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Meliá Hotels International

A contemporary suite with brushed gold lighting and bath in room

Sneak peek inside ME Barcelona

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Sneak peek inside ME Barcelona

Meliá Hotels International has announced the Spanish brand’s first five-star hotel opening in Barcelona in more than a decade, with the 164-key ME Barcelona set to open on November 25, 2021. Pauline Brettell went behind closed doors to have a look inside…

A contemporary suite with brushed gold lighting and bath in room

Situated in the heart of Barcelona, on the elegant Passeig de Gràcia, ME Barcelona is one of the city’s most anticipated openings of 2021 as it brings with it the brands trademark contemporary luxury, while taking inspiration from its exclusive location. The hotel, comprising of 164 guestrooms and luxurious suites spread over 14 floors, is completed with a statement rooftop patio and pool on the eighth floor that opens onto its distinctive skyline with iconic views of Plaça Catalunya and La Sagrada Familia. The new ME hotel is set to combine innovation, local art, music and technology in an exciting new space, inviting guests in to experience the local scene through its cultural programme, and exclusive bespoke experiences.

contemporay design in natural tones with yellow accents at Me Barcelona

Image credit: ME Barcelona

“ME Barcelona represents a step forward for ME by Meliá, along with recent major openings such as the stunning ME Dubai, the work of the late architect Zaha Hadid, and the exotic ME Cabo,” says Alba Bustamante, Global Brand Marketing Director of ME by Meliá. “All these hotels have consolidated, at an international level, the new definition of contemporary luxury close to the art and culture of the brand.”

Keeping clearly focussed on its design ethos, ME Barcelona is home to interior pieces by globally renowned designers that include Ronan & Ewan Bouroullec, Patricia Urquiola and Jaime Hayón. The stylish rooms feature neutral tones with yellow hues, clean lines, and large windows illuminating the space, all accentuated by the bright translucent bathrooms. Each guestroom presents bespoke details – from the decorative glass bottles, a design classic made by Josep Ma Jujol, Antonio Gaudí’s close collaborator, and the Oscar Tusquets tables, to the suspended bedside lamps and the vibrant Roll Club armchairs by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal. Every detail of the hotel has been thoughtfully considered and inspired by Barcelona’s love of design.

Aside from its design credentials, ME Barcelona also brings with it a unique and diverse culinary offering in the shape of BELBO, a unique space that includes three restaurants for a delicious and exclusive gastronomic experience. Terrenal, the flagship restaurant will serve dishes created with local produce; Luma is set to become a temple for the Barcelona cocktail scene; while Fasto will be a new setting to indulge in unconventional and unforgettable Italian cuisine.

The hotel has also collaborated with Manuel de la Garza, founder of Égoïste Spa, to curate a Spa and wellness centre which reflects a philosophy focused on personalisation, pampering, and luxury, where guests and visitors will enjoy tailored treatments. This oasis of wellness offers a wide range of treatments which blend ancient traditions with the most sophisticated beauty and wellness techniques. Keeping the focus on guests health and wellbeing, the hotel also has a gym with the latest Technogym equipment.

state of the art gym in ME Barcelona

Image credit: ME Barcelona

Incorporating both wellness and sustainability into the overall design was important, and ME Barcelona maintains the sustainability commitments of the brand ME as part of Meliá  Hotels International’s portfolio. As part of this commitment, ME Barcelona has consciously opted for auto-sufficient energy and renewable sources, which means the hotel will produce the entirety of its hot water supply, the rooftop pool will be heated by the same method during the winter season, and solar panels will provide the hotel’s energy, ultimately reducing the environmental impact and minimising its carbon footprint.

The clear design vision of ME Barcelona has been inspired by its location as well as the design history and energy of the city, combining contemporary art with innovative design, through the architectural work of Barcelona studio FITARQ as well as the interior design concepts and development of Mur Arquitectos and ASAH. This collaboration has transformed and created a new property and modern design that maintains all the brand hallmarks of ME.

Main image credit: ME Barcelona

ME Dubai within the Opus to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ME Dubai within the Opus to open in February 2020

The iconic contemporary structure in Dubai, the Opus, has been designed by the masters at Zaha Hadid Architects. The architectural marvel will shelter ME Dubai, which is slated to open in February 2020…

Following the opening of The Morpheus last year, and Hotel Designs’ interview with one of the lead architects behind the project , Zaha Hadid Architects is preparing to celebrate yet another groundbreaking moment in architecture. The London-based firm’s latest project, the Opus, is months away from entering onto the international hotel design landscape with arrival of ME Dubai.

Located within Burj Khalifa district of Dubai, ME Dubai will open in February 2020, taking residence in the 95 metre-high building, which is managed by leading Middle East real estate developer, Omniyat.

“We are incredibly excited to open ME Dubai, our first ME property in the Middle East,” said Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO, at Meliá Hotels International. “Dubai is a fascinating, exciting city, known for its progressive feats of design; all of which are characteristics that resonate with ME by Meliá hotels and the high standards we offer our guests.”

“The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge that is positioned 71 metres above the ground.”

ME Dubai will consist of 93 rooms and suites, the ultra-luxurious ‘Suite ME’, as well as 96 serviced apartments. The property will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by the late Zaha Hadid.

The Opus is designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The structure is then ‘carved’ to create a central void that becomes an important volume within the building in its own right, providing views to the exterior from the centre of the building. The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge that is positioned 71 metres above the ground.

Render of launch lobby with modern touches such as large chandelier

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

“The design conveys the remarkably inventive quality of Zaha Hadid Architects’ work,” explained Mahdi Amjad, Ececutive Chairman and CEO Emniyat, “It expresses sculptural sensibility that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.”

Very contemporary black bathroom with contemporary mirror and shirts handing up

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The legacy hotel will offer three owned F&B outlets, including all-day dining concept Central, the Refuel & Relax pool bar and The Opus Studio. The Opus building will offer 15 F&B outlets including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant, as well as The Maine Oyster Bar and Grill.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu.

Meliá Hotels International’s INNSiDE announces brand relaunch

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

To cater to millenials’ evolving lifestyle, Spain’s largest hotel brand, Meliá Hotels International, has announced a brand launch for INNSiDE in 2019… 

At the Spanish International Tourism Fair, FITFUR, Melia Hotels Internaitonal announced that it will rebrand INNSiDE to bring a stronger leisure and wellness offering to its portfolio.

With the reinvention of INNSiDE, the Spanish hotel brand is preparing to adapt its business strategy to captivate the younger generation of business and leisure travellers, taking the brand from urban into resort destinations.

Meliá Hotels International is the only group out of the 20 leading global hotel companies that was initially founded in leisure, and 50 per cent of its business remains in the resort sector. The group has recognised an opportunity to target millennials in the mid-scale lifestyle category by expanding into resort-led destinations, where the lines between work and leisure are becoming more fluid. Consumers are looking for flexibility and freedom when they travel, and ultimately hotel brands that fit seamlessly with their lifestyle.

“Relaunching in 2019, INNSiDE by Meliá will offer a range of design-led lifestyle and resort hotels.”

INNSiDE will boast 22 hotels, with plans to expand into resort locations in Europe and Indonesia, including Fuerteventura, Mallorca and Bali, as well as urban locations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Relaunching in 2019, INNSiDE by Meliá will offer a range of design-led lifestyle and resort hotels, to give guests more freedom to relax and explore, whether they are travelling for work or leisure. The brand will focus its strategy on sustainability, holistic bleisure, music and local culture, to introduce initiatives that target millennials. The properties will provide a space and place that embraces the local culture and creates environments where guests can work, workout, rest and play. To encourage them to discover new neighbourhoods, guests will have access to INNSiDE city guides, with local sights and wellness tips.

INNSiDE by Meliá is set to be a flagship for sustainability for Meliá Hotels International. The new brand will use recyclable materials throughout properties, work with hyper-local suppliers and guarantee no single-use plastic. The launch of the refreshed INNSiDE at FITUR features #TheArtofECO, an art installation by sustainable Spanish artist Jorge Penadés. The installation has been created entirely from plastics collected from guests at INNSiDE Palma Bosque, supplemented by additional plastics contributed by attendees of FITUR.

The lifestyle hotels will provide spaces to disconnect and rest body and mind, with state-of-the-art fitness suites, the latest digital fitness software and on-site swimming pools. Daily Yoga classes will be available at beach locations and weekly at urban locations. DJs will play throughout the lobby and poolside, from noon to night.

Rooms will be renovated to provide cosy in-room amenities, including bathrobes, slippers and flip flops, a luxurious coffee machine, complimentary minibar, with fresh juices and local beer. Smeg fridges will be available to Superior+ guests, packed full of healthy treats, drinks and snacks. Superior+ rooms will also have high-end sound systems, complimentary streaming services and complimentary bike rental to encourage guests to explore the local area. Guests will be able to relax in a hammock in resort locations or a hanging chair in urban destinations.

To read Hotel Designs’ exclusive interview with the Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer Jaumeclick here

Main image credit: Meliá Hotels International/INNSiDE

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Meliá Hotels International

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

To identify what it takes to be at the helm of one of the most established luxury hotel brands, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn sat down with Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Meliá Hotels International Gabriel Escarrer Jaume to discuss core values, sustainable goals and all things design…

Since first meeting Gabriel Escarrer Jaume three years ago at what was the newly opened ME London, things have changed – but the same visionary remains to steer Meliá Hotels International into new waters, while keeping the brand fresh and always ahead of the curve. But in addition to the more obvious evolution that a hotel chain experiences – with new openings hapenning all over the world – Escarrer Jaume is also leading strong initiatives throughout the brand. The brand is reducing water usage per stay by eight per cent, achieving 70 per cent overall green energy use, all while achieving sustainability certification for 52 per cent of hotels. In addition, he aims to generalise sustainability clauses and codes in agreements and relationships with suppliers, ensure 90 per cent of suppliers are local and reduce CO2 emissions by 18.4 per cent per stay. It seems as if our meeting at WTM 2018 has come an appropriate time, and in between international phone calls to suppliers and contractors while keeping track of the 325 open hotels within the portfolio, he joins me for a coffee.

Hamish Kilburn: Having read a lot about the hotel group’s plans, how are you achieving to reduce water usage throughout the entire hotel portfolio?
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume: Sustainability has to always played a major role for the family owned company – we have strong values. Water savings is key. We have been working to  help reduce water wastage mainly in the public areas. We also have plans to help save water usage in the rooms without it affecting the overall guest experience. The goal is to continue to reduce water wastage per stay by eight per cent year-on-year, and we have done so for the past three years.

 “I believe that our hotels have helped the modern traveller explore new areas around the world.”

HK: I believe that the group has 59 hotels currently in the pipeline, when will they be completed by?
GEJ: The goal is to have these open within the next two and half years.

HK: How has consumer behaviour changed in the last few years, and how have you adapted your hotels to cater to the modern traveller?
GEJ: It affects it a lot. In my opinion, sustainability has always played a major role in hotel design, but even more so now, it seems. I believe that our hotels have helped the modern traveller explore new areas around the world. Part of our business model has been to develop hotels in new destinations. As you would expect, we are now in places such as Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica etc. But we are also making an impact in places like Zanzibar, Tanzania and Cape Verde. We approach each new hotel with tremendous respect to the local culture and the environment.

HK: Africa seems to be a major focus at the moment, why is that?
GEJ: Yes, but you won’t find us in the capital cities as we, like lour guests, prefer to explore new areas that are not necessarily on the tourist map. Meliá Hotels were the pioneers in Cape Verde, for example. We feel as if we can do the same in Africa. Serengeti is a focus for us, as well as Arusha which will be announced soon. There is a huge potential to develop hotels in Africa – and in fact the third-world.

HK: With The Brit List 2018 on the horizon, why is the UK such a major design hot spot?
GEJ: London has so much to offer for creative minds. Like all of our hotels around the world, London is iconic in its design. When guests check into the ME London, we want them to recognise and to feel the design of British architect Norman Foster. All of our hotels around the world have been deliberately designed with local architects and designers. We are working very closely with Zaha Hadid Architects at the moment with a hotel in Malta. Paris’ Melia ME was designed by Dominique Le Roux. All of these hotels have been created, from the very beginning, by real local legends in design.

HK: Will Meliá Hotels International be making a splash in Malta?
GEJ: Yes, in fact we are working with Zaha Hadid Architects on that project at the moment, which is scheduled to open next year.


HK: What’s your favourite colour?
GEJ: Blue
HK: What’s the number-one tool for success in hotel development?
GEJ: Location, service and product (sorry, that’s three)
HK: What can you not travel without?
GEJ: My iPhone, my iPad and coffee
HK: Who is your inspiration?
GEJ: My father who founded Meliá Hotels International
HK: How do you shut off from work?
GEJ: I love sailing – it’s so peaceful.

Meliá Hotels International is the leading hotel Group in Spain and the third leading Globally, and has over 50 new hotels in its current pipeline. The Group is continuing to invest in loyal markets such as Spain, continuing the regeneration of Magaluf with pivotal new opening The Plaza, whilst expanding into emerging markets such as APAC, where the Group is opening 20 new hotels before the end of 2020. In fact, it seems as if the hotel group is expanding all over the globe and delving into areas where no group before has dared to venture.


Meliá Hotels International confirms new resorts for Dubai and Marrakesh

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Spanish hotelier pushes its brands into more markets.

Meliá Hotels International has confirmed it will be opening new resorts in the United Arab Emirates and Morocco during 2018.

The first, currently known as the Desert Palm Dubai hotel (main image above), is an exclusive urban site 20 minutes from the city centre that will be re-opened in Q3 2018 as the Desert Palm Polo Club & Resort by Meliá.

The hotel offers 38 rooms, suites and villas as well as a dining and wellness facilities and a horse riding school with a first-class polo field.

In terms of design, Meliá says the resort will combine classic Spanish influence with an ‘uncompromising’ luxury experience.

The hotel is the result of a partnership between Meliá Hotels International and the hotel owner, Albwardy Investment Group, with whom the Spanish company already operates three other hotels across Tanzania and Argentina.

The second new hotel (pictured, below) will be part of the Sol by Meliá brand, with the addition of Sol Marrakesh – the Company’s fifth hotel in Morocco, which will operate under the family-friendly holiday resort brand.

Located in the popular area of Palmaraie, the Sol Marrakesh is 18 kilometres from the airport and nine kilometres from the centre of the city. The resort, which first opened its doors in 1988, is currently closed for full refurbishment and will re-open in late 2018.

Sol Marrakesh will offer 211 rooms (including 25 family units) as well as 6 hectares of indoor and outdoor space. Upon completion, services will include a spa with hammam, fitness facilities, four tennis courts, volleyball court, football pitch, golf driving range and swimming pool with sundeck.

Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, said: “Taking over operations at this exclusive Dubai resort makes Meliá Hotels International very proud and also gives us a chance to demonstrate our proven excellence in the management of luxury urban resorts in a market to which the Company is already firmly committed.”


Meliá to open new hotel and shopping centre in Magaluf

1024 683 Katy Phillips

July opening of Calvià Beach Plaza Hotel and Momentum Plaza latest upmarket development in Majorcan party resort.

The latest stage in Meliá Hotels International’s seven-year €250 million investment in Majorca’s hugely popular Magaluf resort will open in July in the form of the Calvià Beach Plaza Hotel and Momentum Plaza shopping centre, creating 150 jobs in the process.

Momentum Plaza will occupy almost 5,000 square metres of land on the site of the old Jamaica Hotel. The area has been converted into an open space, with recreational areas for residents and tourists, alongside a large, modern shopping area which will host a range of major international fashion retailers and restaurant brands.

The centre will be open all year round, which Melia says demonstrates its drive to develop Magaluf as an all-season destination.

Brands set to enter the Momentum Plaza so far include Mango, Springfield, Italian Loft, Koala Bay and Starbucks. The shopping centre will also offer almost 200 underground parking spaces to accommodate both tourists and residents from other parts of the island.

Hanging Pool

Meliá Hotels International will also open a new hotel to replace the old Jamaica Hotel. Calviá Beach Plaza will open in Summer 2018 and will feature avant-garde architecture and an innovative “hanging” pool, suspended between the roofs of two buildings. The sides and bottom of the pool will be transparent, creating a spectacular sight for visitors below and giving bathers magnificent (terrifying?) views over the sea.

Mark Hoddinott, Company Vice President of Real Estate, said: “This will be the place that Magaluf was missing: A space to be used by both residents and tourists, who will no longer have to leave Magaluf to find quality shopping and dining facilities. It will also raise the bar for shopping in the destination, which has historically suffered from a shortage of quality shops, something that will no longer be the case with the arrival of Momentum Plaza.”

Beatriz Ley, Director of Momentum Plaza, said: “The residents of Magaluf are as important to this project as the tourists. The Momentum Plaza has been designed to further enrich the superior quality facilities provided by the La Vila shopping centre and Katmandu Park, developing the area as a tourist destination and of course to revitalise Magaluf for its own residents. Momentum Plaza aims to become the major leisure destination for Magaluf for residents and visitors to enjoy that will combine shopping with an extensive programme of activities, entertainment and culture for 12 months of the year.”

Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, said: “The opening of the new Calviá Beach Plaza hotel and Momentum Plaza is the last major milestone of a bold project, which is closely linked to our family and our origins. Our aim is to return a lot of prestige prestige and quality to Magaluf and after seven years of activity and major investments, I can now say that we are extremely proud of the changes that have happened in the destination, which is once again sustainable for its community and attractive for investors.”

Meliá confirms 1Q19 opening fifth Paradisus property in Mexico

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Inspired by Mexican design with nearly 500 rooms.

Spain-based Meliá Hotels International has confirmed the launch of Paradisus Playa Mujeres in Q1 2019, becoming Mexico’s fifth Paradisus branded property.

Located off the coast of Cancun, Paradisus Playa Mujeres is situated on the seafront within close proximity of Isla Mujeres, with bars, restaurants and shops, as well as a golf course designed by Australian professional legend Greg Norman.

Meliá says the property has been inspired by Mexican design and architecture and will offer 498 rooms, each providing views of tropical gardens and beaches. All guest rooms will be contemporary in terms of features, providing a mini-bar, LCD TV, high speed internet connection and private balcony.

Amenities will include Royal Service (adults-only) with private butlers and a Family Concierge. In addition, Paradisus Playa Mujeres will have four swimming pools, six bars and seven restaurants serving a variety of international cuisines.

Celebrating the region’s cultural heritage, Paradisus Playa Mujeres will feature a sculpture in the lobby curated by local artists, a garden wall and mirrored water feature, as well as retail space. Upon arrival to the hotel, guests will be invited to the Welcome Lounge, where they will be able to enjoy drinks next to an outdoor waterfall.

The resort will also feature a motor lobby, arcade room, covered theatre, outdoor plaza for shows, coffee bar, juice bar, kids club, changing rooms, four business centre stations, and a convention centre/ballroom with a capacity for up to 1,500 people. It will offer video mapping technology and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system.

Meliá Cuba to open seven new hotels by 2020

1024 683 Katy Phillips

The company will operate 2,145 new rooms in Cuba by the end of 2018.

Meliá Cuba has added five new hotels with 409 rooms to its portfolio on the island of Cuba during the first quarter of 2018.

The hotels are located in the cities of Cienfuegos (Hotel La Union, Hotel Jagua and Hotel Meliá San Carlos) and Camagüey (Hotel Colón and Gran Hotel) and represent a new style of hotels for Meliá in Cuba: all are small to medium-size, set inside historical buildings in upmarket locations.

By the end of 2018, the firm will also have opened two new flagship hotels in Varadero and Cayo Santa María. The Meliá Internacional, Varadero, will have 934 rooms and the Paradisus Los Cayos, Cayo Santa María will have 802 rooms. This will take the total of new, ‘superior’ quality rooms opened by Meliá Hotels International in Cuba during the year to more than 2,145.

The Spanish hotel group is also set to open Hotel INNSIDE Camagüey, as well as three hotels in the city of Trinidad before 2020 as part of an ambitious expansion plan.

The properties in Trinidad will include Meliá Trinidad, Meliá Punta Ancón and the Sol House Ancón, which is the result of the conversion of the current Hotel Ancón.

Wider Cuban Tourism Strategy

Meliá Hotels International says it has aligned its plans with the wider Cuban strategy to diversify its tourism industry, offering prestigious hotels with familiar brands in historic cities, along with exciting tours and experiences.

It’s also aiming to help increase the number of visitors to these areas and to prolong average length of stay, ultimately helping to raise profile of these destinations to a wide range of tourists.

Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, said: “Within the framework of our strong commitment to helping improve Cuban tourism, we have the opportunity to promote unique cities with exceptional tourism potential, such as Cienfuegos, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, or Havana. This guarantees the internationally acknowledged Meliá service and quality standards from the east to the west of the island. The hotels in the new destinations, which are already in operation, will take on our Meliá brand (Meliá La Unión, Meliá San Carlos, Meliá Colón, Meliá Gran Hotel) and INNSIDE by Meliá brand (INNSIDE Cienfuegos Jagua and INNSIDE Camagüey) once they have been fully adapted to the brand standards.”

Francesc Camps, Deputy Managing Director of Meliá Cuba, said: “The new hotels will provide us a chance to show our commitment to the development of balanced and sustainable tourism in Cuba and to demonstrate the value that our brands can add. These hotels in heritage cities are well integrated with the cultural and social fabric of their destinations, and give us a chance to provide travellers with experiences focused on discovering more about the local culture and heritage.”