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hotels news
Sol Melia’s newest resort, the Gran Melia Palacio de
Isora in Tenerife, is targeting the luxury market
Palacia de Isora
Can Tenerife dress up?
goes for niche
HOTELS cannot rely on operators alone to fill
their rooms any more, according to the general
Sol Melia wants to lure luxury guests, but Tenerife is still manager of Sol Melia’s new flagship, Gran Melia
clinging to a mass-market image, says Rupert Murray
Palacia de Isora.
Oscar Ramos said 10 years ago as much as
As you arrive at Tenerife airport you are “It never rains, the temperature is in the 20s 90% of business would come through operators

met by an enormous Hooters poster all year round, it’s a four-hour flight and the and their packages, but that since then the
featuring a young lady in what can only be views are astonishing,” said Tony Cortizas, landscape had altered significantly.
described as a state of undress. pointing to where he wanted me to look. “The dawn of the no-frills carriers and the
I had never been to the Canary island Cortizas wasn’t the first person in the last internet has pushed up direct bookings
before but my preconception of what to expect few weeks to tell me that Tenerife is a perfectly enormously,” he said.
was probably fairly typical – and this poster reasonable luxury destination. “In the luxury market, where Gran Melia sits,
perfectly encapsulated it. A few days earlier during WTM I had smaller specialist operators are important to us.”
So even before setting foot on Tenerifan soil sailed down the Thames to the ExCeL centre The success of the Palacia de Isora is reliant
I was patting myself on the back for being right. (thankfully avoiding the DLR) with delegates upon the hotel attracting families, couples and
Unlike its larger sister island Gran Canaria, from the tourist board. business travellers. Families of course will favour
which caters for the discerning German market, We were told how the island was trying to school holiday times, but Ramos expects couples
the more British Tenerife has never had a reposition itself as a luxury destination, a to travel year-round, while corporate business
reputation for luxury. message it pushed when it hosted the Abta will be concentrated in the winter months.
Which begged the question: why build an Travel Convention in 2007. “Business travel will be important and we have
ultra-luxury Gran Melia hotel on this island? Irrespective of where it is, the Palacia de facilities to accommodate large conferences. We
Clearly this Gabriel Escarrer Julia fellow and his Isora is impressive. Having worked and lived in aim for it to account for 45% of our business,”
two sons, the family team who run Sol Melia, Sol, Melia and Tryp hotels for a few years when he said.
have a vision for the future. employed by one of the then big four, I knew Having opened the hotel in July this year,
The Gran Melia Palacia de Isora is a five-star the company’s products well. Ramos is pleased with progress so far.
Leading Hotel of the World with a Michelin-star But this has taken things to another level. “There were teething problems, as with every
restaurant and a world-class spa. Time will tell if Tenerife and Sol Melia will hotel; you never really know what needs to be
There is no question about the hotel’s luxury lure the luxury guests, but for now the Hooters altered until the guests are here,” he said.
credentials, but I asked the firm’s vice-presi- poster in the airport will continue to “But it is very smooth now.”
dent of marketing what would tempt luxury promise what might soon be an The target for occupancy this year is 35%,
British travellers to Tenerife for their holidays. outdated image of the island.

60% for next year and in the long-term an
average of 75%.
05.12.2008 31
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