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Rafael Nadal Introduces New Hotel Brand ZEL With Meliá Hotels

James Larounis's image
James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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Famed tennis player Rafael Nadal has partnered with Meliá Hotels International to start a new hotel brand called ZEL. ZEL will introduce an upscale urban leisure brand to the Spanish market, later expanding to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.

What Are Meliá Hotels?

Many Americans likely haven’t heard of Meliá Hotels before. The group operates around 400 hotels throughout Europe that generally offer upscale, city-centric offerings. Meliá’s current hotel brands include Affiliated by Meliá, Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá, Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts, INNSiDE by Meliá, ME by Meliá, The Meliá Collection, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Paradisus by Meliá, Sol by Meliá and now ZEL.

The brand was born in Spain and operates its primary concentration of hotels there.

What Is ZEL?

ZEL is new brand in partnership between Nadal and Meliá that hopes to open 20 hotels in the next 5 years. Its primary focus will be a “bleisure” model, or a hotel that can successfully cater to business and leisure travelers who are often traveling for combined reasons during a typical stay. For those interested in warmer climates, ZEL intends to open its first hotels along the Mediterranean coast and then expand into major cities such as London, Madrid, and Paris.

The first hotel to open will be in Palma de Mallorca in 2023 — a perfect location for those looking to get away and enjoy the great weather.

ZEL will focus on having great partnerships in hotel amenities, decor, and sustainability … a big theme you’ll see echoed throughout the brand.

The hotel will have a Mediterranean focus, and you’ll see these themes throughout:

  • Architecture and design
  • Great cuisine
  • Nature, the sky, and sea
  • Outdoors

ZEL Hotels Room
ZEL rooms will combine leisure and business travel required amenities. Image Credit: ZE

In addition to the hotel itself, ZEL plans to offer experiences to guests that they can organize, focusing on physical exercise and fitness — a play on the outdoors focus the hotel has.

Architecture is a big piece of the hotel, and you’ll find these great spaces:

  • Open-air spaces with great views
  • Patios, featuring terraces, rooftop spaces, and beach clubs
  • “Pop up corners” offering crafts, beauty, and product tastings with brands the hotel will be partnering with
  • Social spaces that allow customers to interact with each other

Final Thoughts

It’s nice to see a Mediterranean-themed hotel brand, and it will be interesting to see what partnerships Rafael Nadal, a native Spaniard from Mallorca, brings to the table. While this brand won’t be opening a ton of hotels over the next few years, if you’re visiting Europe, it might be worth checking one out for a night or 2.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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