A man with more than 30 years of hospitality experience ‘Philippe Arnaud ‘ has been appointed general manager of the new Sanctum Inle Resort in Myanmar’s storied Inle Lake region.

Having been in a luxury sector in Europe for a long period of time, grabs our first opportunity to talk with Philippe more about luxury hotel business, challenges and plan he wants to execute in luxury sector in Myanmar.

What are the challenges you think you will experience in running this property?

Philippe Arnaud: The main challenge will probably be to train the staff at the same time. We have a beautiful property in a stunning location, and a fantastic team that is willing to learn. But with the exception of the department heads, most of them don’t have much experience with a 5-star property. Another challenge will be communication, as Burmese is difficult to learn. Nobody speaks Burmese except people from Myanmar. I also expect to encounter challenges on the F&B side. F&B has to be totally organized and set up (from breakfast to dinner), including sequences of service. Our goal is to use only fresh local products. Executive Chef Tin Lin, his team and I are all ready to share our experiences to produce an outstanding culinary experience and quality of service.

How do you plan to make this property stand out in the luxury sector and become well-known among travelers?

PA: We all know that Sanctum Inle Resort is an elegant property in a stunning part of a beautiful country. But our greatest asset and the key to our success will be our team. I believe in my leadership skills, and I will work with the team to ensure we’re able to provide the kind of personalized service that affluent travelers expect. In order to do that, I need to continue to be creative and involved every minute. A hotelier is a dream maker. When a guest steps through our doors, there must be an immediate realization that what he or she is about to experience is going to be fantastic.

As you’ve been in luxury sector for a long time, what does ‘luxury’ mean to you? How can a hotelier offer ‘luxury’ to guests?

PA: The meaning of luxury to me is very complex and subjective. It is not only about price point. Luxury is synonymous with elegance, beauty and refinement, but also space and silence — the ability to escape from the hustle and bustle. Quality is also inseparable from luxury, which is why we are committed to being the best on a customer-service level. Fortunately we’ve got a tremendous team in place, so I think we’ll get there very soon.

Philippe Arnaud comes to the 96-room, Brigitte Dumont de Chassart-designed hotel from Paris, where he served a three-year stint as corporate operations manager for Valotel France, owner of 16 Accor-managed hotels in Europe. Before that, the 52-year-old Frenchman was the general manager of Hotel Pigonnet, a 50-room, Small Luxury Hotels property in Aix-en-Provence, just north of Marseilles.