Just back from Malta. Stayed at the Fortina, described as 4*, from 8 to 15 June 2013. We usually stay at this grade of hotel. While we had a superior room with large separate bathroom inc jacuzzi (which my wife declared old and tired-looking) there were some drawbacks. First, the light above a picture had no switch so could only be turned off by removing the card from the switch which meant that if you needed to go to the bathroom during the night you had to find your way in the dark. Solution was to unscrew the bulb! While the bathroom itself was impressive the simple toilet roll was not. They supplied the cheapest, flimsiest toilet roll I have come across in any hotel. The TV channels are up the left. There is a channel that shows old (very good) films. Room was clean and had a great view over the garden which looked lovely esp. when lit up at night. Bed very soft indeed. OK for me but some like a firmer bed. I had booked a superior room with sea view. We were given an upgrade to a superior garden view in a Jacuzzi room. Not what I had booked. Spoke to the rep on Monday and he suggested I ask reception to let me see a seaview room. Then he scooted off. What are reps for?
The lifts were a problem, yes. There were 3, two holding 4 people each at the far end of the hotel. In the centre was a lift for 6 with confusing double columns of buttons. Confusing until you worked out that the left was for one side, right for the other, as doors opened on both sides. We would often wait for the lift only to find it did not stop at our floor on occasions but travelled on to the 8th. Now if 6 people got in on the floors above you coming back down, it went past. I worked out that instead of pressing “down” only I pressed both “up” and “down” it would stop for us. We would get in and become part of the max 6 coming down again.
As to eating, we arrived on Saturday night so it had to be La Vallette. Have to say there was plenty of food, great choice, buffet style. Serve yourself. Though as to being 4* fare, it was not. Must confess though, I did enjoy several desserts on occasion. Large breakfasts available, with a nice view out across the bay. To an extent this made up for the fact that I had to go hunting for spoons. Tea and coffee ok but UHT milk! In a 4*? Yuk! That reminds me, I asked the maid for some milk for the coffee in the room. No problem at all, so she left 4 straws of powdered coffee whitener. I went to the supermarket round the corner and bought fresh milk for the fridge. Wine was I suppose ok at €12 starting. (For yourself in your room, M&S have some nice wines at €5, opposite the bus stop/ cruises). We tried the dine around. First the Thai which served mediocre Chinese/Thai in lovely surroundings. Then the Tigne which served lovely food in small portions, waited on by a smiling (overdoing it) waiter. One thing I noticed that was many waiters in Malta wear a painted smile. I also noticed there is a habit of waiters topping up your wineglass from your bottle without asking. Very annoying.
Reception staff were very helpful. I did have to use their services a lot, though. Reason was the information folder had none – information, that is. I expected suggested trips, map, directions, local shopping, church times, etc. Nothing. The only thing I could see was a card telling you which GP to contact if necessary. This folder is probably one of the first things a guest looks at on arrival. So disappointed.
The hotel has a luggage room for guests leaving who have a long wait for their flight. Ours was 7:45 pm with collection at 5:15 pm. Hold on to your towel card. You can get a shower and a change later in the day. Very useful.
However, all in all, this is not a 4* hotel. Perhaps I am unkind in making a comparison with the Pembroke in Kilkenny or the Caesius in Bardolino. But the toilet roll and canteen style dining in the Vallette speak volumes.
About Sliema. Do not expect to lie on the beach. However the hotel has a grand poolside (cold water) sunbathing area with plenty of sunbeds, with no booking with towels visible). It is a promenade with hotels, apartments, cafés and shops fronting the bay. There are cruises, a ferry to Valletta (with a steep climb up to the centre). There are hop-on-hop-off bus trips available with commentary. However, if you have read up on where you want to go, use the local buses. €12 for all week, or €2.60 daily, anywhere on the island. Grand shopping centre 5 mins walk from the hotel, turn left out of the door. To the right, 5 mins brings you to the cafes, then the shops beyond.
Valletta is great. However, as a keen photographer I was very disappointed that many of the fine views were spoiled by tower cranes and scaffolding.
I enjoyed my time there but I have to say I would not go back. Other places to see.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.