Bloomberg recently had a report about Hilton Hotels properties in newly opened Myanmar (formerly Burma). Hilton was one of the first chains to build in Southeast Asian country since sanctions have eased over the the last couple of years.
We visited Myanmar three years ago and arrived just two days after Coca-Cola and Pepsi were re-introduced to the country. There were no ATMs in the country, and I don’t mean, they were hard to find, I mean they literally weren’t yet allowed in the country.
Things have changed now as some of the West’s conveniences start to filter in, but this is both good and bad. On one hand, I would like to think of myself as a super-traveler that can tolerate a bit more than others perhaps and would welcome an environment free of Starbucks and chain hotels. On the other hand, I like Starbucks, especially on vacation (I of course have Gold Status even though Starbucks is not my first choice at home). We also love Hyatt hotels but also stay in Hilton and SPG properties too.
We have stayed in boutique hotels, and apartments and depending on the situation those may be better, but when we stayed in Myanmar last time we paid an enormously expensive $120/night for what amounted to a tile room the size of some walk-in closets with a shower room and the toilet inside it. It’s not a boutique market yet where you are looking for something a little quirky, it’s more expensive than five star hotels in the rest of southeast Asia for what was essentially a bad dorm room.
I fully welcome Hilton, and while it may not be ready for it yet, this is the perfect time to go see it. The country is beautiful, it’s still raw and unspoiled but it definitely won’t last. This is that perfect time though, where it’s not overrun by tourists but it still has some of the conveniences that come with touristed countries. Get to Myanmar now.