Melia looking to replicate Cuba's success in Iran
Spanish operator's first Iranian property on course for 2017 opening
Hoteliers have wasted no time in announcing their Iran plans eversince the sanctions were lifted earlier this year, and Melia Hotels International became the third brand, behind Accor and Rotana, to announce its plans.
Melia Hotels International global development managing director Maria Zarraluqui told Hotelier Middle East exclusively at AHIC: “The construction is progressing and it should open in less than a year. We are first five-star brand to come to Iran, which is of a different scale.”
Melia has above 15,500 keys in Cuba – a country that shares similarities with that of the Iranian economy, and Zarraluqui explained how that expertise can give the operator a leg up in operating in Iran.
“Melia is very talented in opening in new markets. We showed our capability when we opened in Cuba. And we certainly think that Iran has the right resources and the people, along with the cultural approach. Everything is there to be a success.
“So for us, if we need to compare it, we can compare it to our project in Iran 25 years ago and you can see what we have done there, and we are there to help,” she said.
Melia hopes to be a major operator in Iran and seems to have found a wealthy partner.
“We have signed with the owner, who is one of the biggest businessmen in the country – if he believes in us we are confident to develop many more hotels with him as well [in Iran],” Zarraluqui shared.