With the opening of four new facilities in Havana and Holguín, the Spanish hotel company Meliá aspires to regain its leading role on the island. During the International Tourism Fair (FitCuba) held this week at the Morro-Cabaña complex in the capital, Vice President An executive of the Cuban division of Meliá, Gabriel Escarrer, affirmed that the company intends to consolidate its position and that it trusts the forecasts of the Cuban Government regarding the increase in the flow of travelers to the country.
Among the “news,” said Escarrer, is the inauguration of the Innside Habana Catedral hotel, an accommodation for tourists who want to discover the colonial city in one of its emblematic spaces, the central Plaza de la Catedral.
They will also assume the management of the historic Sevilla hotel, with 178 rooms and located in Havana’s Prado, which will receive the Affiliated by Meliá label. The establishment, inaugurated in 1908, gained worldwide fame after the publication of the novel Our man in Havanaby the British writer Graham Greene, and the filming in 1959 of the homonymous film in the hotel itself, a few months after Fidel Castro took power.
In August 2022, this newspaper verified the terrible conditions in which the building was located, whose doors were locked by a “bar”, although the stores in its commercial gallery, which face Prado Street, were open.
Meliá will be in charge of managing a completely new hotel, the Sol Turquesa Beach, a 531-room colossus in Holguín which it presents as a simulation of “a Spanish hacienda from the late 19th century.”
Another heritage hotel in Havana, the Plaza –opened in 1909 and one of the most recognizable in the city, located a few meters from Central Park–, will become part of The Meliá Collection brand, a special category that marks “exclusivity”. of certain accommodations of the company and who arrives in Cuba for the first time. However, last year, the gates of the Plaza were also closed off by thick wooden crossbars.
Finally, Meliá will be in charge of managing a completely new hotel, the Sol Turquesa Beach, a 531-room colossus in Holguín which it presents as a simulation of “a Spanish hacienda from the late 19th century.” In addition, it will have “waterfall pools”, “comfortable rooms” and “suggestive gastronomic proposals”.
In a note on his Blog, the company also anticipated the upcoming opening of the Meliá Trinidad Peninsula and recalled that, since last March, Varadero has had the brand new Sol Caribe Beach. In addition, it plans to “refresh” its housing plan in different hotels that it already manages in the capital and will improve, they say, the menu – it aspires to incorporate Japanese restaurants and tex mex– and tours of Old Havana.
The Jagua hotel, in Cienfuegos, will finish its restoration in 2024 and will be renamed Innside Cienfuegos Jagua. Other renovations on the list are those of Paradisus Varadero, Paradisus Princesa del Mar, Paradisus Río de Oro, Meliá Las Américas, Meliá Varadero, Sol Palmeras and Tryp Habana Libre.
Meliá’s power on the island is translated into numbers: “More than 14,000 rooms in 38 hotels,” estimated the Communications Director of the company’s Cuban subsidiary, Maite Arteida, in a interview for the middle Excellencies Cuba.
Artieda explained that Meliá is directing its offers, above all, to tourists canadians. “Canada continues to be the leader in terms of issuance of tourism to Cuba, and then in Europe we have important countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, these last two, facing the summer, continue to be our priority markets,” he said.
The communicator pointed out that Meliá has covered all the important destinations on the island, including Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Holguín, Varadero, Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa María. Asked if the company planned new investments, she detailed the plans for the Meliá Trinidad Peninsula –the first to open in that city–: “It is a hotel located in front of the sea, with views of the Escambray mountains, very close to the city of Trinidad, which will offer travelers the complete experience of sea, mountains and discovery of that culture that is unique in Cuba”.
“We are a hotel chain, but what we are really dedicated to is creating experiences through our different brands,” he concluded.
Some 14,000 lawsuits were launched against companies that had “trafficked property confiscated by the Fidel Castro regime,” including Meliá
Meliá, based in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and present in Cuba for more than 30 years, has seen its situation complicated not only after the coronavirus pandemic, which put international tourism in jeopardy, but also due to multiple demands after the reactivation in 2019, by then-President Donald Trump, of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. Some 14,000 lawsuits were launched against companies that had “trafficked property confiscated by the Fidel Castro regime,” including Meliá.
For the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, Meliá’s new move is good news. Juan Carlos García Granda, head of the sector, re-announced as a goal for 2023 the entry of 3.5 million foreign visitors to the Island. The forecast, carried out as the same voluntarism as a year before –when it promised 2 and a half million tourists–, had to be rectified time and time again during 2022, which ended with just 1.7 million.
The slow recovery of the sector, the global lack of interest in the Cuban destination, the erroneous diagnosis of the problems and the preference of tourists from allied countries such as Russia for other vacation destinations, such as the Dominican Republic, are several of the factors that belie optimism. of Garcia Granda. The only thing that does not stop despite the crisis, as demonstrated by Meliá’s new bets, is the frantic construction of hotels.
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