When you approach the Phoenicia Hotel, you are immediately struck by its impressive façade and as you enter the historic building, you quickly realize why this charming hotel has a worldwide reputation for excellence.
Set beside the gates of Malta’s historic walled capital, the Phoenicia Hotel boasts the perfect location for discovering this magical Mediterranean island and its many delights, including Valletta’s famous Grand Harbour, St. Johns Co- Cathedral and the Grand Palace, alongside a charming café culture and a thriving arts and music scene.
The elegant Phoenicia was Malta’s first five-star hotel and dates back to 1939, giving it a wealth of history and a unique charm that you won’t find elsewhere. The recently refurbished interior boasts an imposing Art Deco influence and there are 128 bedrooms and eight suites, affording some truly stunning views from the terraces. Guests can wine and dine in a splendid choice of settings, whether it’s a romantic dinner-à-deux in the award-winning Phoenix restaurant, a decadent afternoon tea in The Palm Court Lounge, a cooling cocktail at the Bastion Pool Bar and Restaurant, or an aperitif in the comfortable Club Bar.
Mouth-watering appetizers offered include the exquisite Carpaccio of beef fillet and mozzarella, as well as consommé of pigeon for the more adventurous, whilst two of our favorite main dishes were the deliciously fresh pan-fried red snapper and the slow-cooked lamb chump with tempura oyster and Jerusalem artichokes. The hotel’s wine list is extensive with excellent choices from around the globe, but we felt compelled to sample the local fare and were not disappointed with the Maltese Cabernet Franc from the Marsovin Private Estate.
We stayed in a Classic Plus room; contemporary and chic with elegant furnishings, but if you want to splash out opt for one of the Executive Harbour View Suites with marbled bathrooms, spacious living rooms and stunning views overlooking the Grand Harbour.
Thanks to the temperate climate, the Phoenicia’s breathtaking gardens, spanning some seven acres, are always in bloom. Guests will be enchanted by the variety of flora as they saunter along the paths to reach the Bastion Pool Deck, tucked neatly into the city walls and commanding impressive vistas over the ocean beyond.
If you’re after a little more action than simply soaking up the sun, then there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Escape the sizzling summer temperatures and enjoy a scuba dive with local experts in the crystal waters surrounding the island of Comino with its famous Blue Lagoon. Or hop on a ferry to Malta’s little-sister island, Gozo. Gozo means joy and when you see the beaches you know why - these are some of the best stretches of sand in the Mediterranean and well worth a visit. For the more adventurous beach lover, a visit to the San Blas Bay in the North-East of Gozo is a must. It’s a short walk down a steep passage from the village of Nadur but well worth it. You will be rewarded with an unforgettable vision of red sand and crystal blue seas!
With over 7,000 years of history to explore, visitors should certainly take a tour of the island, which has been used as a location for epic films including Gladiator and Troy. Begin at the beautiful Barracca Gardens, located between the ramparts of St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion, (which date back to the 17th century) before taking a traditional Maltese fishing boat, called a dghajsa, across the water to The Three Cities (Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa). Conclude your tour with a visit Malta’s first capital city, Medina, a colonial settlement of Imperial Rome and known as ‘The Silent City’ where you’ll see a captivating blend of medieval and baroque styles, with fortification walls.
Shopaholics, meanwhile, can indulge in some serious retail therapy in Valletta’s designer boutiques and visit the historic Sterling jewellers, which even has a shop within the Phoenicia, if you need some glamorous last-minute accessories. Check out the events taking place when planning your trip as you’ll find concerts from world-renowned artists regularly happening at venues across the city, as well as a host of festivals and attractions throughout the year including the Malta Jazz Festival, the Malta Arts Festival and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Malta is also becoming an increasingly popular destination for overseas weddings, thanks to its Mediterranean climate and charm, coupled with the fact that English is one of the two national languages, removing any linguistic barriers. The Phoenicia enjoys a long-standing reputation as one of the best places to marry on the island; with a choice of seven locations within the hotel for the ceremony itself, including The Rotunda, set around the art deco fountain, and The Gazebo at the end of the exquisite gardens.
It’s no surprise that this majestic hotel has played host to many celebrities and even royalty: the Queen has visited on several occasions, and famously danced in the hotel’s magnificent ballroom in her younger years, whilst the Hollywood elite have been visiting for decades. Legendary screen idols such as Charlton Heston and Joan Collins put the Phoenicia on the map long ago, and it continues to attract and enthral modern movie stars such as Pierce Brosnan and Rachel Weisz, whilst music industry moguls routinely fill the rooms during festivals and concerts. The best thing about the Phoenicia though, no matter who you are, you’ll still get the star treatment.
Guests can enjoy luxury accommodations at the five-star Phoenicia Hotel from €180 per room per night, including breakfast. To book a reservation or for more information, please visit www.phoeniciamalta.com or call 0808 238 17100808 238 1710