We speak to the GM of Grand Mercure in Myanmar – Accor’s latest gem in the “land of gems”

Grand Mercure recently announced the opening of its first property in Myanmar. One of Southeast Asia’s largest and most diverse countries, Myanmar remains one of the most undiscovered destinations but is emerging as a popular travel destination.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the country welcomed just 21,000 international arrivals in 1990, that rose to 120,000 in 1995, 660,000 in 2005 and 790,000 in 2010. Last year, Myanmar welcomed 3.44 million visitors up from 2.9 million in 2016 – an 18% increase.

We chat with the general manager of the newest property Vinoth Kumar to discover the hidden gem – both Yangon and the first Grand Mercure in Myanmar.

TD: What makes Yangon an exciting place for Grand Mercure?

VK: Southeast Asia has long been a strategic market for AccorHotels. Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire is the newest of nine hotels within the AccorHotels’ portfolio with five more in the pipeline for Myanmar.

The property located in Yangon is an exciting connection to a land of incredible beauty and rich culture that is rapidly emerging into the modern world. The significant future growth makes Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire truly an attractive destination for tourists, business and corporate visitors.

What are you looking forward to in terms of business?

Although the citywide occupancy of Yangon continues to fluctuate, there is the strong allure of an emerging market paired with captivating tourist destinations. The strategically located Grand Mercure makes us look forward to embracing more travellers at our unique property.

How will Grand Mercure Yangon and its location help attract tourists for Yangon?

AccorHotels’ network reaches 39 million people through Le Club, AccorHotel’s loyalty programme. Le Club continues to reward loyal customers that travel to various AccorHotel destinations around the world. The New Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire is an exciting addition to the network of hotels that provides a desirable location for tourist, business and corporate visitors.

Where do you see Yangon on the tourist map?

Myanmar’s economy has grown at an incredible pace over the past few years. As the country continues to develop in areas such as energy, garment, healthcare, and education, which has much room for progress, Myanmar’s potential as a destination for tourism and business will continue to grow.

The continuous strong support from domestic and foreign investment will only continue to increase Yangon’s presence in the region.

How will you meet the growing demand and influx of tourists?

Our hotel offers 175 rooms ranging from 30 sqm for superior rooms to the 340 sqm two-bedroom suites. This allows us to meet the growing demands with a variety of unique solutions while maintaining the excellent standard of service.

The hotel is also glowing with culinary diversity, Flavours Restaurant offers a nostalgic selection of assorted international and Asian cuisine, including halal food. Specialty cakes and fresh pastries are available at Mahura Deli, a special destination to enjoy a casual meal along with a fine selection of gourmet coffees, teas or a glass of wine.

For light snacks, finger foods and cocktails, guests are invited to a lush tropical garden to experience the Ken pool bar beside the outdoor swimming pool.

What efforts are being taken to blend in with the local culture?

Local artist Pyar Dade has put his artistic flair in the interiors of the guest rooms and suites of Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire with vivid hand-painted ceilings inspired by the colourful sapphire, emerald, gold and ruby gemstones that adorn the historic Shwedagon Pagoda, which Myanmar, the land of gems, is renowned for.

Which are your favourite hotspots in Yangon?

I enjoy exploring the many new restaurants and cafes that add to the diverse taste of Yangon as well as paying a visit to the tranquil temples and pagodas.

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