For weeks I had scanned the lists of possible Hotels in Bagan. For sure I wanted to stay in Old Bagan, close to the monuments and temples and within walking distance to restaurants, temples and sunsets. I finally booked the Bagan Hotel River View in Old Bagan, one of the few hotels set right in the middle of the old town and the temples.
And what a dream this hotel complex was!! The complex itself is huge. I got lost a few times. The room itself was amazing and huge!! Check-in was swift and I was shown to the room through the complex, passing by a wonderful pool. The room was perfect. Great bed (I like the mattress hard), huge bathroom, nice seating area, desk, a fridge and a big safe. The Bagan Hotel River View also provides you with more bottled water than any other hotel so far. I never ever ran out. There was also tea and coffee and I got a fresh fruit plate almost everyday.
The hotel complex was awesome!!! We had ancient pagodas on the temple grounds, though off-limits due to earthquake damage. The gardens were filled with old trees and plenty of plants and the restaurant was right next to the Irrawaddy river. I have to admit that the best sunsets were actually viewed right from the hotel's garden.
Breakfast was included and good. Though the cold air in the mornings was not too pleasant to be sitting outside. Lunch and dinners however were great in the warm afternoon sun. The staff was very distant, or neutral. A big difference to the staff of the Hotel Yadanarbon in Mandalay, where everyone was trying to make a friendly conversation. However, the housekeeping staff did a great job and cleaned the room always during the time when I was gone, which is not the norm in Asia and I had nothing more than coming back after hours and the room is still not made up.
The great room and the setting of the Hotel was so nice that I actually spent an entire day inside the hotel grounds, which I rarely ever do. Location of the Bagan Hotel River View is excellent, but there is nothing around the hotel to do in the evenings, and it is a bit far and dark to be walking around the village. However, since I rented an e-bike right outside the Hotel's gate, I was mobile enough. And after exploring Bagan all day long I was not really looking for any entertainment in the evenings. WiFi in my room was so bad that I gave up and used my own SIM card instead. It worked fine in the lobby, which was a bit of a walk though.
In my own rating system I would rate the Bagan Hotel River View as follows:
Location 5 of 5 (as a conscious decision)
Room Size 5 of 5
WiFi free and working 3 of 5
Breakfast included and yummy 4 of 5
Staff competency and friendliness 4 of 5
Safety box in the room and adequate size 5 of 5
Bathroom functionality 5 of 5
Room design and functionality 5 of 5
Sounds 5 of 5
There is no question that I would absolutely go back for a future stay!