Sandoway, Ngapali Beach
At Panoramic Journeys, attention to detail is paramount. We pride ourselves on not only getting the big things right, but the little things too – the things that raise an experience from the excellent to the exquisite. So when Karina was in Burma at the beginning of the year for a fashion shoot, she took the opportunity to review a hotel that many of our guests stay in. She was delighted to find that the Sandoway Resort Ngapali Beach have thought of every little thing…
The extraordinary resort lies among the coconut palms and pristine white sands of Ngapali Beach. It comprises 59 cottages and villas set in 6 acres of tropical gardens, facing on to the clear blue waters of the Bay of Bengal with a glorious 450 metre-long beachfront.
The hotel’s website says:
“…Sandoway Resort’s mission is not just to represent a luxurious venue for its guests, but rather to become a unique experience on its own that lays within every leave in its garden, every wood carving in its design and especially within every gesture of its Team. Staying at the Sandoway Resort allows the guest to embrace all the beauty of Ngapali Beach and indulge in its simple and yet incredibly charming surroundings. From the palm roofs to the wooden floors, from the tall bamboo trees to the small water ponds every detail contributes to immerse the guest in an atmosphere where peace, elegance and comfort are wonderfully blended in full harmony with the environment…”
The hotel ticks all of the boxes that are prerequisite for a five star hotel. From the moment of arrival, you can tell that this hotel is privately owned by people who care. After a warm welcome with a cool drink, a charming girl took me along shaded boardways across flowing water to my room. The size and aesthetics of the room immediately impressed, but it was the chiller and safe that intrigued me! At the Sandoway, even the hum of electrical equipment is not allowed to shatter the peace. Instead of a minibar, a charming bespoke insulated chest is stocked up with fresh ice each day. The safe is a simple but stylish antique metal trunk with a heavy padlock and instead of TVs in every room, the hotel has a magnificent cinema.
One of my travelling companions was most taken with the light fittings throughout the hotel – from the stylish bamboo upward cones in the bathroom, to the standing lamp in the middle of the room seemingly with no power lead. As dusk fell, the lighting came into its own. The walkways that weave between villas and the beach front were lit by a procession of illuminated wooden elephants and the trees were tastefully draped in fairly lights. However, the piece de resistance had to be the papier-mache lanterns floating across the stunning pool. Works of art, these swans, sharks and giraffes moved gently over the water beside the stylish colonial bar and library.
It was here in the library that I met Ohmar, the owner of Sandoway, inspecting the new banisters on the balcony. Ohmar is a serene & petite lady who glides gracefully through the hotel. This year she has had more families booking in, so the beautiful library needed to be adapted for health and safety reasons. Ohmar had characteristically embraced this change by commissioning local carpenters to make cylindrical spinning wooden bamboo banisters, each with a different traditional chin tattoo marking on them. The hotel has worked closely with Burmese craftsmen from the beginning and is constructed from local materials like hardwood, stone carvings and marble.