From 180 euros (about $200)
Housed in a traditional Maltese townhouse dating back 400 years, this 13-room boutique hotel represents the Mediterranean island nation’s varied cultural influences — Roman, Arab, French and British, to name a few. From marble floors and exposed limestone walls to brown rattan furniture and Oriental rugs, the décor exudes both Baroque and Mediterranean flair. Opened in June 2016, the restored property has a lobby that leads to a courtyard revealing inner balconies on each of the four floors. Rooms can be reached via a tiny glass elevator or a dizzying steel staircase with a magnificent light fixture that seems to descend from the sky. In February, the hotel opened a spa below ground where guests can soak in a whirlpool beneath a vaulted ceiling.
In the center of Valletta, the country’s capital and a city on Unesco’s World Heritage list, the hotel is about a 40-minute drive from Malta International Airport and a short walk from the Grand Harbor, Lower Barrakka Gardens and St. John’s Co-Cathedral, among other sites.
From “Romantica” to “Ecologica,” each room has a different name and décor. We were pleasantly surprised by our spacious second-floor “Religioso” suite. It featured two plump twin beds (you can request a queen) with ornate wooden headboards, and a sofa bed under a fresco-style wall print that dominated the space. With scant natural light from the one courtyard-facing window and a color scheme of red, gold and beige, the room evoked a holy sanctuary. But it also radiated opulence, with furnishings including a vintage Gothic armoire with tall mirrors and a giant silver candelabrum (sans candles).
I wanted to love the large bathroom, with its rainfall shower head and sheer floor-to-ceiling curtains separating it from the sleeping area. Unfortunately, the shower’s glass partition failed to keep the water in, which resulted in a call to housekeeping every time we washed. The plentiful white terry-cloth towels and cozy robes were appreciated, and the hotel management said the shower problem has been resolved.
With a 360-degree view of the city and harbor, the rooftop freshwater pool and deck is by far the hotel’s greatest asset. In the summer, though, scoring one of the handful of lounge chairs may be difficult. But retreating to the cavernous spa is a superb alternative for cooling down and relaxing. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, and a bottle of Maltese wine is given to all guests.
A complimentary buffet breakfast is served on the main floor. Guests can dine in several spaces, including the atrium and courtyard, as well as the street-facing library with bookcase-print wallpaper and contemporary Lucite chairs. The spread includes local cheeses, fresh pastries, fruit and a few hot items like eggs and potatoes. The in-room dining menu offers “local bakes,” but our order — a pie of ricotta, fresh peas and broad beans, and macaroni with minced meat in homemade pastry, arrived frozen solid in the center. The hotel staff apologized profusely, even sending a bottle of champagne to our room. The reordered baked snacks arrived warm and were tasty.