The founder and president of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer Julià, presented “My life”, a memoir in which he captures his experience as one of the most important hoteliers in the world, the leader of a family business that 60 years later has more than 360 hotels in 45 countries.

Accompanied by the President of the Government, Francina Armengol, around 350 people applauded Escarrer Juliá standing up as soon as he stepped onto the convention center of the Gran Meliá Victoria hotel.

Escarrer Juliá was born in 1935 in Porreres. His parents were farmers, a humble family without many resources. When the future hotelier was five years old, they moved to Palma, where the boy studied and later learned French and English. At the age of 21, he rented a small hotel in Son Armadans with 60 rooms with his wife Ana María.

Presentation of “My life”, a memoir by Gabriel Escarrer Julià. Photo: GOIB.

This is how this story began, which has several milestones: in 1990, Meliá was the first international chain to sign a contract to manage a hotel in Cuba and in 1996 it became the first European hotel company to go public.

Over 40 minutes, Escarrer Juliá reviewed his professional life up to the present, a compendium of stories that are in the book written by journalist Isabel Durán.

Dialogue with Mallorca Global: Fidel Castro, the 2100 tourist and Meliá’s best years

Escarrer Julià was the cover of Mallorca Global in the 2019 Christmas edition. Among other topics, she spoke about the following:

Anecdote with the former president of Cuba, Fidel Castro: “My relationship with Fidel Castro is famous, of course, because I was the first tourist businessman to arrive in Cuba and the first one he asked to explain the tourist business and the possibilities he had for promote a sustainable and harmonious development of your country, generate employment, etc. I will always remember a meeting in which I was supposed to present the vision of our initial development on the island, however, I spoke for barely 15 minutes, and Fidel Castro spoke for four hours… ”.

The 2100 tourist: “I think there will be enormous changes in terms of mobility, the way hotels will arrive and leave, that the ways of buying and booking will continue to evolve, possibly they can do it from their watch or from a device connected to his thought. But I am almost sure that the tourist of the year 2100 will continue to value personalized experiences of gastronomy, comfort, entertainment, design, wellness, etc. that our hotels offer, and that he will be a client fully aware of the need for responsible and sustainable consumption and tourism ”.

Meliá’s best years: “The years 1984-1985 were the ones that most marked the future of our company, since in just over a year we acquired the two largest hotel chains in the country, incorporating more than 70 hotels, which represented more than doubling our size. Also in the middle of that decade, I decided to open the first hotel outside of Spain, and neither more nor less than in Bali, which in addition to a very wise decision from a business point of view -because Meliá Bali continues to be, 35 years later, one of the most successful hotels in Indonesia – meant a huge qualitative leap for our Group, and the discovery of everything that represented sustainability, the “soul” and harmony with the environment, for the hotel business. Finally, a decade later, in 1996, the decision to go public undoubtedly marked Meliá’s evolution, as it made us mature as a company, by assuming all the demands of rigor, transparency and good governance imposed by the market, maintaining at the same time a strong family component, since the Escarrer family continues to hold 52% of the shares.

Gabriel Escarrer Julià speaks with Francina Armengol, president of the Government, in the presentation of “My life”. Photo: GOIB.