Tennis player Rafael Nadal and Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá Hotels International, today announced the new lifestyle hotel brand ZEL in Madrid. ZEL is a new brand of resort and urban leisure hotels that will debut in Spain, followed by key destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America.

The joint venture between these two global brands, both with Mallorcan roots, aims to reach consistent international growth and capitalise on its signature Mediterranean character. ZEL will also include a range of strategic partners involved with its international expansion, across various sectors including F&B, design, wellbeing and technology

Mr Escarrer states, “The result of combining the inspirational leadership of Rafael Nadal and Meliá’s 65-years’ worth of experience in creating luxury hotels and in hotel management, is the unique brand we present today. Travellers are going to love it and we will surprise new generations with this innovative hotel brand which is full of energy and has a new interpretation of well-being and a sustainable business model. We are happy to finally be able to announce our partnership in this project with an icon on both a personal and sporting level such as Rafa."

Rafael Nadal adds, “As a Spaniard, a Mallorcan and a global traveller, the launch of our hotel brand is a project that I have had in mind for a long time. ZEL is synonymous with feeling good at all times, enjoying life and the way we live it throughout the Mediterranean. I was really attracted to this new concept that we have been working on with Meliá from the start. I’m confident that ZEL will be a great success and will achieve considerable growth and be enjoyed by all of our guests, which in the end is the reason we are creating it.”

The growth plan foresees the addition of more than 20 hotels in five years, focusing on destinations that attract premium-quality leisure travellers, and on “bleisure” hotels in the key regions where Meliá Hotels International operates in Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia. The brand initially aims to grow in destinations on the Mediterranean coast and in capital cities such as Madrid, Paris and London, but the first ZEL hotel will open in Mallorca in 2023.

The project is based on the positioning of both brands as ambassadors of Mediterranean values and lifestyle: a passion for the outdoors, delicious cuisine, a focus on architecture and design to provide spacious and bright spaces, with the priority being a connection with nature, the sky and the sea. ZEL hotel guests will be able to take care of both body and soul through wellbeing experiences, which they will be able to organise as they wish, with both personal and group activities for physical exercise and fitness.

ZEL offers an inspiring new home-away-from-home experience that evokes the Mediterranean way of life, with a courtyard at the heart of the hotel which acts as a focus for the flow and connection. The patio is an architectural feature that is prominent throughout the Mediterranean, and will lead to other spaces such as terraces, rooftop areas or beach clubs that will be the venues for life in the open air, and where guests can admire panoramic views of stunning surroundings. This combines with an organic atmosphere and an informal design, local cuisine, natural wellbeing and unexpected and vibrant shared experiences. ZEL guests will also have access to a digital community where they can share their experiences and continue enjoying the lifestyle once their stay is over.

One of their many highlights will be the encouragement of social encounters, interactions and experiences through a range of "pop-up corners" dedicated to handicrafts, beauty or product tastings with partner brands.