The Inya Lake is an artificial lake created by the British as a water reservoir from 1882 to 1883 in order to provide water supply in Yangon.

Located on a 27-acre, verdant parcel, the Inya Lake hotel possesses a unique history. In an era of heightened tension between the Soviet Union and the United States, it became part of the Soviet's foreign policy to befriend third world countries like Myanmar [then known as Burma], especially as Myanmar in the late 1950s governed by U Nu, was still a socialist country.

In his 1958 state visit to Myanmar, Secretary General Nikita Khruschev presented the Government of Myanmar with three gifts; one of which was the Inya Lake hotel.

It is claimed that Khruschev had a personal hand in the design of the free-form swimming pool that is one of the highlights of the hotel.

The Inya Lake Hotel was a grand, impressive gesture to demonstrate the skills and technology of Russian engineers, architects and technicians who came and built what was described by the international media as the most modern hotel in Southeast Asia of that period. Construction was started in 1958 and the building was completed and opened for the first guests in October of 1962.

Although the hotel was refurbished with modern facilities, the original building has retained its architecture and history with characteristic high ceilings in the spacious lobby, in the rooms, the "Mingalar Hall ' ballroom as well as the Café.