Grand Andaman Hotel suspends operations

RANONG Thailand, 9 February 2024: Global travel websites cut bookings and reservations for Myanmar’s five-star casino resort Grand Andaman Hotel after it suspended operations indefinitely and laid off an estimated 1,500 staff earlier this month.

A check of, a popular booking website for hotels in Asia, flagged the cancellation of sales. At the same time, removed the resort from its selection of properties in southern Myanmar without an explanation. The hotel’s website is still online, but room bookings have been disabled. Its most recent Facebook post on 12 January promoted day trips to the resort island for a “Visa Run”, including a complimentary coffee and a chance to buy booze in the resort’s duty-free shop.

Photo credit: Grand Andaman Hotel Facebook page (June 2018).

Grand Andaman Hotel is located on Thahtay Kyun Island, Kawthoung (formerly known as Victoria Point), Myanmar. It is part of the Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea, facing Ranong across a narrow 5km strait.

Its original owner was awarded a 45-year exclusive concession of the 1,800-acre island by the Burmese authorities, possibly in the 1990s when the resort traded under the Andaman Club brand.

First reported by the Irrawaddy news channel on 6 February, the online news channel alleged: “The five-star hotel and casino with exclusive rights to a tropical island off the southern tip of mainland Myanmar shut down this month after an arrest warrant was issued in Thailand for (its present) owner, U Kyaw Lwin.” 

The resort owner’s status regarding the arrest warrant could not be verified independently. 

The Grand Andaman Hotel ran a lucrative casino business that attracted Thai and Burmese tycoons, offering gaming rooms, spas, karaoke lounges and beauty salons and employing more than 1,500 Thai and Myanmar nationals. 

Dating back to when it traded under the Andaman Club brand, various Thai airlines ran charters and even scheduled flights to Ranong for Bangkok gamblers who crossed the narrow strait by luxury speed boats to the island resort on the Myanmar side of the border. Visitors to the resort could stay on the island without a Myanmar visa. 

A major expansion kicked off in 2016 with the development of a 205 five-star hotel and even an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Other facilities described in the resort’s sale pitch included water sports and scuba diving centre, zoo, fitness centre, discothèque-cum-karaoke club, restaurants, bar lounge, 24-hour café, business centre and duty-free shop. 

According to Wikipedia, the Andaman Club casino and resort was originally owned and operated by the VES Group of Thailand under a long-term concession from the Myanmar government. However, in 2016, operations were transferred to Grand Andaman Travel, which is believed to be owned by the Burmese tycoon Kyaw Lwin.

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(Source: Irrawaddy plus additional reporting)