MADRID—Tennis player Rafael Nadal and Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá Hotels International, announced the launch of 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 aims to create a hospitality experience focused on Mediterranean character throughout global destinations. The new brand will also have different partners in cuisine, design, wellbeing, 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 Escarrer. “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 Rafael 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 on the Mediterranean coast and in cities such as Madrid, Paris, and London.
ZEL hotel guests will be able to rejuvenate through wellbeing experiences with both personal and group activities focused on physical exercise and fitness. ZEL will have a courtyard in each hotel, serving as a center for flow and connection. The courtyard, an architectural element that is prominent throughout the Mediterranean, will lead to other public spaces including terraces, rooftops, or beach clubs. Guests of ZEL will also have access to a digital community where they can share their experiences and the Mediterranean lifestyle once their stay is over. The brand will offer rotating pop-ups with local crafters, artists, beauty products, and culinary offerings.