Meliá enlists Rafael Nadal to launch lifestyle hotel brand

Pictured: Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá, and Rafael Nadal.
Meliá Hotels International has joined forces with tennis player Rafael Nadal to introduce lifestyle brand Zel.

The latest marque of resorts and urban leisure hotels will first operate in Spain, and expand in key destinations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

Growth plan

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

The growth plan includes more than 20 Zel hotels in five years, focusing on destinations that attract leisure travellers in key regions where Meliá Hotels International operates.

Mallorca first

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 is intended to embody the Mediterranean, focusing on a passion for the outdoors, delicious cuisine, designed with spacious, bright spaces, offering a connection to nature, the sky and the sea.

Casual upscale

A casual yet upscale design is aimed at offering a home-away-from-home hotel experience, with a courtyard at the heart of each hotel, serving as a centre for flow and connection.

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.

Energetic brand

Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá Hotels International, commented: “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. Zel, an innovative, energetic hotel brand, will attract and surprise a new generation of travellers 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.”

Nadal said: “As a Spaniard, a Mallorcan and a global traveller, the launch of this hotel brand is a project that I have had in my mind for a long time. 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 traveller.”