Meliá Hotels International remains firmly committed to emerging markets, which already accounts for 71 per cent of the Company’s hotel pipelineMeliá Hotels International has announced the signing of three new hotels during the Arab Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) celebrated last week in Dubai:
• Gran Meliá Maldives, Indian Ocean – it will offer a mixture of luxurious private villa and guestroom living within one of the best fishing and diving destinations in the Maldives
• Meliá Serengeti Lodge, Tanzania, Africa – the first state-of-the-art sustainable hotel by MHI, the hotel will offer ‘off the grid’ living and the perfect viewpoint for the annual migration of one million blue wildebeest, lions, leopards and zebras
• Meliá Almaty, Kazakhstan, Central Asia - the first hotel to be signed by Meliá Hotels International in Kazakhstan - a wealthy country located in the heart of Eurasia (countries situated within the borders of Europe and Asia) - it will bring to life a new city hotel concept for corporate travellers and congresses
Gran Meliá Huravee (Maldives)
Gran Meliá Maldives will be a resort located in Kalhudiyafushi in Thaa, an atoll located 40 minutes from Male International Airport, as well as a short ride by speedboat or seaplane from the domestic airport at Kaadhedoo. Scheduled to launch October 2017, Gran Meliá Maldives will be amongst the very best of the luxurious international resorts, operated by brands such as Shangri-La, Park Hyatt and Jumeirah, as guests can experience one of the best fishing destinations in the Maldives.
Set amongst virgin coral reef, the Gran Meliá hotel will offer 95 private villas, including 100 rooms, as well as three restaurants, a bar and café, spa, leisure centre and several retail shops. The hotel will also be able to arrange and host exclusive private events and romantic dinners on a smaller nearby island. 66 per cent of Maldivian visitors are honeymooners or guests who wish to enjoy an idyllic beach holiday with exceptional diving.
During the contract signing, Maria Zarraluqui, Director of Expansion for Meliá Hotels International, commented, "Opening a Gran Meliá hotel in the Maldives has been a dream for us for a long time, but we were always waiting for the right project to come along. This hotel meets all our expectations. We are confident that our unique Gran Meliá brand will enhance the magic of these privileged islands, giving a new meaning to the concept of luxury."
The Maldives consists of more than 1,192 islands in the Indian Ocean, formed of two rows of 26 atolls running from north to south. Both chains of atolls (the largest with an area of only 8 km2) are located approximately 700 km from Sri Lanka and 400 km south-west of India. Due to its unique features and exceptional beauty, the Maldives has become one of the most exclusive havens for tourism, mainly from Europe and Asia, which now generates over 25 per cent of the country’s GDP, followed by fishing which generates 60 per cent of foreign exchange receipts.
Meliá Serengeti Lodge (Tanzania)
Meliá Serengeti Lodge, scheduled to open in June 2017, will be Meliá Hotels International first state-of-the-art sustainable hotel, located on the natural terraces on the southern slopes of Nyamuma, with spectacular views over the peaceful valley of the Mbalageti River. The hotel will be 45 minutes from Seronera Airport in the Serengeti National Park, the oldest and most popular National Park in Tanzania, on the western border of Lake Victoria, considered a World Heritage Site.
To be located 700 meters below the peak of Nyamuma, the hotel will offer a perfect viewpoint for the annual migration of one million blue wildebeest, lions, leopards and 250,000 zebras which pass through the valley every year in search of rains and cooler pastures.
Meliá Serengeti Lodge will sit on three natural terraces that descend from an elevated plateau, with the lodge located on the middle terrace and the hotel’s architectural design will adopt the gentle curves of the land, creating an intimate link with the vegetation and rocky outcrops. The locations natural surroundings have inspired the design of this unique hotel, as the suites will offer a unique and privileged African experience in a secure and luxurious environment.
Meliá Serengeti Lodge will boasts 50 rooms consisting of 25 ‘Meliá Forest’ rooms, 23 ‘Meliá Hills’ rooms and two ‘Serengeti Suites’. The lounges and restaurants will overlook sunny terraces around an infinity pool with pool bar, barbecue patios, with stone and foliage strategically planted and designed to ensure a cool and attractive environment.
100 per cent environmentally friendly hotel
Meliá Serengeti Lodge will be the first hotel designed to operate completely ‘off the grid’, with its remote location and total absence of services in the area making it the perfect opportunity to create a state-of-the-art sustainable hotel that will depend solely on fossil fuels for emergency energy supply only.
The hotel has been designed with an intelligent approach to insulation and ventilation, with fans chosen to cool rooms over air-conditioning units. Building materials will be evaluated based on the carbon footprint they generate for example; concrete with local pigments and wood flooring will be laid over floor tiles.
The creation of an ‘off the grid’ resort requires resources such as photovoltaic panels to generate electricity and accumulators to store the electricity, complemented by a biogas generation system fed by a wastewater treatment plant. Water will be collected from rainwater and made drinkable using the most modern and environmentally friendly techniques and equipment.
Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, said, "Meliá Serengeti Lodge is an opportunity to respond to the challenge of offering the ‘real’ African experience that all travellers desire, combined with the safety and comfort of the most exclusive and secure environment. We are also excited to launch our first-ever100 per cent sustainable hotel through the use of the latest technologies and innovations."
Meliá Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Meliá Almaty is the first hotel to be signed by Meliá Hotels International in Kazakhstan - a wealthy country located in the heart of Eurasia.
The hotel will be situated amongst the mountains of Tien Shan, Altay, and Ulytau, a winter sports paradise. Kazakhstan is blessed with vast natural resources of oil, gas and mines; as well as traditional cultural attractions that illuminate the relationship between the Kazakh people and nomadic tribes, influenced by the Russian occupation in the 18th century. In 2013, the country received five million visitors and this is expected to grow to eight million by 2024.
Meliá Hotels International will launch a hotel specialising in corporate travel and congresses in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan until 1997, as it is the largest city in the country, which aims to become one of the top 30 economies in the world by 2050. Almaty generates around 20 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product and is a major financial hub in Central Asia. The city is home to industrial, commercial, and business activity, as well as significant embassies and headquarters of companies operating in Kazakhstan.
Meliá Almaty will open in 2018, providing 250 rooms, including 50 Suites and Junior Suites. The hotel will boast cutting-edge architectural design through a steel and glass structure that will also home a restaurant, bar, lounge, spa and fitness centre, as well as meeting rooms. This full range of services and facilities together with the high standards that Meliá Hotels & Resorts applies to its urban hotels of combining the urban and leisure experience (bleisure hotels, business + leisure), will position Meliá Almaty as one of the leading hotels in the city.
Director of Expansion for Meliá Hotels International, Maria Zarraluqui, commented, “Meliá Almaty is our long-awaited first hotel in Kazakhstan. We feel Meliá Hotels & Resorts is the right product and the right brand for this city, which will play a key role in the powerful growth of the city."