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-   -   Help with selecting independent hotels? (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/help-with-selecting-independent-hotels-967037/)

LaContessa1 Feb 16th, 2013 03:57 AM

Help with selecting independent hotels?
 
We have requested independent hotels without strong ties to the government and have received some suggestions from Myanmar travel agencies. However, the NYT article "Visiting Myanmar: It’s Complicated" captures some of the complexity in selection of hotels. We would prefer to avoid places that are owned by folks who are on the US Treasury’s blacklist.

Any thoughts about the following hotels or locations? Have looked at the reviews on Tripadvisor but travel agencies seem to have specific hotels that they work with, and some of the below suggestions aren't on Tripadvisor.

Prefer private room with in-suite bath with hot/cold running water and A/C so not backpacker. Budget to mid-range? Clean, and quiet are important. We know that prices are rapidly climbing so ultimately price may be the deciding factor.

Yangon
Panorama hotel
Clover City Hotel (smells?)
Inya Lake Hotel (poor value?)
Summit Park View Hotel (possible view of pagoda)
Green Hill Hotel (possible view of pagoda)

Bagan
Sky Palace hotel
Bagan Thande Hotel
Tharabar Gate Bagan

Kalaw
Nature Land hotel
Hill Top Hotel

Nyaungshwe/inle lake
Hupin Nyaungshwe
Khaung Daing Hotel Inle Lake
Royal Inle Lake Hotel

Ngapali
Pleasant View resort
Bay View Resort
Lin Thiar Oo

Thank you.

jrjcolllins Feb 16th, 2013 08:39 AM

Where can we find the list of Myanmar hotels that are on the US blacklist?

Kathie Feb 16th, 2013 09:51 AM

There is no list of hotels on a "US blacklist." ONly particular people, are on a "blacklist" including Tay Za.

There are actually very few government owned hotels left in Burma, only a few cheap guesthouses mostly used by locals. However, Tay Za and others close to the government do own many hotels. Avoid anything named "Aureum" or "Treasure" for this reason. The Lonely Planet Guide does pretty good research in this area, and they note places to avoid.

Your travel agent in Burma can also help you choose hotels.

jrjcolllins Feb 16th, 2013 10:35 AM

Thanks, Kathie.

LaContessa1 Feb 16th, 2013 06:22 PM

HI--thanks for the reply Kathie. Some hotels are indeed included on the US Treasury blacklist: AUREUEM PALACE HOTELS (BAGAN, NGAPALI, NGWE SAUNG), HOTEL CHAUNG THA BEACH RESORT (Hlaing Township), HOTEL MAX (Hlaing Township), ROYAL KUMUDRA HOTEL, MYANMAR TREASURE BEACH RESORT (Bahan). This is not a complete list--have to dig into the descriptions of the 98 Burma results: http://sdnsearchtest.ofac.treas.gov/ Air Bagan and Yangon Airways are also included in the US Treasury blacklist.

We have been requesting proposals from a few travel agencies in Myanmar. The above list of hotels that I was asking for opinions on are hotels that two of the agencies recommended as not having strong ties to the government.

Kathie Feb 16th, 2013 07:22 PM

Thanks for the info. Previously, only persons, not hotels were on the list.

They are not government-owned, but these are hotels owned by businessmen with close ties to the Junta, like Tay Za. As I mentioned above, avoid hotels that are named named "Aureum" or "Treasure." Bagan Air is also owned by Tay Za. I don't know what travel agencies you have corresponded with, but you may need to tell them you don't want hotels owned by Tay Za.

I don't know all of the hotels that you listed, but I did research Tharbar Gate and the ownership was ok at least in 2009. I also understand that Bagan Thande is ok. I can't help you with the others.

LaContessa1 Feb 17th, 2013 04:53 AM

Thanks again Kathie. I ran across this website which may be helpful to others: http://www.tourismtransparency.org/

Kathie Feb 17th, 2013 07:51 AM

That is a good website, Contessa. I was saddened to see the photo of the KFC in Yangon. Things are changing rapidly.

If you are willing to pay a bit more for your hotels, the Inle Lake View is owned by a woman who is doing a wonderful job of investing in the community. We loved the hotel and very much enjoyed our conversations and correspondence with her. The Inle Princess is owned by a man who ran on the NLD ticket when ASSK first ran, so was imprisoned for years. When he got out he decided to devote his energies to economic development for his people. I like the idea of not only avoiding Tay Za's hotels, but actively choosing hotels whose owners invest in the community.

dmcbane Feb 18th, 2013 09:40 AM

The difficulty in Myanmar is that most hotels that have websites or that work with travel agents (there's a reason you're finding the travel agencies have certain hotels they tend to recommend--those hotels pay them) also have ties to the government. If you want to stay in hotels that are truly independent of the government, you'll have to walk around and find them once you get there. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I didn't really see any when I was there (in 2011).

Kathie Feb 18th, 2013 10:58 AM

Hm... the way that travel agents are paid worldwide is via commission from hotels and airlines. In Burma, agents have contracts with hotels (for lower rates than what are offered elsewhere) and the hotel pays a commission to the agent. ALL hotels and guesthouses must pay tax to the government - whether you book through a travel agent or walk in off the street. No way to find a guesthouse that doesn't pay the tax it collects from you to the government.

Having a website or having contracts with travel agents is in no way an indicator of ownership ties to the government.

Ladouca Feb 21st, 2013 08:28 PM

we stayed at the Tharabar Gate Bagan and were satisfied with our room however the food at the restaurant is overpriced and not tasty. Many restaurants choices are available close by (within walking distance) and of better quality.

We also stayed at the hill top in kalaw after our 3 day trek and must say that we appreciated the comfort of a hot shower and comfrotable bed. The menu is limited but the complexe is clean, we had excellent laundry service and good sleep quality which was all we needed to recuperate from our trek. We would stay there again. There are many options in Ngapali, we stayed at the Ngapali Thande Beach Resort then again, comfortable rooms overpriced menus and bar. Decent restaurants within walking distance.


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