Letter to the new president of Melià about Son Bou

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To Mr Gabriel Escarrer

It has recently been published that the Melià company, owner of the large hotels at Son Bou, has changed directors. You, Gabriel Escarrer, son, have taken over as director from Gabriel Escarrer, father. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your new role and wish you every success.

As you surely know, in Menorca we have a certain argument over one of your establishments. We thought that, now, at the beginning of this new position, it would be useful to explain to you the reasons for the disagreements that GOB has over the modernisation project for the hotels at Son Bou that your company is trying to process on our Island.

In the seventies, on the largest beach of Menorca, two towers were built with 12 floors that had some constructions added to the sides and made into a hotel given the singular name of Milanos-Pingüinos. The Melià Company acquired it some years ago and, in 2017, presented a project to modernise the building.

The supposed improvement is not accompanied by a reduction in guest places, as might be expected, but plans to maintain the current number of 1,140, most of which function as “all included”.

In summary, the action that your company wishes to carry out means maintaining  the current height of the towers cutting only 428 square meters off a corner between floors 9 and 12 and adding a lot of new volume (6,000 square meters) between the ground floor and the seventh floor. This will mean affecting the landscape because now, at least, the sea can be seen between the towers, but with the new project, it would be screened off.

In addition, it is proposed to double the swimming pools area, the intention being to make 2,245 square meters available for them on a plot of land that is on the first line, less than 90 meters from the sea.

These figures, Mr Escarrer, seem to sit badly with the sustainability declaration that your company makes and with the promises announced in its publications.

We cannot quite understand how the energy consumption of the establishment could be made, how to imagine that the objectives announced for the Agenda 2030 can be completed, nor how the improvement in the water footprint could be achieved, if the hotel were to be enlarged, the number of guest places maintained and the swimming pools doubled.

We explain all this to you because we know that it is common for the top management not to know the details of the information published by their company. For example, you may not be aware that they boast making a reduction in carbon emissions of 51% (which is a huge percentage) but the example used is for 2020 (the year of the pandemic when all the world came to a standstill.)

Mr Escarrer, we think that you have a golden opportunity to show your real commitment to an island like this, a Reserve of the Biosphere. You have the possibility to present a new project that adapts to the current urban parameters, of a ground floor with two more levels thus freeing Menorca of one of the worst attacks made on its coastal landscape.

When deciding, keep in mind that GOB has repeatedly written to the Alaior Town Council warning them that the hotels are in an illegal position, as confirmed by several court reports commissioned by the Council. There is not sufficient area in the plot of land.

Recently, our entity, with the help of many people, has filed a lawsuit against the group that has tried adding square meters to legalise the hotel. It seems that in so doing they have taken green areas but, even so, the enlarged area is insufficient.

Depending on the result of this litigation, it will also be possible to see the degree of responsibility of those people who worked to stop any prior consultation of the documents, who prepared reports and gave the orders to carry out manoeuvres that are now being analysed in detail by the lawyers and designated experts.

These are some of the issues inherited from the past. However, you are starting a new period and perhaps could make things happen differently. In our opinion, companies can play a very active role in restructuring for the world’s needs. If at any time you would like to discuss this matter directly, you would be welcome to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

GOB Menorca