When ‘Corporate’ came to Soller
A year ago The Port of Soller landscape was changed for ever with the arrival of the Jumeirah. This hotel rose like the phoenix from the ashes of the derelict ruin that had stood for many years on the rocky headland. The town was in a state of anticipation as the doors opened and the staff of the Jumeirah began to arrive. It was clear that this was a completely new departure for Soller – a corporate juggernaut had rolled into town. Staff came from exotic locations throughout the world to help their colleagues launch the first Jumeirah Hotel in Spain. Now as it closes its door for the winter Soller is sitting back and analysing what this arrival has done for the town.
Hotels are a very important part of Soller life influencing the holiday memories of thousands of people every year. We have a full range from the cheapest hotel in Spain – the Citric to the most expensive – the Jumeirah. They sit opposite one another in the perfect horse shoe bay of the Port de Soller. They share the same stunning views, swim in the same sea and eat at the same local restaurants. Hopefully they all return home with great memories of their holiday and a desire to return soon to our paradise.
The majority of Soller hotels are owned by local families with a staff base that is an extension of the family. It is not unusual for staff to have been with the same hotel the whole of their working life. This is particularly true of the beach-side hotels and regular visitors are delighted to see the same faces when they return for their summer visits. It all makes the Soller summers a bit of a ‘swallows and amazons’ location for the families that return year after year to the same place.
The English speaking Sollerics who have made an impact on the Hotel scene in Soller have done it with all guns blazing. Trip Advisor love the Hotel L’Avenida with it’s five star luxury boutique style. Equally they love the Casa Bougainvillea and rated it 1st in the Bed and Breakfast Hotel category in Soller. These two hotels are run by Londoners who are both named Matthew. Maybe being named Matthew is a prerequisite for hotel life in Soller?
The Jumeirah’s corporate world is a far cry from the local Hotel world and has introduced a new dimension since it opened in April. Highlights included the Audi A3 launch, which lasted five weeks and brought more than 1000 international journalists to the hotel and the area. The season continued to exceed expectations and the Jumeirah have told me that they have enjoyed’ a tremendously successful inaugural season since its opening’
The hotel has been watched closely by Soller people anxious that the promises for local employment would be kept by the group. I asked the Jumeirah about this and they said :
‘In peak season, more than 50% of the colleagues working in Jumeirah Port Soller are Sóller residents. Their warm welcome has clearly contributed to the hotel’s success, and is in line with Jumeirah´s brand promise to “Stay Different” by offering thoughtful and generous service in a culturally connected environment’.
As the Jumeirah in the Port of Soller closes its doors for a few months to work on their building and grounds they will be redeploying some of their kitchen staff to luxury hotels in Andorra for the winter season and Kuwait where there is a launch of a new Jumeirah hotel. A very exciting opportunity for those selected for the adventure. A core team of 34 staff from administration and business support areas will remain in the hotel preparing for the 2013 season.
The word on the street from locals is that the Jumeirah is good for the Hidden Valley and will introduce it to a new ‘high end’ visitor. They like the involvement that they have had in some town events such as the ‘Gerret Fair’ and the Port de Soller Music Festival. They would love to see a higher ratio of local staff being employed and hope that will be a natural result of second year trading. They have expectations that Christmas will be marked by lovely illuminations from the hotel as they did for the Breast Cancer awareness campaign. Lots of coffee house chatter gives the Jumeirah a cautious well done from Soller residents. High praise indeed for our new corporate friend.