Meliá accelerates growth in Asia Pacific
Meliá Hotels International has unveiled plans for ambitious growth in the Asia Pacific region with plans to expand its footprint to 45 hotels.
The move comes following a recent tour of the region by the Spanish hotel group’s executive vice president and CEO Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, COO André P. Gerondeau, and global development managing director Maria Zarraluqui. The trio visited several destinations in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, among others, accompanied by Bernardo Cabot, senior vice president, Asia Pacific.
During the trip, Escarrer signed agreements for several new hotels with major local partners, taking the total number of hotels in the region to 45. Meliá – whose operations include vacation ownership arm Club Meliá – has grown quickly in Asia Pacific, adding more than 30 hotels over the last five years and multiplying its portfolio in the region by five.
Of the 44 hotels in operation or in the pre-opening phase, 16 are in Indonesia, 10 in China, seven in Vietnam, four in Thailand, five in Malaysia, and one each in Mongolia and Myanmar. The company’s commitment to the region goes beyond growth in these markets, and it has also developed a service programme adapted to Chinese guests to ensure hotels all over the world are better prepared to meet the needs and expectations of this increasingly powerful feeder market. The company expects to add new hotels by the end of the year.
In China, the company will add a new hotel under the Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand, Meliá Xueye Lake, which is in Shandong province next to the prosperous city of Ji’nan where Meliá already operates the Meliá Jinan.
In Thailand, one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia, the company adds two new Meliá Hotels & Resorts: the Meliá Chiang Mai in the second most popular tourist destination in the country, and INNSIDE Bangkok Sukhumvit, the company’s second hotel in the capital after the Meliá Bangkok, signed up in 2016.
In Vietnam, Melia has signed a new property that will be managed under the Meliá brand – Meliá Ba Vi Mountain Retreat, in a natural paradise to the west of Hanoi. Escarrer, also signed an agreement for the future Meliá Bukit Tinggi in the state of Pahang in Malaysia.
According to Escarrer, “the size of this market, the strong organic growth we are seeing in China and Southeast Asia, and the progressive growth in revenues in the region, lead us to predict that in the medium term the region will make a contribution as important to company results as Cuba represented after its addition 30 years ago”.
Meliá has been operating in Asia Pacific for 30 years, and the region is a perfect example of its business model, focused on the addition of hotels under management agreements rather than through acquisitions. This is a key feature of the company’s growth strategy.
Cabot said: “Meliá has an attractive value proposition for hotel owners and investors, thanks to its know-how, its extensive portfolio of leading brands, and its human potential and service culture, which increase its appeal in such a demanding market as Asia.”
The relevance of the APAC markets is increasing for Meliá Hotels International year on year, from the perspective of both inbound and outbound travellers. In line with the company’s strategic commitment and the priority of the Asian market, the new management agreements signed by Escarrer will strengthen relationships with important financial and real estate groups in the region, such as Greentown China, TCC-Land in Thailand and Aurelian Land SDN BHD.
Meliá Xueye Lake
This new Meliá-branded resort has a privileged location on Lake Xueye, the largest water reserve in this prosperous region in eastern China, home to the cities of Ji’nan, Zibo, Tai’an and Laiwu, which together have a population of over 18 million people. Thanks to its beauty and easy access (only 50 minutes from Ji’nan Airport, and soon to open a high-speed train station), Lake Xueye has become the most popular leisure travel destination for the surrounding cities. The hotel will provide 120 rooms and villas, and will also offer meeting rooms, wedding, sports and wellness facilities, a swimming pool and children’s club, as well as a wide range of dining options.
The development is owned by Shandong Gaosu Greentown Laiwu Xueye Lake Development Company Limited, a subsidiary of Greentown China.
Meliá Chiang Mai
Meliá Chiang Mai will become the company’s first hotel in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, and its third in the country. Chiang Mai is the second most popular destination in Thailand, a country that is a prime destination for Meliá due to its tourism potential, natural and cultural attributes, and human capital. The company will take over management of the hotel immediately, although adaptation to the Meliá brand standards and rebranding is not expected to be completed until 2019.
Declared a “creative city” by UNESCO, Chiang Mai is the largest city in Thailand and has the greatest cultural attractions. It also has the fourth largest airport in the country, only 5km from the hotel, and a train station for the luxurious Eastern & Oriental Express, very popular among travellers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos.
The Melia Chiang Mai provides 325 Superior and Deluxe rooms, as well as several types of Suites. Room numbers will be reduced to 261 after the renovation of the hotel to meet Meliá standards.
INNSIDE Bangkok Sukhumvit
After signing up the Meliá Bangkok in 2016, the INNSIDE Bangkok Sukhumvit will become Meliá’s second hotel in the Thai capital. The hotel will be located just 30 minutes from Bangkok’s main airport, and will be the first for the Innside by Meliá brand in the country. It is scheduled to open in 2021 with 176 rooms and all-day dining facilities, a swimming pool on the upper terrace and a fitness centre.
Both the INNSIDE Bangkok Sukhumvit and Meliá Chiang Mai are owned by TCC Land Company Limited, a company founded in 1960 with which Meliá has a long-term partnership. TCC is one of the leading conglomerates in Thailand with interests in agriculture and industry, food, real estate, industrial supplies, financial services and insurance. It also owns about 50 hotels operated under the best international brands, both in Thailand and in other major destinations in Asia, Oceania, Europe and North America.
Melia Ba Vi Mountain Retreat
Located in the lush jungle and tropical forested Ba Vi National Park, one of Vietnam’s most famous destinations, and surrounded by a breathtaking natural beauty to the west of Hanoi, Meliá Ba Vi Mountain Retreat aims to become a flagship of the wellness hospitality segment, in which the Meliá brand stands out. Ba Vi Mountain has convenient access to Noi Bai International Airport, that offers frequent International flights with key markets such as Bangkok, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The resort is expected to open in 2018 with 100 rooms including 12 bungalows and three villas, that will be a perfect showcase of Vietnam’s commitment and focus on nature tourism, an increasingly interesting segment. It will also have exceptional dining offering and other facilities such as spa and outdoor pool. It is owned by Vietnam A&A Technology and Investment Company Ltd.
Meliá Bukit Tinggi
Meliá Bukit Tinggi will become the company’s fifth hotel in Malaysia, another major travel destination for travellers from China, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The property will look out onto the lush highland surrounds of Bukit Tinggi, the fourth most visited place in Malaysia, renowned for its beautiful natural landscapes and cool weather.
Meliá Bukit Tinggi is close to some of the country’s top tourist attractions, such as the soon-to-be-opened Genting 20th Century Fox World Theme Park and Lentang Forest Reserve, and it is just 90-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and is easily accessible to the rest of the country with the opening of the new East Coast Rail (ECRL) Bentong station located only 26km kilometres away, which connects Bentong to Kuala Lumpur and Kelantan.
Centred around wellness tourism, the new 219-room hotel will feature accessible friendly design, manicured gardens including an orchid conservatory, and wellness facilities. Other amenities include a swimming pool, spa and fitness centre, variety of dining venues and MICE facilities.
Slated to open in 2022, the property will be under a long-term management contract with the Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand, and owned by Aurelian Land Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysian senior lifestyle resort development company.