Meliá and Rafael Nadal launch ZEL

Tennis player Rafael Nadal and Meliá Hotels International have launched ZEL, a new brand of resort and urban leisure hotels that will first operate in Spain, and expand in destinations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

The joint venture between Nadal and Meliá Hotels International, both from Mallorca, Spain, aims to create a unique hospitality experience focused on classic Mediterranean character throughout various global destinations, the two report. The new brand will also have a range of different partners in cuisine, design, well-being and technology.

“Melia’s international experience of more than 65 years in creating and managing luxury hotels and Rafael Nadal’s inspirational leadership have come together to create this unique brand we present today,” said Gabriel Escarrer, CEO, Meliá Hotels International. “ZEL, an innovative, energetic hotel brand, will attract and surprise a new generation of travelers that are seeking new ways to focus on well-being and travel sustainably. We are so happy to announce this special partnership with such an admired icon like Rafa.”

“As a Spaniard, a Mallorcan and a global traveler, the launch of this hotel brand is a project that I have had in my mind for a long time,” said Nadal. “ZEL will be synonymous with feeling good and enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle. I was really attracted to this new concept with Meliá from the start and I am confident that ZEL will be a huge success and will be enjoyed by every type of traveler.”

The growth plan includes more than 20 ZEL hotels in five years, focusing on destinations that attract leisure travelers in key regions where Meliá Hotels International operates. The brand will open its first hotel in Mallorca in 2023, with plans to open in destinations on the Mediterranean coast and in major cities such as Madrid, Paris and London.

“ZEL will embody the Mediterranean, focused on the outdoors, delicious cuisine, designed with spacious, bright spaces, offering a connection to nature, the sky and the sea,” the company reports. “ZEL hotel guests will be able to rejuvenate their body and soul through uniquely curated well-being experiences, with both personal and group activities focused on physical exercise and fitness.”

Each property will have a courtyard at its heart. The courtyard, an architectural feature that is prominent throughout the Mediterranean, will lead to other public spaces including terraces, rooftops or beach clubs, offering guests panoramic views of the destinations. Guests of ZEL will also have access to a digital community where they can share their experiences and continue enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle once their stay is over. One of the many highlights of the hotel experience will be rotating pop-ups, featuring local crafters, artists, beauty products and culinary offerings, encouraging exploration and interactions with the local community.