Tennis Superstar Rafael Nadal Is Behind This Stunning New Spanish Hotel — and We Got a First Look – Travel + Leisure

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You might know Rafael Nadal for his 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles and 14 French Open victories, but the Spanish tennis superstar has another venture up his sleeve — that of a hotelier.

Nadal is behind Zel, a Mediterranean lifestyle brand in partnership with Meliá Hotels International, which quietly opened its first eponymous hotel on Mallorca last year and has just followed it up with Zel Costa Brava, set on the coast of Cala Giverola, just minutes from the iconic Tossa de Mar and about 90 minutes from Barcelona.

Courtesy of ZEL Costa Brava.

“I love the Costa Brava. … It offers everything a traveler could want: the stunning landscapes and beautiful coastlines are amazing, and you can have fun with outdoor sports, mixed with historical charm and cultural heritage that speak to my Spanish roots,” Nadal told Travel + Leisure.

“It’s one of those places to embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle this summer.”

Courtesy of ZEL Costa Brava.

Touting “fiesta and siesta” as its main draw, the newest Zel hotel is intended for all kinds of travelers, thanks to restful amenities like the spa with a heated pool set against a mountain backdrop and a sun terrace with panoramic views, as well as more energetic options like 46 different sports and activities, ranging from Nordic walking to cooking classes.

In addition to a lobby bar, L’Ona Beach Club serves Mediterranean favorites in an unbeatable setting — think octopus finished over charcoal, paella studded with local carabineros prawns, and even a wood-fired pizza topped with Iberian ham, fig jam, and pistachio oil.

Zel Costa Brava’s 214 accommodations range from one-bedroom junior suites that start at 387 square feet to a three-bedroom duplex spanning nearly 1,000 square feet with a full kitchen and two bathrooms, ideal for a more extended stay.

Courtesy of ZEL Costa Brava.

Rooms were designed with Zel’s commitment to sustainability in mind and use natural materials like rattan and light ash wood throughout. Guests can also expect toiletries by Haan, a Spanish brand known for its cruelty-free ethos and sustainable practices.

“I loved Zel Costa Brava as soon as I saw it,” Nadal added. “The architecture integrated into nature, together with interior design developed to the Zel philosophy, have resulted in an emblematic and unique hotel.”

Courtesy of ZEL Costa Brava.

Of course, you won’t want to only stay on property — the Tossa de Mar castle, Vila Vella, and the Ametllers de Tossa Roman archaeological site are all easy off-site excursions, alongside the stunning cliffside and beachfront — easily some of the most Instagram-worthy spots along the Spanish coast.

Rooms start around $168 per night for a Zel Junior Suite Garden View and go up to $560 per night for a Zel Junior Suite Garden View. Early-arriving guests can save up to 20 percent off regular rates in its opening weeks. 

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