Sunday 25 September 2016

'Balconing' death hotel to become landmark as Magaluf smartens up

So long, 'Shagaluf?

Hugh Morris

Published 04/11/2015 | 12:04

Magaluf, Mallorca (Majorca)
Magaluf, Mallorca (Majorca)

A hotel where a man fell to his death from a fifth-floor balcony is at the centre of a major transformation of Magaluf.

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Benjamin Harper, 28, fell from the Sol Antillas Hotel, 10 minutes from the centre of the Spanish party resort, in 2012.

He was one of three Britons to die falling from a hotel balcony in the Majorcan resort that summer, prompting a campaign to warn about the dangers of a drunken craze known as “balconing”, where revellers jump from balcony to balcony.

As the resort seeks to transform its image from debauched party destination to up-market, family holiday venue, the Sol Antillas has been earmarked as a new landmark for the area.

It is one of 11 hotels in Magaluf slated to undergo renovations by the hotel group, Melia Hotels International, at a cost of €190 million. The group and the government of Calvia, of which Magaluf is a part, hope that the revamp will spark to a revolution in the culture of the resort.

The hotel group, 10 other private companies, the Balearic Government and Calvia public officials were in London this week to launch a five-year plan for Magaluf’s regeneration, which includes:

  • extending the season to nine months (March to October)
  • making Magaluf a family destination
  • enhancing the resort’s sports and event facilities
  • improving food, drink, retail, leisure and cultural offerings
  • positioning Magaluf “as a benchmark for the regeneration of a mature destination”

The resort’s reputation has suffered over the last 20 years, as its moniker became “Shagaluf” and it became synonymous with holidaymakers getting drunk and naked in the streets.

Melia Hotel’s CEO Gabriel Escarrer Jaume said he wants the resort to appeal to “modern, affluent travellers”.

Punta Ballena, Magaluf, in 2014. Photo: JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images
Punta Ballena, Magaluf, in 2014. Photo: JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images

“We firmly believe that Magaluf has the beauty and the potential to be a leading holiday destination again,” he said.

Mr Escarrer Jaume said alongside the renovation of the Sol Antillas Hotel, on which work will begin next year, a renovation of Sol Jamaica Hotel will “play a key role in the revitalisation of the Avenida de Magaluf street, which runs parallel to the seafront”.

He said: “We are certain that the regeneration is based on exceeding guest’s expectations, so that they no longer make their holiday choice with only price in mind. This will pave the way for us to welcome families, couples and a more affluent demographic back to Magaluf.

“Meliá Hotels International expects to see Magaluf re-positioned as an upscale holiday resort that boasts cutting-edge hotels, cool beach-clubs, great restaurants and modern shops.”

Magaluf's nightlife culture came under intense scrutiny last summer when a film of an 18-year-old woman performing sex acts during a pub crawl on the Punta Ballena strip went viral.

The incident prompted Calvia’s council to introduce strict regulations for the summer just gone that governed the number and size of pub crawls in the resort, new laws against “balconing”, and implementing fines for drinking or urintating in the streets and public nudity.

Though only enforced this summer, the Mayor of Calvia, Alfonso Rodriguez, told Telegraph Travel last month that the new regulations had already had a dramatic effect in clamping down on unruly pub crawls, “balconing” and drinking in the street.

His claims were met with surprise from Telegraph Travel’s Victoria Monk, however, who visited in September and found the resort’s main strip was still packed with drunken revellers.

Telegraph.co.uk

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