Vivan Chan, general manager at Summit Parkview Hotel in Yangon, unpins a badge from the front of her jacket.
“We all wear these as part of our uniform,” she says. “The staff are very proud to wear them.” The badge is shaped like a Myanmar version of a Russian doll, a pyint taing htaung.
On it is a smiling lady, her cheeks daubed with thanaka, and the words: “Where R U? I’m @ Summit Parkview.”
The badge is a symbol for the hotel, says Ms Chan. It has a round base to symbolise that even when shaken it will never topple and fall.
Summit Parkview is Yangon’s longest running 100 percent-foreign-owned hotel. It opened in 1995, and has survived several natural disasters, including Cyclone Nargis in 2008. “Part of the roof flew off,” said Ms Chan. “Luckily nobody was hurt.”
Now, celebrating its coming 20th anniversary in June, the 251-room hotel is due to be extended, with work on a new 195-room wing to begin in the next few months.
“Since the lifting of sanctions in 2012, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MoHT) has been asking the hospitality industry to increase the number of rooms, to cater to the increasing demand. Even the local inns and guesthouses were expected to do the same,” said Ms Chan.
Several long-standing Yangon hotels seriously considered the request. It came at a time when Yangon desperately needed to increase capacity ahead of an expected influx of tourists.
But now, with thousands of new rooms to be built over the next few years by both local and foreign investors, Ms Chan believes that most hotels will find it a challenge to fill the new rooms.
“Right now even we are quite unsure about whether there will be more arrivals,” she said.
Just over 3 million international arrivals visited Myanmar throughout 2014, up from 1 million in 2012, according to MoHT statistics. However, almost two-thirds of these arrived through the country’s borders gateways – only a third came through Yangon International Airport.
The new wing will be built in an ‘L’ shape around the existing hotel, said Ms Chan. “The permit has been approved and the project will start once all the formalities are completed in a couple of months.”
As well as 195 additional rooms, the new wing will feature a 600-person ballroom, a second restaurant, a new bar, an executive floor, a new swimming pool, a gym and a spa, according to Ms Chan. It is expected to open in mid-2017.
The hotel is 100pc owned by Singaporean investors, and the architect for the new wing is also Singaporean, said Ms Chan, adding that negotiations with prospective contractors are still under way.
The Summit Parkview is a 4-starhotel and the new wing will be built in line with this, she said.
Source: Myanmar Times