In Focus

A taste of Spain in Myanmar

By Marie Starr

When you look at Melia Yangon’s façade attached to the Myanmar Plaza shopping mall, the first glance makes it hard to distinguish between the shopping center and the hotel.But once you enter the new 5-star property operated by the 400-strong worldwide chain of Spanish-owned Melia Group Hotels, you see the understated luxury with high ceilings and dramatic light fixtures.Marketing and Communications Executive Hanthi Zaw says the newest five-star hotel in town the newest five-star hotel in town is popular for both business people and travellers alike.   “We have a lobby bar which has a lot of natural light and a lot of people like to come here and do business,” she said.

The Melia group of companies has approximately 400 hotels and resorts around the world and this is their most recent addition to their rapidly-expanding Southeast Asia portfolio, according to Marketing and Communications Manager May Thandar Htun. Melia Yangon opened in July 2016 with 24 stories and 429 rooms including eight different room types varying from Duluxe to Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite features a large, outdoor terrace overlooking Inya Lake. All rooms are equipped with centralised digital control systems so you can open the curtains to your lake view without leaving your bed.

Facilities include a large gym and pool area on level 16. The gym has a personal trainer always on hand and the big rectangular pool is shape-perfect for exercising or lounging in the deck chairs with café-style seating on the side.  Both are located on the lake side of the hotel with the best views. Six function and conference rooms have capacities of 50 to 240 people as well as two ballrooms, the smaller of which can hold 150 people for seated functions or up to 300 for cocktail receptions. Melia Yangon also expects to launch a YHI Spa — a Melia group brand.  Melia Yangon has a ‘hotel within a hotel’ concept at its upper floors. ‘The Level’ is a floor reserved for the guests staying in suite rooms — a  small but private space for select guests to relax in seclusion.  Marketing and Communications Manager May Thandar Htun said guests could expect a more personalized experience with upgraded amenities and services. Melia Yangon food and beverage outlets include a Vietnamese restaurant called The Lantern headed by a Vietnamese chef with elegant interiors reminiscent of upmarket Saigon dining from a bygone era.  “We have three private rooms at The Lantern seating up to 52 diners in each and there are private bedrooms attached,” said Hanthi Zaw. “A lot of people assume that our restaurants are going to be expensive — but actually they’re actually excellent value,” Hanthi Zaw pointed to a bowl of pho priced at $8.The blue painted tiles, curved arches and light white drapes give a subtle Mediterranean feel to  Olea, their newly-opened Mediterranean restaurant which has a large wine cellar attached. “We are proud of the Mediterranean flavor of Olea — which is one-of-a-kind in Yangon.”
The biggest restaurant, The Market, has a more casual atmosphere and an open-air market theme with a number of counters each offering unique international cuisine including dim sum, sushi, Western, Thai and a variety of desserts.The seafood buffet at The Market – available every Friday evening – includes as array of high-quality seafood sourced from as far away as Ireland and France. I found the terrine to be light and creamy.  The four types of oysters served were delightfully fresh. The cheese selection was top notch along with a variety of Thai curries, roast meats and noodle dishes. The all-you-can-eat seafood buffet has a free flow of drinks and costs $48 per person with an option to upgrade to Nicolas Feuillatte champagne for an additional $35. “A passion for service is the core of the brand and the service culture of Melia Hotels & Resorts.  Guests can feel it from the moment they walk in our Melia Hotel,” Hanthi Zaw said.

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Marie is copy editor and writer at My Magical Myanmar since 2016. From Ireland but living in Myanmar for the past five years, she specializes in travel writing and hotel and restaurant reviews. Her writing and photography have been published in numerous local as well as major international publications including Al Jazeera and The Irish Times. Her passion lies with exploring unknown destinations and discovering diverse ethnic cuisines."""


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