A slice of design-led style on the shores of time-tested beauty
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Fishing | Food & wine | Mountains
Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s premiere attractions. Set beneath the mountain plateau of Shan State, its perfectly still blue waters host floating gardens, stilted markets and fishermen that row with their legs in a tradition that dates back centuries. And, on its banks, you’ll find local industries that range from wineries to hand-rolled cigar workshops while next-door Inthein Village features no less than 1,000 dramatically ruined stupas. Sanctum Inle is set on an inlet to the east; affectionately known as the ‘sunset side’, it offers evening light displays as azure hues are set aglow in raking reds and bright oranges. Arrive by boat transfer for the best views.
Designed by a French architect, Sanctum’s rooms combine an exacting monastic minimalism with creature comforts. Exposed timber beams and hardwood flooring plays host to soaking tubs and double vanity sinks. However, that’s not to say the asceticism is without colour. Plush fabrics, Burmese artwork and wooden accents pop against whitewashed walls. Look for those with verandah views of the lake and gardens or opt for a stand-alone villa suite where private terraces and vaulted ceilings make for luxurious stays. For the best views, the chic four-poster bed of the Abbey Suite offers lake panoramas.
The Shan state, one of Myanmar’s wealthiest, is known for its culinary arts, which you’ll find showcased in Sanctum’s modestly titled Refectory. Here, you can take your meals on the expansive terrace or under the immaculately presented exposed brickwork of the restaurant. Noodles, soups and fresh garden salads are created using only organic fruits and vegetables while samosas, curries and mohinga noodle soups bear influences from wider Myanmar. For those missing home, a full complement of more familiar Western dishes are also on offer.
Taking notes from the hotel’s designer aesthetic, its Sanctuary Spa features a range of cutting-edge treatments with everything from all-natural facials to massage journeys available. If a bit of liquid relaxation is more your thing, head to the excellent Cloister Bar where local beers and wines are served alongside international varietals and cocktails while Cuban and Dominican cigars tempt towards a dedicated lounge. You could also make use of the Chapter House and its ever-growing library and selection of board games.
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