I stayed at ZEL Mallorca for 48 hours: Where to eat, party & explore

split image pool and hotel zel palma
split image pool and hotel zel palma

Packed with culture, golden beaches and incredible cuisine, it's no surprise that Palma has become one of Europe's hottest holiday destinations. Offering the perfect great mix of laid-back living with the buzzing nightlife of a city, Mallorca's capital attracts couples, groups and families looking to escape for a sun-soaked getaway.

Palma has been on my travel list for some time, and for my first 48-hour trip to the Spanish island of Mallorca, I stayed at ZEL, the first property developed by Meliá Hotels International in partnership with tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

The 165-room hotel opened its doors in July 2023, and the stylish spot is just a 15-minute drive from the city centre, combining the carefree nature of the ocean sprinkled with a hint of the exciting city life.

First Impressions of ZEL Mallorca

zel hotel lobby
ZEL's stylish lobby mirrors the inviting nature of a traditional Mediterranean home

Arriving at Zel, I was immediately welcomed by the Mediterranean-style décor and inviting open space. The hotel takes inspiration from a traditional Spanish home with its warm ambience, and the check-in process strays away from the traditional welcome desk. Instead, guests arriving at the hotel are greeted with an open lobby and a modern QR check-in system.

The hotel sits directly on the beach, and guests will be instantly drawn in by the picturesque scenery, thanks to the hotel's open-plan design overlooking the indoor-outdoor restaurant and the ocean backdrop.

The rooms

zel hotel bedroom
ZEL's Junior Suite with a Sea View

Combining luxury with home comforts, the hotel's rooms have been carefully thought out to encourage sheer relaxation. The large king-sized bed and standalone bathtub that both overlook the sea are without a doubt the highlights, and they were perfectly paired with small details to make guests feel at home. From the cosy lounge area to the decked-out mini fridge, and my personal favourite, the stylish record player.

The huge glass doors flooded the room with natural light, leading onto a private balcony offering panoramic views of the beach, and I was lucky enough to catch the incredible sunrise from my balcony each morning.

Where to eat

You don't have to travel far for fantastic food in Palma. ZEL's hotel restaurant, Beso Beach, serves up Mediterranean cuisine with a twist, and guests can enjoy fresh lobster, paella, croquettes and more while taking in the relaxed beach setting. The bar serves up a selection of must-try cocktails, and you'll sometimes find a DJ around the pool in the early evening to bring a lively atmosphere to the laid-back dining experience.

zel hotel restaurant
The hotel restaurant overlooks the beach

If you venture out into Palma's old town, you'll find an array of restaurants and bars to enjoy, and a particular favourite of mine was De Tokio A Lima. Serving up steak, squid, and an array of delicious dishes, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and a light bite – and I'd recommend watching the world go by from the restaurant's tree-surrounded terrace.

Where to party

Combining the glamour of a cabaret show with a modern twist, Lío (part of the iconic Lío group, formerly known as Pacha) is a must-visit for an unforgettable night out in Palma. The performers come together to bring singing, dancing and acrobatics that surround the tables, with everyone from the guests to the wait staff getting involved in the party.

Lio palma
Lio's captivating show combines cabaret and fine dining (Lio Mallorca)

Take a moment to tear your eyes away from the captivating performances to enjoy Lío's incredible dishes, and it will be so worth it. Evening shows can often lack when it comes to the dining experience, but Mallorquin and Michelin-recognised chef Andreu Genestra sets guests up for the night ahead with delicious sushi platters, fresh seafood, creamy burrata and beef tartare to enjoy with the flowing drinks.

Once the show is over and the performers have got everyone well and truly in the party spirit, it's time to dance the night away as Lío transitions into its lively club atmosphere.

Where to relax

zel outdoor pool
ZEL's outdoor pool is surrounding by loungers and Bali beds

Whether your idea of relaxation is sipping a cocktail by the pool or soaking up the sun on the golden sand beaches, you'll find plenty of spots to unwind around the hotel. The pool is surrounded by sun loungers and Bali beds just feet away from the beach bar, with the chic poolside décor providing ample photo opportunities on every corner.

You can leave your sunbathing spot for a trip to the spa to enjoy a range of wellness treatments, or stroll for seconds and find yourself on the beach. There are parasols and loungers to sit back and listen to the calm sea, or you can walk along the wooden trail for the stretch of the coast.

palma beach
The beach offers crystal clear waters for swimming and relaxing

Where to explore

The easily accessible old town is filled with cobbled streets to explore, with shops and cafes filling every corner. For those who want to soak up the city's culture, the iconic Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is a must-visit. Thought to have been built around 1230, the gothic church serves as a piece of the city's history, with mesmerising stained glass windows and views that overlook both the sea and the town.

Final thoughts

Whether you're in need of serene vacation or a place to recharge during your full-filled getaway with friends, ZEL really does have it all to enjoy the best of both worlds. While peak summer season will have the hottest weather, spring and autumn are also options to consider for a quieter stay in the sun-filled hotspot that has over 300 days of sunshine a year.

To book your stay at ZEL Mallorca, visit booking.com or to book your experience at Lío visit Lío Mallorca.

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