From Europe and Africa to Central America, Meliá brings its signature Spanish hospitality to some of the world’s most captivating locations, with each development offering luxury experiences responsibly.
LONDON – Meliá Hotels International, Spain’s leading hotel group and the third largest in Europe, has announced the ambitious global expansion of its luxury brands, with one in three of its pipeline openings within its luxury portfolio.
In 2023, Meliá added to its portfolio of hotels in Tanzania with the opening of Ngorongoro Lodge Meliá Collection – a design-led lodge in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet – and celebrated the Paradisus by Meliá brand landing in Europe with openings in Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Continuing the commitment to global expansion and growth of its luxury portfolio, Meliá is preparing to open the doors to some of its most ambitious and luxurious hotels yet: Palazzo Cordusio Gran Meliá in Milan, ME by Meliá properties in Lisbon and Malta, and ZEL, a new lifestyle brand and joint venture with tennis legend, Rafael Nadal.
Gran Melia grows internationally
The global growth of Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts is key in reinforcing Meliá’s positioning in the luxury sector. Dedicated to creating cultural enrichment, Gran Meliá will continue its expansion into Europe and Southeast Asia with hotels in Albania, Spain, Italy, and Vietnam.
The highly anticipated Palazzo Cordusio Gran Meliá will open its doors in December 2023, in the historic heart of Milan. A landmark opening for the brand as its first Milanese hotel, Palazzo Cordusio will occupy the lovingly restored 19th-Century Palazzo Venezia, one of the city’s most iconic Renaissance buildings and formerly the headquarters of Assicurazioni Generali, close to the Piazza del Duomo and Castello Sforzesco. A haven for gourmands, the hotel will house a chic patisserie, bistro, cocktail bar, and a stylish rooftop bar and terrace with spectacular Duomo views. Blending Italian flair with Meliá’s signature Spanish hospitality, Palazzo Cordusio offers a gateway to Milan’s great cultural heritage, telling the city’s illustrious story and ensuring guests experience the vibrant destination beyond what meets the eye through a selection of curated experiences: shop in the famous Vittorio Emanuele galleries; enjoy opera at La Scala, or see da Vinci’s The Last Supper first-hand.
The luxury brand has also increased its presence in Spain with Torre Melina, A Gran Meliá Hotel. The exclusive urban resort in the heart of Barcelona leverages the heritage of the iconic Rey Juan Carlos Hotel, taking it to a new level with a full renovation.
The brand also entered Southeast Asia with its first opening in Vietnam: Gran Meliá Nha Trang. Effortlessly blending Mediterranean hospitality and Vietnamese charm, the resort stands out as a new luxury landmark and a hub for haute cuisine amidst the tropical beauty of Fairy Mountain, with spectacular views of Turtle Island.
The new property features 94 expansive private pool villas; Asia’s first outpost of the highly acclaimed Spanish restaurant, Hispania, along with four other gastronomic destinations; and indulgent wellness offerings from onsen to spa.
Journey through Tanzania
In July, Meliá Hotels International expanded its portfolio of hotels in Africa with the opening of Ngorongoro Lodge Meliá Collection. The design-led lodge adds a fourth to Meliá’s collection of properties in Tanzania, offering a unique journey through distinct cultural pockets of the beautiful, biodiverse country, from Arusha to Serengeti and Zanzibar. Further positioning Meliá as a responsible hotel group with sustainable values, Ngorongoro Lodge was crafted with the utmost respect for the environment and designed in honour of its location. Perched in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for housing the world’s largest volcanic crater, the 56-room lodge aims to protect and preserve the natural ecosystem and culture of the local Massai tribe. 95% of all products used across the property are acquired in neighbouring villages, and the hotel produces its own water through a bottling plant.
The experiences are what makes this lodge so special: discover Ngorongoro Crater with a full-day Game Drive, rubbing shoulders with the resident wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, visit a traditional Massai house, or boma, and learn about local culture first-hand, or take to the skies with an unforgettable Balloon Safari over the famed Ndutu Region.
ME by Melia Meets Mexico, Malta, and Lisbon
Dynamic, stylish, and rooted in culture, art, fashion, and gastronomy, ME by Meliá brings destination, design, and service together to deliver personal, enriching experiences. Located in global, cultural epicentres, 2024 will see new ME properties launch in Mexico, Malta, and Lisbon.
Opening in the heart of the historic Portuguese capital in 2024, ME Lisbon will showcase the brand’s signature avant-garde design and high-quality services, as well as top-notch gastronomic concepts, a Radio Rooftop Bar with panoramic views, and over 600m2 of meeting and event space. Also opening in 2024, ME Malta will become the city’s new social and cultural epicentre, in the coastal town of St Julians (east coast). Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the hotel will feature 14o rooms and suites, innovative culinary offerings, and Radio Rooftop Bar.
ME Sayulita will bring ME’s signature style and innovative cultural programming to the famous Playa de Carricitos, featuring 125 rooms and villas and, true to the brand philosophy, an avant-garde luxury experience, with three restaurants, swimming pool, spa, and a rooftop bar with pool and beach club. This will be the third luxury lifestyle brand hotel in Mexico, joining ME Cabo and the future ME Guadalajara, and bolsters Meliá Hotels International’s wider expansion into Mexico, where it is expected to double its presence in the next two years.
Destination Inclusive Llands in Europe
The Paradisus by Meliá brand brings its unique Destination Inclusive concept to Europe, with new openings in Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Taking the all-inclusive concept to a whole new level, at Paradisus by Meliá, the destination is at the heart of the experience, and each hotel immerses guests in its captivating locale. Paradisus Gran Canaria, which opened its doors in 2023, is located in a lush, natural environment on San Agustín Beach, and combines luxury with local culture and nature, with immersive experiences included as part of the innovative Destination Inclusive concept: explore the Cueva Pintada Archaeological Park, taste Spain’s most famous rums with private tastings, or head out on guided hikes.
The recently opened Paradisus Salinas Lanzarote is a true architectural treasure, designed by the renowned Spanish architect, Fernando Higueras. Surrounded by the breathtaking beaches of Costa Teguise and charming villages steeped in local culture, Paradisus Salinas Lanzarote offers unparalleled exploration of the island, a biosphere reserve, with its lunar landscapes, volcanoes, unspoiled beaches, picturesque villages, and areas of natural beauty, all included as part of the Destination Inclusive offering.
Noteworthy openings for Meliá also include those from ZEL, a new lifestyle brand created in collaboration with Rafael Nadal. Inspired by the welcoming homes, outdoor culture, and lifestyle of the Mediterranean, ZEL made its debut in Mallorca in summer 2023 and will continue an ambitious growth plan, starting with ZEL Sayulita in Mexico, projected to open in 2025.
Expansion with a Conscience
Sustainability is at the heart of Meliá’s ethos, and corporate responsibility and responsible tourism play a key part in the development of the group’s luxury portfolio, with each new opening committed to caring for its local community. Setting a benchmark for sustainable hospitality, the opening of Villa Le Blanc Gran Meliá in 2022 saw the group unveil its first prototype in terms of efficiency and environmental responsibility. Menorca’s first grand luxe hotel has earned multiple awards since, and contributes to Meliá’s accolade as the most sustainable hotel company in Spain and Europe by S&P.
The company has also begun implementing its new sustainable event initiative: Road to Net Zero Events. This project is the result of technology developed in collaboration with Creast, a company that specialises in measuring, reducing and offsetting the environmental impact of events, which has been tested for the past year in Europe at Meliá Barcelona Sarriá and Meliá Berlin. Road to Net Zero Events, as the name suggests, was developed to find improvement opportunities that would help the company towards the goal of achieving carbon neutrality in events, responding to increasing demand from professionals in the sector.
A Positive Outlook
Meliá Hotels International’s commitment to innovation and brand positioning continued to garner recognition in important industry awards. The group was awarded Best Hotelier of the Year in the Beyond Luxury Awards 2023, with Gran Meliá properties, Palacio de Isora (Tenerife), Hotel de Mar (Mallorca) and Villa Le Blanc (Menorca), honoured in various other categories, with Villa Le Blanc listed among the 10 best luxury hotels in Spain. Villa Le Blanc was also named Best New Hotel of the Year in the Condé Nast Traveller Awards.
André Gerondeau, Chief Operating Officer of Meliá Hotels International said, ‘It’s an exciting time for Meliá as we embark on an ambitious expansion of our prestigious portfolio of luxury hotels, solidifying our global presence. The grand opening of Palazzo Cordusio, our first Gran Meliá property in Milan and restoration of one of the city’s most beautiful and historic buildings, as well as the opening of Ngorongoro Lodge, A Meliá Collection in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, reinforce our preeminent position within the luxury sector. With great anticipation, we set our sights on the year ahead, as we extend our signature Spanish hospitality to discerning travellers around the world.’
Overall, Meliá maintains an incredibly positive outlook for 2024, despite the backdrop of uncertainty and intensified geopolitical tensions. Tourism has only continued to gain momentum post-pandemic and continues to grow steadily, as Meliá reports an incredibly strong third quarter of 2023 with no signs of slowdown as we move into 2024.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.