Sometimes you have a special bond with a particular place. In my case that bond is definitely with Mandalay, the ancient Burmese capital in the north of the country. In fact, this is the third time that I went there to shoot the same hotel, the Mandalay Hill Resort and Spa. Now a new acquisition of Accor Hotel Group under the Mercure brand, this resort lays at the foot of the hill since the end of the 80’s, being then part of Novotel group. Since the turn of the century the property has been purchased by a Thai business family. They recently leased it to Accor.
Since the first time I went there, in 2003, things have not changed much in Myanmar except for the daily growing number of cars speeding around. Things have changed a lot in the Resort though: a new terrace with a restaurant and a theatre, a new luxury Spa area with four separate buildings, a new sitting area by the swimming pool, a new Executive Lounge. In short, the management’s efforts to keep up with the growing flow of guests has been second to none.
Shooting for a firmly established hotel corporate like Accor is not a light task. They have strict requirement on shooting angles, lighting, style, lifestyle, models dress code, curtain and so on and on. They even give you a detailed guideline on what, when and how to shoot. The guideline is very helpful but of course it is somehow restrictive on your creativity. It is therefore quite a challenge.
On top of all this, due my previous assignments I already have many shots of the resort. Obviously I didn’t want to replicate myself. All this was buzzing around in my mind when I boarded with my assistant to fly to my assignment.