A PERFECT 9 DAYS HOLIDAY FOR 9 REASONS

 For the last 10 years and 50+ vacations with different cruise lines, for me a perfect holiday was a 10 day cruise in a nice spacious suite, with a generous all-inclusive package, an interesting itinerary and a personalised real 5-star customer service. A mixed experience in all-inclusive resorts holidays never made this option a top priority of my “do to” list.

Until now. Until I had the chance to spend 9 days at Melia Salinas in Lanzarote.

And let me explain you why in 9 reasons.

REASON 1 – “A warm welcome before arrival”

The communication with the hotel before my arrival was incredible proving that at Melia Salinas they know that the guest’s journey starts in the moment of booking. Messages from Guest Service Department and LEVEL Concierge increased the excitement of the future holiday, made me more familiar with the hotel and the services provided and gave me the feeling that I was “home away from home” before taking off from Heathrow. More important than that a week before my arrival at Melia Salinas I received all that important information regarding the protocols of “Stay Safe with Melia”, an excellent framework created for the comfort and safety of, both, guests and staff. Everything was done in a professional, efficient, friendly manner managing to put me an easy especially when Lanzarote is still on the “NOT TO GO” governmental list.

REASON 2 – “Check-in”

After a long journey, the arrival and check-in are maybe the most important part of the customer service journey. You want to walk in and feel recognised, attended to, and most importantly welcomed. It is an important touchpoint between a hotel and guest, is the moment where the guest’s initial impressions are formed — and, as we all know, first impressions count.

After getting over the magic landscape of Lanzarote saw during my transfer from the airport and the impressive entrance of the hotel, stepping in the luxurious lobby of Melia Salinas made for sure an impression. But that was just the beginning!

When chatting with the driver about my return journey a staff member of the Reception team pick-up my luggage and invited me at the LEVEL check-in desk. Carina and Abel, mastering to perfection the charm and professionalism of genuine hosts started the check-in procedures. As I check-in on-line before my arrival (which is always a great idea and Melia gives you extra points to your account for doing so), everything was just pure formality but done in a very elegant yet friendly way. While I was enjoying a glass of cold Cava, Carina explained me the new protocols in the hotel. Was more a chat about how I can enjoy at maximum the hotel’s facilities, than a list of “DO NOT!” things (like my later experience at RIU Plaza Espana).

A quick yet genuine welcome from the Assistant General Manager JISKE JAGER rounded the feeling that I was not just a reservation confirmation number, but a guest of a wonderful hotel. While some guests might want to skip the chitchat and get to their room pronto, a warm welcome never fails to start a hotel-guest relationship on the right foot.

While my luggage was sent to my room, Abel took the role of guiding me to VILLA Magdalena, my home away from home for the next 8 nights. In a 5 minute walk I found everything I needed about the hotel and services from Abel and the introduction to my accommodation was done in a very informative and not-rushed manner, respecting at the same time my hidden dream/need of jumping in the shower.

What a perfect start of my holiday!

Check-in Experience at Melia salinas

REASON  3– The Hotel

Melia Salinas is far from being a huge resort specialised in mass-produced package holiday experience. It is a place with a very powerful idiosyncratic, not to say eccentric, personality, bearing the legacy of Manrique and Higueras in every corner (you can read more about the hotel on my blog)

The hotel exudes magic and the array of luxury facilities for sure will kidnap every guest’s attention. But maybe after a day or two, when the pampering and comfort will be started to be a daily routine you will find some time to discover the story behind this magnificent building. Classic and elegant, yet modern and functional, this complex is a true reflection of the stories that comprise it. And I was lucky enough, one day, to have ERNESTO GUERRA, General as an excellent guide truly in love with his “little office”.

REASON 4 – Magdalena Villa

Fully renovated in 2018, the 272 rooms of the Meliá Salinas are divided into 214 doubles, 18 junior suites, 28 master suites, 9 garden villas, and 1 presidential garden villa. All decorated in a stylish, modern design combining marble and the most elegant furniture and an endless range of details and facilities to ensure you are perfectly comfortable and provided with all you will need.

The jump in quality from the suites to the private villas is tremendous. If the master suite takes your breath away, then the villas could cure a serious bout of hiccups. Designed by architect Álvaro Sans, these chalets, apart from being majestically constructed with enviable furnishings, also offer 24-hour personalized service.

My choice this time was Villa Magdalena located at the end of the LEVEL complex, with a perfect balance of seclusion, distance to hotel’s bars and restaurants and an unrivalled opening to the beach and the Ocean having an exotic botanical garden as a buffer zone. A perfect choice for those seeking privacy combined with the best service of a top-class hotel.

Most of the time the guests look at these villas as perfect luxurious accommodation options for their holidays. Fortunately chatting with VIRGINIE CORTHALS, Guest Experience Manger (you can read more about the villa on my blog) I discovered the story behind this gorgeous accommodation.

REASON 5 – All-inclusive package

Melia Salinas reinvented the tarnished image of “all-inclusive”, bringing together quality, variety, style and a touch of luxury, mixing in their approach to “all-inclusive” concept a fantastic infusion of international and local influences. Each moment of the day spent here was part of this unique concept, making the entire experience not only an excellent value for money but an unforgettable happening too. (you can read more about the all-inclusive option on my blog)

REASON 6 – Housekeeping

Nothing repels hotel guests more than poor housekeeping; cleanliness sets a huge impression for quality and demonstrates to guests how much the hotel really cares about their stay. According to statistics 97 per cent of travellers say cleanliness is an important factor when booking accommodation, and just one negative review can lose hotels around 30 guests, according to recent studies.

At Melia Salinas the housekeeping is at its highest standards both in the guests’ rooms and public areas. The hotel is sparkling clean and both, the basics and attention to details have a capital importance in the philosophy of the housekeeping department for the main service and the turn-down fine tuning.

Now, more than before, the pandemic place every hotel in the position to remove some of their special touches (decorations, amenities, room’s adds on ) and the new protocols brought the presence of masks, gloves and hand-sanitizers which can add an unwanted dimension to our holidays.

But, at Melia Salinas, using the excellent framework “Stay Safe with Melia” the comfort and the safety were tailored to guests’ expectations. Nothing was too much for the housekeeping team, every item missing but needed was provided on request, the extra-cleaning was done in an-intrusive manner and indeed the concept “my room, my temple” is a comfortable and safe reality.

I always had a bad feeling about hand-sanitizers: they are sticky, smelly … a kind of a “needed unpleasantry”. But at Melia Salinas I was looking for any opportunity (and they were everywhere) to use the hand-sanitizer – a local product with aloe vera (the green juicy star of Lanzarote) which on top of the expected disinfection function (99% alcohol) smelled  lovely and was like a free organic hands treatment.

REASON 7 – THE LEVEL

The Level It is the most exclusive service offered by the Meliá to provide its most distinguished guests with unique VIP treatment, offering a range of superior quality personalised and luxurious services.

At Melia Salinas this concept was raised to a different … level in both hard and soft products. This most exclusive hotel service provide guests with a wide range of special personalised services and unique attributes offering unforgettable experience in superbly located and equipped rooms and suites, and excellent private areas specially reserved for The Level guests: The Level Lounge – a distinguished private area with a host of services and special facilities of The Level private pool with a choice of premium-brand sunscreens, and the chance to book a Bali bed with Pool Bar service.

Here THE LEVEL is a hotel within a hotel, reminding me of the concepts on MSC (Yacht Club) or NCL (The Haven) where luxury and pampering are just daily routines.

REASON 8 – MAGIC TOUCHES

Didn’t take too long to understand that at Melia Salinas everybody understands the key behaviours and attributes which make the difference between a good experience and a great one for their guests. And each member of the team plays an active role in the business of creating ‘memories’ for their customers.

It’s like Christmas every day when you discover after the morning service or after the evening turn -down a little surprise in your room: a plate with local cheese, a mix of nuts and dried berries, some sweets or fresh fruits. Everything presented in a spectacular way. And you know the old say: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”

I will never forget the “welcome drink” in my room. Normally some wine or a local drink will be a WOW moment. But at Melia Salinas an interactive dimension was added and, in my room,, I had the chance of a remote mixology lesson, the welcome drink being a local cocktail which I prepared myself having the ingredients and the recipe provided by the Guest Experience team.

Welcome Cocktail at Melia Salinas

Or the amazing surprise organised for me on the night when my partner and myself were celebrating our 20th anniversary. On that night I didn’t have the feeling that I was in a hotel. I was HOME celebrating a special moment with FRIENDS and FAMILY. And that’s says a lot about Melia Salinas!

Surprise Anniversary Party at Melia Salinas

Mixing the “brilliant basics” (quality of hard and soft product, impeccable cleanliness, great customer service, attention to details) with these magic touches transforms Melia Salinas from an all-inclusive resort in a DESTINATION!

If I will have to choose one single reason for returning to Melia Salinas, for sure that will be the SALINAS TEAM!

From my arrival until the moment when I started my journey back home, I was amazed at how genuinely kind the entire staff is. From thoughtful greetings to personally following up on special requests everybody at Mela Salinas feel more like family than employees, keeping a perfect balance between being professional and being friendly.

Normally great hotels put their customers at the forefront of their operation, but at Melia Salinas guest satisfaction is the heart of a daily routine. And you can feel that everywhere.

Here is so easy to realise that the entire team at Melia Salinas love the hotel and their jobs. It is an unwritten rule a hospitality that if f a customer is unfortunate enough to have a bad experience, for any reason, you need to make sure it’s made easy and clear for them to tell you about it.

From restaurant and bar staff to management everybody at Melia Salinas are genuinely interested in the dimension of your experience at the hotel. I saw during my stay ERNESTO GUERRA – General Manager, JISKE JAGER – Assistant General Manager and VIRGINIE CORTHALS, Guest Experience Manger walking around and interacting with guests, always open to feedback and suggestion, ensuring in a relax yet professional way that their quality is on par with the guests’ expectations.

Interview with Ernesto Guerra, General Manager, Melia Salinas

During the pandemic the masks in theory covers one of the few non-verbal communications that translates between cultures: THE SMILE. The human smile exerts enormous influence on the perceptions of those with whom we interact.  Research has demonstrated that “service with a smile” isn’t just a catchphrase – it’s a proven approach for elevating customer satisfaction.

The “blue barrier” had a huge impact on both sides of hospitality business. For me, as a guest, it’s more difficult to sense if the staff are welcoming, approachable, friendly, or cheerful.  For them, it’s more difficult to sense if I am satisfied, delighted, frustrated or annoyed.

At Melia Salinas all these problems were solved with grace and professionalism. That gesture with the hand on the chest showing appreciation and thanks complemented the spoken word, providing visual context to whatever was being communicated, values more than 1001 words. Smiles may be hidden behind a face mask, but the eyes aren’t and the team at Melia Salinas know how to “smile with their eyes”. Smiles may be hidden behind a face mask, but the passion and professionalism can transcend any barriers.

A team considering EXCELLENCE as a DAILY ROUTINE

I know that some of my “cruising” friends will be shocked and/or upset but I am confident in saying that my stay at Melia Salinas in Lanzarote was better than any cruises I took and I will have, in the future, a lot of thinking to do, before deciding my next holiday: a cruise or a slice of Paradise at Melia Salinas.

Post Scriptum: For all those still contemplating how safe is to go in holiday in Canary Islands when daddy from No. 10 is telling you not to go here is the proof that if you were a mask, if you protect yourself and the others, if you respect the rules, of better and easier if you follow “Stay Safe with Melia” as a Holiday Bible – COVID-19 edition you will always be on the safe side.

My Covid test done after returning from Lanzarote came yesterday: NEGATIVE !

Q.E.D.

~ by leonard69 on October 5, 2020.

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