Where is it? The five-star Sedona Hotel couldn't be more conveniently located, standing halfway between the airport and the old town of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city and, until 2006, its capital. The Sedona is also a mere 15-minute drive from the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, with its 99-metre-high golden dome. The 431-room Inya Wing, named after the lake on whose gently lapped shores the hotel sits, has just opened.
Is the Inya Wing anything special? In a word: yes. The design is based on the traditional Burmese Pathein parasol. The motif is used to striking effect throughout the space: a yellow and russet light installation hangs handsomely from the lobby ceiling (top); its yellow umbrellas a familiar sight for those flying in from Hong Kong. The overall colour scheme of ochre, mustard and maroon is reminiscent of the robes worn by the country's Buddhist monks.
Speaking of Buddhism, didn't you mention a pagoda? The Shwedagon Pagoda, which is said to contain four Buddha relics, is a must, even if you suffer from that Asian affliction of feeling a bit "templed out". The huge handbell-shaped structure, covered in plate gold and topped with a diamond, is extensive and requires a good few hours to fully appreciate, during which you can visit one of eight shrines that relates to your birth date and tip water over its statue deities. As you must be barefoot, it's advisable to visit at dusk, when the marble floor is cool enough to walk on. You must also wear long clothing; a longyi will serve you well.
Er, what is a longyi? The traditional two-metre-long cloth that is knotted round the waist of both women and men, like a sarong but more elegant than beachy. Think Aung San Suu Kyi. If you want one, the Bogyoke Aung San Market, in the city centre and a 20-minute ride by taxi from the hotel, is the place for you. Here you can also pick up Burmese knickknacks, costume, jade and pearl jewellery, gold and precious stones and fabulous local artwork. It's a great place to people watch and large enough to spend a half day, so don't rush it.
Speaking of Suu Kyi, in November her National League for Democracy won the first open elections in Myanmar in 25 years. The house in which she was detained between 1988 and 2010 is visible from the Inya Wing. You can walk to it round the lake and even take a photo outside her front gate.
What's on offer in terms of entertainment? The hotel puts on a two-hour traditional dance show each evening (below). Dances range from courtship to comical, all accompanied by an orchestra of Burmese instruments. The U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe comic folk dance, between a Groucho Marx-like figure and the object of his desire, is worth a watch. If your style is less arts festival and more Wan Chai, you are in luck. The basement Ice Bar resembles an igloo, minus the cold.
And the food? Main restaurant D'Cuisine is in the Inya Wing and has a buffet full of Western and Eastern scrumptiousness as well as a la carte ordering. The freshly barbecued seafood is recommended. Chinese restaurant Du Fu is known for its dim sum and Orzo serves quality Italian fare, including an amazing melting chocolate sponge dessert. Outside options are even more tempting, the pick of the bunch being the nearby Green Elephant, which is housed in a colonial-era building and serves Burmese food. The stews are hearty and delicious; not as spicy as many other Asian dishes but flavoursome and filling.
When should I visit? October to March is the high season, with dry weather and temperatures of between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. From May to October it is hot, steamy and wet. Rooms in the Inya Wing start at US$185 a night.