Sol Melia in the Spotlight

LUXURY TRAVEL'S TIMELESS APPEAL IS SOMETHING SOL MELIÁ HOTELS & RESORTS UNDERSTANDS WELL. The world's largest resort operator believes the secret to its success is constant commitment to the retail agents who sell their properties and to the guests who book their rooms.

A Luxury Travel Expo participant since its beginning in 1999, the international hotelier celebrated its 50th anniversary last year by launching brand-overhaul strategies tailored to clients' growing needs and desires. At this year's expo, agents visiting booth number 513 can get updates from Sol Meliá representatives on property launches, renovations and guest service enhancements.

According to Tony Cortizas, Sol Meliá's vice president of marketing for the Americas, "We're realigning our brand strategy globally—rather than locally—and particularly emphasizing the luxury market." Growth targets are upper-end product segments: ME, Paradisus and Grand Meliá.

ME, Meliá's newest upscale brand, is a lifestyle product, targeting a psychographic, rather than demographic core market, fusing innovative style with local flavors. An onsite Experience Manager coordinates guests' stays with such life-enriching activities as sushi making, couples' massage and wine-tasting courses—all designed to take the experience to another level.

In Mexico, the pyramid-shaped ME Cancún opened this year, winning a AAA Four Diamond award. Cortizas enthuses, "This niche product is perfect for clients seeking the trendiest places. Our new nightclub will become the town's hottest nightspot." New, too, is the five-star ME Cabo in Cabo San Lucas, following a down-to-sand-level renovation; its "Nikki Beach Club" stars poolside Bali Beds, nearly nonstop music and global cuisine. "The Level" VIP floors kick service up another notch; most requested are club-view "Energy Suites." Both properties feature signature Asian-inspired Yhi Spa retreats; think EcoSpa massage cabins with see-through floors.

Look for ME Brand Extensions Worldwide

Meliá's Paradisus brand registered impressive growth. "Everyone's chasing luxury status in all-inclusives," notes Cortizas. "We've raised the bar on over-the-top, over-delivery in this segment." Proof? Three of the four Paradisus properties in Mexico/Dominican Republic are members of The Leading Hotels of the World; the Paradisus Riviera Cancún spa is a Leading Spa of the World. Now available brand-wide, Paradisus' 30 percent Royal Service room inventory provides an adults-only sanctuary within the family-centric resorts, while Family Concierge service proffers kid-charming (or spoiling!) details; expansive grounds ensure privacy all-around. Along with beach- and poolside Family Rooms, Meliá's Flintstones Land kids' programs are so popular that a similar program is probable for other brands.  Nikki Beach at ME Cabo in Cabos San Lucas

Cortizas believes the iconic, pyramid-inspired Gran Meliá Cancún is the third piece to the perfect luxury portfolio. Also a Leading Hotel of the World, it combines traditional European luxury and Mayan magic. Completely renovated post-Ivan, the relaunched resort's Yhi Spa is also a Leading Spa of the World. Royal Service here includes both butler and beach concierge service (and a sunscreen menu, too!).

Learn More at the Luxury Travel Expo

Luxury Travel Expo affords Sol Meliá opportunities to build on existing agent relationships and cultivate new ones while educating them about its brands: MeliáHotels, ME, Sol Meliá, Paradisus Resorts, Tryp Hotels, Sol Meliá Vacation Club and Luxury Lifestyles Resorts. Cortizas affirms, "Our future depends on agents. Planned are sales corps expansion, fam trips and education programs about these three brands—in other words, a full-court luxury press." For more details, visit