I first visited the Mediterranean island of Malta thirty years ago, on my honeymoon! Budgets were tight, and our hotel accommodation was basic, we were given twin beds, a noisy ceiling fan and there was a lot of building construction taking place, at the rear of the hotel.
Despite these short comings we both enjoyed our stay on Malta, taking a delightful ferry across to Gozo, swimming in the Blue Grotto and taking memorable bus trips to the walled capital city of Valletta and the domed cathedral at Mosta.
To celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary, we were going to stay at two of the finest hotels on the island, The Palace and The Victoria Hotel, situated across the water from Valletta, in the vibrant cosmopolitan resort of Sliema.
What I hadn`t realised was that both Hotels were joined `at the hip`, in that they shared the top three floors with an extensive range of well – equipped leisure facilities including a spa, a freshwater indoor pool and modern gym.
The rooftop outdoor infinity pool was a real treat, fresh towels were provided and there were plenty of sun loungers. You could also buy drinks and snacks to enjoy, whilst scanning 360-degree views across the island, from the highest point in Sliema. It was an ideal spot in which to do a little sun bathing or relax with a good book. If guests preferred, they could relax in the indoor swimming pool or stretch out in the fitness gym.
The Victoria Hotel is one of the leading 4-star city boutique hotels in Malta, providing unmatched comfort, elegance and flair. The reception foyer is particularly engaging with comfortable leather chesterfield sofas and a marvellous centrepiece fireplace.
My superior room had a small balcony with two chairs and a table, overlooking the Palazzo Capua, one of six properties, spread out across the island, which are all part of the AX Hotels group. The room included all the usual necessities including a large smart television with satellite channels, bedside tables, dressing table, a very useful large luggage shelf, safe, fridge and the essential tea & coffee making facilities.
The room was tastefully furnished with an antique gold wingback headboard and a wardrobe draped and hidden by splendid houndstooth fabric curtains. The beautiful stylish wallpaper was embossed with velvety red leaves to stunning effect. The bathroom was smartly decorated with black and white tile patterns and several images of pugs could to be seen on tapestry cushions placed on the bed and chairs around the room, a reference to Queen Victoria’s love for pugs!
I decided to eat at The Penny Black Bar on the first evening, it was a Victorian style bar, complete with ornate wood décor and leather coated furnishings. On offer was a buffet style Pasta Night with three types of warm pasta and a dessert from the delightfully decorated Copperfield’s Restaurant, at a very reasonable price.
I could have eaten in the hotel every evening if I had chosen to with a different themed dining experience every day of the week. Maltese Night, Pasta Night, Exotic flavours of India, Grill Night, BBQ Buffet and Fish Night plus the Thai Tempt Asia Restaurant and an Italian Pizza & Pasta Restaurant, A Tavola, located at the Palazzo Capua.
A Tavola was a wonderful restaurant, a large spacious courtyard with plenty of room between the diner’s tables. Palazzo Capua has been around for nearly 200 years and has been carefully restored to its formal glory. The service was excellent and the food superb, once again an Italian Feast was on offer at a very competitive price. We chose an antipasto and pasta dish each and were given a free flow of wine for the evening! Excellent food, service and value for money, in fact a good evening out.
The ferry to Valletta is just five minutes away from the hotel and takes just ten minutes to cross to the islands capital. We took a `tourist train` from the ferry port which took us for a short tour of the city before finishing at the Palace State Rooms and Armoury. There was a Picasso & Miro Art exhibition at the Grandmasters Palace, which was simply amazing.
Two of the twentieth centuries greatest artists, under one roof. For me, the steep streets and the overhanging green balconies were a memorable feature of the city as we strolled around admiring the beauty, strength and architecture of the European City of Culture for 2018.
My stay at the luxurious five-star Palace was captivating. The Palace has enigmatic decoration and is the only hotel on Malta that has designer suites inspired by human senses. Guests can choose View, Texture, Music, Light, Flavours and Fragrance. Although I was not staying in one of the suites, I did get to look inside the music suite.
The walls were decorated with signed photographs of famous musical icons, many of whom have slept in the room, when visiting Malta. A stunning drum kit table, two double beds and sound proof walls so that guests can fully experience and enjoy their favourite music at any time without disturbing other guests. The views were simply breath-taking, the whole of Malta stretches out before you, as far as the beautiful historical medieval city of Mdina, back to the beautiful Valletta harbour. Maybe next time!
My superior room was stunning, the views from the balcony were picture postcard. In the late evening the vista was even better with the twinkling lights of Valletta, glistening on the water. The room was spacious with a huge kingsize bed and a small fridge, writing desk discreetly hidden behind a large cupboard in the corner.
The shower/bath unit was tastefully part of the bedroom! A delightful, simply furnished room with unusually, no paintings or prints on the walls! I decided these were not needed with such stunning views beyond the delightful and much appreciated balcony.
There are a range of dining options available, split between the two hotels, but available to all guests staying at the Victoria, Palace and Palazzo Capua.
Lounge 360 situated on the top floor of The Palace offers panoramic city and distant sea views from a stylish pool deck. The laid – back atmosphere was tasteful, with low key lighting and cool mood music playing in the background. After eating at Tempt Asian one evening this is where I retreated to enjoy a Rusty Nail cocktail as I sat back comfortably on the fashionable seating and couch-like deck chairs.
The Talk of the Town Café, situated on the ground floor is an ‘All Day Bar, Diner & Café’, which in the evening converts into a comfortable bar. As I was visiting during the world cup football tournament, it was here that many guests assembled to watch the matches.
In the morning, after selecting my breakfast from The Tabloid restaurant, I then chose to sit and enjoy my breakfast in the outside area of the Talk of the Town, watching the world go by.
The Tempt Asian Restaurant on the ninth floor was sensational. The food and service were simply amazing and once again the views were not to be beaten anywhere on the island. Whilst we were dining, cannon fire and fireworks from across the harbour, celebrating a Saints Day, only added to the experience. Exhilarating!
My meal was an explosion of flavours and textures, so many of which I had never experienced before. The staff were exceptional, and the manager provided valuable and eagerly accepted recommendations, including our choice of wine, which helped to enhance our culinary experience even further.
My time at Tempt Asian was a delightful evening of superb food and drink, greatly enhanced by the panoramic views across the harbour and the friendly, professional and helpful waiting staff.
Both the Victoria and The Palace are superb Hotels located in a quiet residential area but with easy access to shops, restaurants and ferry services across to Valletta. On a couple of days, I took an inexpensive bus ride from Sliema across the island to Mosta, Rabat and Bugibba. Malta may be a small island in the Mediterranean, but it is simply one of the most beautiful and captivating islands you could wish to visit.
I really enjoyed my visit to Malta and the staff in the two hotels looked after my every need to help enhance my experience. The accommodation was first class offering an outstanding and wide-ranging mix of tremendous dining options.
The staff were always friendly, professional and helpful. The location of the hotels offered a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere but with easy access to Valletta and the rest of the island by bus, ferry or taxi. There is an excellent taxi service, Prestige Cabs, which operates from within the Palace Hotel, which I used to collect and return me to the airport.
If you are planning to visit Malta, I would highly recommend a stay at The Victoria or The Palace Hotels. I would also suggest you check out the Palazzo Capua or any of the other AX Hotel & Resort Holiday accommodation across the island.
You will not be disappointed!
High Street (Triq il-Kbira)
Sliema, SLM1542. Malta
Telephone: +356 21 333 444
Fax: +356 2262 1000
Gorg Borg Olivier Street,
Sliema, SLM 1807, Malta
Telephone: +356 21 334 711
Fax: +356 21 334 771
Disclosure: My stay was courtesy of AX Hotels Malta – The views and comments expressed are as usual my own.