As Magaluf seeks to reposition itself as ‘the new Miami’, Meliá is among the companies bringing the necessary glamour, supported by MICE innovations.
Suffering from a somewhat egregious reputation, Majorca’s Magaluf resort has a reputation for hedonistic revelry, alcohol-related fatalities and public indecency arrests.
Those who remember Magaluf’s 1950s emergence may recall a very different, sophisticated ambiance with Black Tie dinners and cocktail receptions overlooking the white beaches.
By the late 1990s, however, competition across the Mediterranean had driven its prices to rock bottom, spawning nightmarish budget hotels.
Legislative action, like banning alcohol on the street between 10pm and 8am, attempted to bandage the damage – both literally and in terms of reputation – but Majorca was also failing fiscally, prompting a financial conundrum: What’s worse, a plane load of drunk tourists or no tourists at all?
Majorcan businesses recognised the destination was ‘maduro’ (past it), and a more permanent solution was needed. A spate of dramatic and tasteful renovations, including Meliá Calvia Beach in 2009 and a Nikki Beach Club in 2012, spearheaded a change. It is a change that CMW witnessed first hand on a recent press trip of Majorca’s hotspots.
MICE tourism was our focus, and it’s clearly a key cornerstone that Majorca is embracing wholeheartedly.
Meliá Hotels International, which will have invested more than £200m (US$254m) between 2011-2018, has recently opened Palau de Congressos de Palma (box, left) and an adjoining hotel, Meliá Palma Bay, 24 minutes from Magaluf.
Designed by the Spanish architect, Francisco Mangado, the congress centre is located on Palma’s Paseo Marítimo seafront, just five minutes from the airport, the cathedral and the historical heart of the city.
The Meliá Calvia Beach Hotel has also taken ambitious steps to attract MICE. Its own, new convention centre seats 500 people in a building 20m from the hotel.
“There’s a huge amount of energy which wasn’t here five years ago,” said Meliá Hotels International EVP Mark Hoddinott. “The convention facility was the biggest piece missing and it will now take us to the next level. We have not moved off our Masterplan since 2011 and we’ve met our objectives.
“We see Magaluf as an urban resort, with people living here in the winter. We’re helping with value and tax revenues locally. Employees are well-trained. It’s now a sustainable destination. Magaluf is seen as a benchmark by administrations as a reference to how to grow and improve a destination.”
Seeing is believing and, with clean beaches, quirky hotels and event space designs and great cuisine, Magaluf is now fit to be a MICE magnet.