FIVE-star hotels in the Balearics suffer almost none of the woes of their lower grade counterparts due to the fact that the top grade establishments depend little on seasonal tourism and the traditional “sun and sea” offer, even though they might be positioned with sea views. A combined study carried out by the Centre for Economic Research (CRE), the Balearic University (UIB) and the “Sa Nostra” banking foundation has shown that five-star hotels are thriving thanks to exclusive services and a superior level of essential client care. It also revealed that the lower the grade of a hotel on the Balearic Islands, the more likely it is to depend on seasonal business. The report highlighted significant and surprising similarities between top grade hotels and the oldest cheap boarding houses and pension establishments on the Islands: and that is that neither focus entirely on enticing clientele with the traditional “seaside” image, they are not so ostentatiously-sized as their purely seasonal counterparts, and they do not belong to a particular hotel chain. Gathering evidence, researchers analysed 311 hotels on the Islands (more than 23 percent of the total). Although important differences emerged between “Gold” category hotels (three, four and five stars) and Silver (town-based pensions and boarding houses), it was clear that the “Gold” represented 91.2 percent of available hotel beds due to renovation works carried out during the 1980s and to regional government policy aimed at upgrading the quality of hotels. The report further showed that there were differences in hotel characteristics according to their location within the Balearic Islands. Hotels on Minorca, for example were less densely constructed in terms of number of hotel beds per square metre of terrain due to a later development in the tourist industry, whilst those on Ibiza, Formentera and Majorca appeared to be designed for mass occupation. So-called “cluster” hotels mostly belonged to hotel chains and were designed to appeal to those seeking “sun and sand” holidays.

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