How has the property performed post pandemic?
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona closed for the 1st time in its 104 years of history for 7 months during Covid pandemic. Mention must be made that the hotel did not even close during the Spanish Civil War. Then, post pandemic, it was the first luxury hotel on the Paseo de Gracia to reopen in October 2020.
Initially, we had very difficult times with very low occupancy (8%, 10% during the first months) with slight improvements over Summer and late 2021 but really saw a sudden increase of demand from March 2022 onwards with very high occupancies having difficult times to cope with such last minute high demand. Mention must be made that we made it a priority to keep in touch with our guests but also employees, providing support in any way we could We came up with innovative stay-cation packages which were very well received by locals as well as proximity and overall Spanish market.
Tell us more about the positioning of the hotel – comp set, USPs
Majestic has been an Iconic hotel in the city, opened in 1918 as the “first luxury hotel” in the best location on the prestigious high street of Paseo de Gracia. Throughout its history, it has gone through various renovations including improving its facilities and reducing room inventory by adding larger rooms and new Suites.
We now have 271 rooms including 51 suites (with the Royal Penthouse, being the largest suite in Barcelona with nearly 5000 sft). The property has remained privately owned and run since opening. As an independent property, it is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. It has been consistently recognised as one of the best luxury properties in the city but also in Spain. As an independent property, it has remained and continues to be a landmark for Barcelona, representing its vast heritage and culture.
I would like to stress that we have never ceased to innovate and re-invent ourselves while remaining true to our heritage and DNA. We have successfully launched and implemented concepts such as “farm to table concept” versus sushi…etc, but also unique concierge experiences like “made in Barcelona” with the most authentic local experiences.
What is your guest profile? Has this changed post pandemic?
Post -pandemic, more locals have remained loyal to us enjoying through various staycation packages including dining, breakfast and truffle experience. Even if slightly restricted, the brunch has also remained a key attraction for locals. On the other hand, we used to welcome guests from nearby countries who could drive. We have been pleasantly surprised that some guests who would frequent us during the pandemic, have become regular guests. Now that the pandemic restrictions have been listed, we have a more high end clientele, who are comfortable and willing to spend on upper room categories and suites.
Our strongest International market right now is the U.S., followed by mature European markets, all of them at a multi-generational level. Regarding our clientele’s nationalities, there are equally first-timers as those who have visited and experienced Barcelona before.
Is luxury perceived differently? Do guests have different expectations?
Definitely! Guests have high expectations and there is an increased interaction and engagement with our staff. Authentic and unique experiences are preferred, rather than touristic attractions.
You have recently completed the renovation of the Spa. Tell us more
Antonio Obrador, famous designer in Palma de Mallorca (owner of the hotel Cap Rocat) has redesigned the entire hotel throughout the years, keeping its soul while bringing an atemporal design (classic with contemporary touch
The Spa was the remaining part which was not renovated after the rest of the roof-top terrace was completed redone.
Obrador chose to combine warm and luxurious elements such as Wood and Marble. There are now 4 treatment rooms including one for couples. We added a private area for relaxation (before or after treatments) with a great jacuzzi that has lower back and leg multi jets, a sauna and steam bath along with a sensation shower.
And Majestic Spa has always been well known for the quality of its therapists – who are very well trained – and the variety and complexity of its treatments – listening to guests’ needs – , overseen by Anna Zwolinska, the Spa Manager using Natura Bissé, a cosmetic brand originally from Barcelona owned by a local family -in harmony with the hotel’s values and history-. It has won the World’s Best Spa Brand the last 4 years by the Worlds Spa Awards, as well as Hora Sexta -Italian Brand of natural oil for massages).
Locals and expatriates have also now become loyal customers of Majestic Spa.
What about your F&B offering? Do you also attract locals?
Since 1918, the hotel has been the center of attraction of locals. That is something that we wish to maintain, not only offering locals a place tone but also inviting visitors to have an authentic experience of Barcelona.
We have different food spaces. Firstly, we have El Bar del Majestic, where Business people and politicians are regular guests of. It is a key meeting point in the city. Secondly, our Sunday Gourmet Brunch at SOLC Restaurant is attracting mostly locals thanks to the exceptional offering. Lastly, La Dolce Vitae rooftop is a melting pot of generations.
In all of them, the cuisine menu is created by our consultant chef Nandu Jubany, accompanied by the best selection of wines, champagnes, and cocktails.
Luxury hotels in many destinations have been facing challenges related to staffing. What has been your approach?
We reincorporated everyone back in Oct 2021. Some of our staff left (due to retirements or changes of work sector). Nevertheless, a good number of long-time staff has remained. We started the hiring process for new staff early 2022, but happened to be surprised by the sudden increase of business.
It has been challenging since then, to hire and quickly train to meet the highest luxury standards and what “attention to guests and details” truly means. That is precisely the part we have found the most difficult and challenging.
We were thankful that the hotel used to enjoy a good reputation among the employment pool in the community including hotel schools. So, we were lucky too be chosen as a reference, especially for our long time history and stability.
How has the property performed in the sense of the rebound of the rates? What are your expectations for the rest of 2022?
We have been cautiously paying extra attention to regular guests, without inflating too much our rates. We followed the trend and rising cost but always within reasonable limitation. MICE has become dual stays and we hope that Asia will rebound soon.
What novelties shall we be expecting for the rest of 2022?
We do have some great projects going on, we continue to invest in improvements including in accommodations. We have immediate renovation plans to enlarge our Fitness / Gym area adding a space dedicated to yoga and relaxation.
We shall be adding a spectacular heated indoor pool for hotel guests and we look forward to recreating a memorable winter / Christmas season. The decorations, including the facade will be exceptional
And we continue to “reinvent the tradition” through our ongoing collaboration with local brands, shops but also museums and galleries.
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