Founder & Chairman of Sol Meliá
|Gabriel Escarrer Julia is the founder and chairman of Sol Meliá. Sol Meliá is the largest hotel chain in Spain and the largest operator of resorts in the world. At the time of Escarrer’s induction into the Hall of Honor, the corporation had a staff of more than 33,000.
At age 16, Escarrer began working at Wagons Lit-Cook as a travel agent. He focused his energy on this job and later graduated with a degree in business from La Salle College in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. At the travel agency he quickly became a “jack of all trades,” working 134 hours of overtime in a month.
At 21, Escarrer took over operations at the Hotel Altair, which he was able to lease from the owner with the local priest as a reference. His strong work ethic was evident once again at the hotel, where he not only served as general manager, but worked as the receptionist, public relations director, sales manager and purchasing manager. During the next few years he took over two other hotels, with the help of his wife, who assisted with management and housekeeping duties.
By 2000, Sol Meliá had grown into the corporation that it is today, with more than $90 million in annual revenue as of 2001.
Escarrer has received numerous awards in his career. In 1999, he received the Tourism Personality of the Century award. In 2000, he was named the Corporate Hotelier of the Year by Hotels Magazine and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hotel Investment Forum.
Escarrer’s philosophy—“the bed that’s not full today cannot be filled tomorrow”—has made him one of the finest hotel managers and entrepreneurs in the world.