Melia on the Move

Paradisus Playa del Carmen
Paradisus Playa del Carmen

Meliá Hotels International set up shop in the U.S. for the first time last fall with the opening of the 502-room Meliá Atlanta. The downtown hotel is set to begin a $35 million renovation starting in January. All public spaces and meeting rooms will be finished by summer; accommodations wrap up by Xmas. Customary to the brand, Meliá is building out the pool deck into a fashionable evening hotspot with lots of Madrileno moxie, rentable for groups. Total indoor meeting space is 30,000 sf.

“The transformation of the pool deck features the warmth of Spanish hospitality that our company is known for,” says John Iannini, director of meetings/events, Americas. “In the evening it’s a high energy place with no children and lots of high-end furniture, cabanas, full bev and food service. It has a true Spanish flair, and there’s a dedicated wall we can use as a big giant movie screen or for high impact presentations. We just showed an Almodovar movie last week.”

This November in Playa del Carmen, the all-inclusive Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmerelda and Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla open adjacent beachside 40 minutes south of Cancun. The adults-only La Perla features Meliá’s signature Royal Service inside 120 of the 394 suites, offering upgraded furnishings, amenities, butler/concierge service and a private pool, beach and restaurant surrounded by palapas and Bali beds. We like the 60 swim-up suites.

Next door, the 512-suite La Esmeralda features 56 swim-up and 122 “family concierge suites,” with special bath products, milk/cookies, staff members with lots of patience, etc…. In between the resorts, El Zocalo is a common area with a 25,000-sf convention center, the brand’s always groovy YHI Spa, some of the 12 restaurants/10 bars and outdoor “fiesta” space.

“The nice thing we’ve already heard from our groups is that some of their people prefer the adult section to take a short respite from their children, and there are those who want to bring their children on the program,” says Iannini. “So we have the ability to appeal to a single group with two very different cultures, and then they can meet and do their functions in the middle.”