Rafa Nadal launches “heavenly” hotel brand to the Mallorcan way

The Mallorcan tennis player Rafael Nadal and Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá Hotels International, a multinational hotel company from Mallorca (Spain), recently presented the ZEL hotel project in Madrid.

It is a new brand of vacation and urban leisure hotels that will begin to operate in Spain, and later in the main destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America.
Meliá Hotels International aims to open the first ZEL hotel in Mallorca (Spain) this same year 2023.

The expansion plan includes the signing of more than 20 hotels in 5 years, mainly in destinations with a clear focus on premium leisure tourism and the bleisure concept in the main regions in which the Meliá Hotels International company is present: Europe, America, Middle East and Asia. In a first phase, the brand aims to grow in destinations along the Mediterranean coast and capital cities such as Madrid, Paris or London.

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Zel hotel room interior design. Image, .© Interbrand.

For Gabriel Escarrer: “The result of joining the inspiring leadership of Rafa Nadal and the over 65 years international experience in the creation of luxury hotels and the hotel management field of Meliá, materializes today into the design of a unique brand, the traveler will fall in love with and that will amaze the new generations. An innovative hotel brand, full of energy, with a new interpretation of well-being and a model of sustainability. We are happy to finally be able to collaborate, as partners in this project, with an icon on the personal and sporting fields of such high level as Rafa.”

Rafael Nadal points out: “The launch of our hotel brand is a project that, as a Spaniard, a Mallorcan and as a traveler around the world, I have had in mind. Zel is synonymous with feeling good at any time, enjoying life and the way we live it throughout the Mediterranean. From the first moment I was attracted to this new concept that we have been developing together with Meliá. I am confident that Zel will be a success and growth story and experience Zel provides will be enjoyed by all people who go to the hotels, which is ultimately the reason for its creation.”

Brand design by Interbrand

The project is based on the positioning of both brands with Majorcan origin as ambassadors of Mediterranean values and lifestyle: the passion for living outdoors, good gastronomy, the focus on architecture and design to create spacious and bright places, where the connection with nature, the sky and the sea is prioritized. Zel hotel guests will be able to take care of “body and soul” through well-being experiences that they can organize in their own way. Group or individual activities for physical exercise and fitness will be key in this hotel concept.

Zel offers an inspiring new home-away-from-home experience that evokes the way of life in a Mediterranean home, with a courtyard as the heart of the hotel and as a point for flowing and connection. The patio, an architectural element so typical along all the Mediterranean lands, will lead to other spaces such as terraces, rooftops or beach clubs, all of them usual elements int the life into the open air, and where you can admire and enjoy views of great beauty. All these hand in hand with an organic atmosphere with a relaxed design, local gastronomy, natural well-being and unexpected and vibrant shared experiences.

Zel brand in various amenities and items for use within the hotel. Image, © Interbrand.

“There was an opportunity for Meliá to become a leader in the wellbeing segment for an aspirational target through a differentiating and relevant offer for consumers. That offer is exporting the Mediterranean way of life to the rest of the world, both in urban and holiday destinations”, points out Borja Borrero, Executive Director of Interbrand, a consulting company dedicated to branding services, which belongs to the Omnicom Group that has been responsible for the design of the Zel brand.

Besides, Rafa Nadal is not just an sport icon around the world; he is also an emblem of energy and well-being with Mediterranean roots. Leaving aside the same geographical origin as Meliá, he shares differentiating values with thsi hotel company, such as authenticity, celebration and innovation. This provides for a natural fit between both brands.

The new concept targets an international customer segment between 30 and 45 years old, who feels attracted by the Mediterranean culture but who also feels seduced by the culture of the destination they go to, with an important focus on well-being.

“Zel aims to become an experiential hotel brand, reminiscent of those long Mediterranean summer nights a events into the open-dair, with terraces, rooftops and common areas as key places where one can feel the energy of an unpararelled sort of lifestyle, “Héctor Saracho, Strategy Director of the consultancy says. In fact, the name Zel is inspired by ‘cel’, a Mallorcan word meaning ‘sky/Heaven’ and which evokes a certain way of understanding and enjoying life abroad.

Digital community of guests and hotel pop ups

Zel customers wwill have access to a digital community where they can share their experiences and keep on connected with the Mediterranean way pf life once their stay is over.

As an outstanding attribute, the Zel hotels will favor meeting people, as well as social interaction and experiences, through a range of “pop-up corners” dedicated to crafts, aesthetics, or just enabling tastings of products from collaborating brands.​

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More objects with the Zel Brand on them. Image, © Interbrand.

Interbrand explains: “The launch meets new trends in the tourism sector, where the emotional motivations takes precedence over the functional and the experiences of the tourism destination. Likewise, the global economy of wellness-tourism is expected to experience a strong growth in the coming years that supports this initiative.

After the pandemic, the search for a vital balance (between the personal and the professional, the digital and the analogical, health and fun, etc.), has become a first need for travelers. This need has resulted in a greater demand for accommodations that facilitate mixed stays and new experiences that combine the celebration with personal well-being.»

Image above the headline.- The world acclaimed tennis player Rafael Nadal (on the left) and Gabriel Escarrer (CEO of Meliá Hotels International) introducing the Zel hotel concept and brand. © Image, Meliá Hotels International.

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