Palace would have gone to such lengths to ensure that it perfectly merged with the historic ruins of the landscape that it was a part of. The Salween River kisses some of the villas located on the fringes of the resort while beautiful landscape gardens adorn others. You wouldn’t realize what you are driving towards, until the lobby area comes into sight and you realize that it is not a temple in Bagan but the resort itself.

Different man-made and natural elements come into play to add character to Aureum Palace. Take the infinity pool for example which made me feel like I could drift towards the temples or the tranquil lake by our villa which rejuvenated us simply by the sight of it after a long day of temple-hopping.

 

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Traditional food and culture is high on the list as are modern amenities, which include a spa and golf course nearby. Discerning travellers who prefer luxury and still want a lick of the local culture and traditions will find this resort to be just the place for them.

* Set inside the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone, Aureum Palace has unique access to the surrounding landmarks, including the Bagan Viewing Tower, Min Nanthu Village, and Nyaung Oo.

 

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On-Site Dining

The restaurants and bars on offer have all been situated at a place from where you can get the best view of the ancient temples.

We had our breakfast at Xanadu which is close to the infinity pool and offers compelling views of the nearby pagodas. We noticed that Western dishes dominated the breakfast table with a few local items to choose from. We are assuming that the hotel understands the need to balance local and international cuisines.

Other restaurants and bars include the Lounge which is a good place to relax in the early evening hours while you order tea or coffee with some freshly baked pastries. Those looking for a refreshing drink will find homemade sherbets here to be rather delightful.

Yearning for a taste of the local dishes? Then head to Shan, where you can order Thai and traditional Myanmar cuisine. To savour European dishes, you should walk down to Casa D’Enzo which has an impressive collection of fine Italian wines and is famous for its homemade pastas. Hero’s Club is the poolside restaurant which encourages you to enjoy a poolside barbecue dinner with a Mandalay Rum Sour Cocktail in your hand, and a classical Myanmar dance performance under the stars. 🙂

 

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Wellness Spa

I love spas. They help me reconnect with the needs of my body and soul which are often overlooked in busy schedules. This is why visiting the spa here was high on my list. After a tiring first day of sightseeing, Vikram and I decided to revitalize ourselves through spa therapy.

Aureum Nature Spa looked very inviting. It has been designed to imitate the architecture of an 11th century temple and the structure looked marvellous. There was ample natural light filling the atmosphere and the earthy colours integrated its design with that of other temples built during the period. Just entering the spa had a soothing effect on our minds.

We stepped out rejuvenated, after a pampering Myanmar Thanaka Body Scrub and an Ayurvedic body massage that was hinged on age-old rituals and ancient healing practices.

 

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Location

Aureum Palace claims an address in the relatively urban Nyaung U area which is dotted with a few temples of Bagan. It is close to the airport, albeit a little far from the Old Bagan area which has the densest concentration of temples.

Intrepid travellers may give in to the temptation of hiring an e-bike {a popular means of getting around for tourists} for the day, but I felt that it was safer taking a chauffeur driven car with a guide who knew the place.

While the temple views are incomparable, Bagan has more to offer. Just a 10 minute drive from the resort will take you to the downtown area of Nyaung U where you will find several restaurants and a handful of shops catering to travellers who want a closer look at life in Myanmar.

 

When To Go

Visiting Bagan is ideal when the temperatures are low and temple-hopping does not seem like an energy-intensive task. This is why the dry season which sets in by November and ends in April, is a good time to be here. Temperatures begin to soar in April before the monsoon season makes it difficult for you to enjoy your trip.

 

The Takeaway

Aureum Palace Hotel Bagan is a favourite for many tourists who visit Bagan. This is partially because of its perfect location, design and décor, and more importantly because of the delightful hospitality of its staff. There was also nothing subtle about the hotel’s display of local culture and traditions which was very likeable. Overall, we had such a great time that we could only look back with a smile curling up our lips.

 

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Planning a trip to Myanmar? Or have you already been there? Share your thoughts and plans with us!

 

* My trip to Myanmar has been split into several posts: Stay tuned for my review of Popa Mountain Resort

** If you like this article, please share it on social media using the share buttons at the bottom of the post.

*** Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review.

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* I love bringing together a bunch of conflicting items and weaving my own sense of one-ness to them. *

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