Announcing the official opening date at a press conference in London last night, Sol Melia hotel group's executive vice-president of marketing Luis del Olmo said: "We believed we would have the hotel four years ago, but we have learned that building in Shanghai is not easy. In the Pudong district, where our hotel is situated, a whole series of permits had to be negotiated.
"Now we are proud to announce that the Gran Melia Shanghai will definitely open on 12 December. We have created one of the best examples of the Gran Melia brand and hope to compete with the best luxury hotels in China."
The 680-room property will include 5,000sqm of meeting space, plus seven restaurants and four bars.
Elswhere, the Gran Melia Daios Cove is currently under construction in Crete and is due to open in March 2010. Sol Melia is also preparing to launch two new hotels under its Inside brand, with Dresden opening in December and Copenhagen in early 2010. The company has additionally spent around £500m on rebranding and repositioning its Melia hotels.
"We are in a crisis in which we have all suffered and our [financial] results are not as good as we would like," said del Olmo. "But, surprisingly, this is a period to expand."
Sol Melia currently owns and manages 304 hotels in 26 countries and is the sixth largest hotel group in Europe.