By Roderick Eime in Yangon
Following a report in The Irrawaddy in January 2015, it appears work is indeed progressing to restore the 90-year-old former police commissioner’s building on The Strand in the heritage district of Yangon.
The earlier report stated that local Burmese lawyers were mounting a series of legal challenges against the development by local and international investors. It now appears those suits have failed to stop the restoration being funded to the tune of US$45 million by the Swiss hotel group alone.
Franck Droin, GM of the Kempinski Hotel in the nation’s new capital, Naypyidaw, said at the time that Kempinski Group, Thailand’s Kanok Furniture and Decoration, and Burma’s Jewelry Luck Group Myanmar signed an agreement in October 2014 to jointly develop a colonial-era building on Strand Road.
According to an earlier media release, the Kempinski Hotel in Yangon will feature 229 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a lobby lounge, a rooftop bar, a grand ballroom, a swimming pool and a spa.
The hotel will be about 200 metres from the long-established The Strand Hotel and directly opposite the new riverside cruise terminal.
Kempinski competes in Myanmar with the US Hilton group, Singapore’s Parkroyal and France’s Accor. The Swiss-based company was founded in 1897 and is one of the oldest hotel groups in Europe. Kempinski operates 73 five-star hotels in 31 countries and is planning to expand its ventures in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.