We were invited on a £49 week long holiday for a timeshare presentation in February 2012. After much research we decided it was worth the hassle of this so we could visit Malta, which seemed lovely and to get a bit of winter sun.
With only a 3 hour flight time from UK and a private taxi waiting for us, we were at the hotel in less than an hour. It took around 15 minutes to check in as seemed lots of people had taken advantage of a cheap timeshare sale week. Our bags were taken to our room which was a "studio" overlooking a hilly, grassy area with some buildings- the scout camp apparently. Not the best of views but OK and quiet as nobody camping. I could imagine it gets very noisy in summer when it must be full of children.
Weather: Not what we expected! Had been led to believe that Malta was springlike in winter and its where older Brits went to get away from English winter. It was the coldest weather Malta had seen in decades. I did not get warm (literally) all week. 5 layers on to go out plus hat, scarf and gloves. Windy, rain, thunder, lightning, hail. What a treat!!
Room: quite spacious with sofa, coffee table, old TV that had 5 english channels consisting of 2 news channels; sky 1 and sky Living which did not work (due to the weather???) and a temperamental channel 5 which kept stopping. All the rest, including radio channels were foreign. Not the hub of entertainment, although you could pay for TV channels at the cost of around 11 euro for 3 hours??!!
Bed: very small for the size of the room-could easily get a king size bed in there which would be better. pillows very uncomfortable as seemed to be full of cotton wool balls which offered no support and squished into a lumpy mess. Duvet very warm and cosy.
Storage: large wardobe which was hard to get things into due to a bedside cabinet and the bed being in the way of the right side sliding door and the hangers only pulling halfway across the rail, so you had to step into the wardrobe to get things hung up! 4 large drawers and 2 beside cabinets which were useful.
Kitchen: small kitchen with 2 electric rings and a microwave plus all the pots/pans/crockery needed to make simple dishes like pasta; a toaster (which like all toasters seemed to cook one side Ok and the other untouched or made black patches appear!); a small kettle which always boiled enough water for 2 cups at a time which was adequate; tea, coffee, milk, sugar sachets; table with 2 chairs.
Bathroom: lovely spacious bathroom with his and hers basins, towels, bathrobes (but if over a size 16 it will not be big enough!), bath with shower over- not the best if disabled like me, trying to step over a wide edged bath. also the glass shower screen made it impossible not to get water all over the bath edge and floor (showers really should be totally enclosed!); lots of very hot water, so be careful especially if you have children.
Balcony:a spacious balcony with small table and 2 chairs, open to the elements (ie no screening to keep out flies etc). a good place to feed the birds from every morning as they came in large numbers for bread and were great to watch.
Air con: free and packs out heat that seems to concentrate on the far end of the room. Also had a bad drying effect on the throat as it had to be left on due to the extreme cold.
Food: Several restaurants/ bars although only seemed to have Swizzles (bar), Mokka (snacks, light meals, cakes and drinks) and Agliolio (pizza, pasta, steaks) open and the rest of the place wsa like a ghost town. All very nice but pricey as the hotel has the monopoly due to its remote location. Agliolio prices ranged from 7 euro for a cheese and tomato pizza (delicious) to 30 euro for steak. Wine is also double the price of that which you can buy in the nearest village of Mellieha (about 10 mins bus ride).
Shop: a small selection of expensive food/grocery items to be used only in emergency!
Laundry: self service laundry near the shop. unsure of cost but probably around 2 euro for a load.
Things to do: Large outdoor unheated swimming pool, closed due to the weather. Small indoor heated pool which was very busy most of the time. 12 people in there meant no swimming! Steam room; gym. Spa- looked nice but expensive: cheapest price 35 Euro for 25 min massage up to 225 euro for 85 min in room massage. Games room with air hockey and pool table.
Staff: very pleasant and helpful with the few we interacted with. Always held doors open for you.
Trips: All sightseeing trips can be booked through the Drifter desk in the main lobby. These are small mini vans (seat 15 people which is very cosy!) with a large step up and small to negotiate your way to a seat, especially if elderly or disabled- unsuitable for wheelchairs but think they would have a vehicle for this. See Connie at the desk- the most helpful, friendly and chatty Irish lady (thankyou for all your help) who can book all your trips and prices are good. These need to be booked well in advance as they were quite busy on some days and summer would be worse. We did trips to Gozo on the jeep safari which was great. We had a jeep to ourselves and went all over Gozo. Price of 60 Euro included transport to and from the ferry, the ferry (do not buy a ticket to Gozo as you get them given to you by the jeep driver on your return-nobody pays to go to Gozo, only to come back to Malta, apparently!); a set lunch in a small restaurant and a full day's tour of Gozo stopping at lots of places. Well worth the money. Also visit to M'dina (pronounced Emdina) which is the most amazing walled city. If you go here you MUST visit St Paul's catacombs, only 10 mins walk from the main gate of Mdina. WARNING; When you get off your bus in Mdina you will be approached by drivers of the horse and carriages for a hard sell. They first offered us a trip of the walls for 35 euro. We said no. He lowered his price to 30. Said No. Got chased after by another driver who went as low as 20 euro. Said No as preferred to walk. Glad we did as as it is easy to walk around and not that big. Did 2 circuits in less than an hour with stops to look in the tiny shops, have coffee and admire the views from the top. Do not be conned into this ride as it offers no benefits at all, especially when you have to think 1 euro= £1 approx so £20 for a 20 min ride?????
If you are on promtional holiday week then the Drifter bus can be taken free of charge to Mellieha (has to be booked in advance) which has a few small cafes (mainly closed), a church (closed), world war 2 bunkers (closed); a couple of shops (mainly closed) and a tiny, cramped "super"market called Shoppers. All these things are at opposite ends to each other and everywhere is on a very steep hill! Worthwhile a free visit though to get food, drink in as you will save a small fortune. Worth a stop in a cafe just to witness the mad driving on the main street which should be one way, but the locals chose to ignore it and prefer to have accidents! We saw a bus take out the side of a truck on a hilly bend due to a woman parked on double yellows. She did a runner and the street was blocked for half hour while the bus driver and truck owners gesticulated wildly, spoke on phones and eventually drove off. Insane!!
Car: do not hire a car as there is nowhere to park. Road surfaces are shocking in places and drivers are a little bit mad! Buses are ample on the roadside (Arriva buses where you pay on entry) or the Drifter minivans for trips.
Overall impression: Extremely remote but very nice hotel but difficult to navigate-lots of lost people! The hotel is split into 3 towers. All of these can be walked between from the outside using lots of steps. If you want to stay inside you must always go to the 2nd floor, near reception and walk through from one building to the other before you take the lift to the required floor in the correct tower! Quite complicated!
Now for the bad review: We went knowing it was a timeshare presentation week (as did just about every other guest that was there as the hotel was practically deserted). The deal was 4 hours MAX for the speech. Having done one previously in USA we knew what to expect. We had the usual pleasant greeting with drinks and the "this is a no pressure" presentation speech. If you say "No" we will understand and thank you for your time and for listening! We started at 10am, making it very clear that we had a trip booked at 2.30 pm so had to leave at 2pm, which was the required 4 hours. We were treated to the reps' family lifestyle for an hour, with photos, smiles etc. I kept asking what the cost was but he refused to say, stating cost was irrelevant if we liked the product?? We were shown lots of facts and figures with photos of the Queen and celebs, which proved that the product is great! We will not go bankrupt etc (I am sure that is what Woolworths etc said!) nearly 4 hours later the rep was getting irritable as my husband understands all the finance and jargon and was proving points which did not go down well. We had said no several times by this point and still had not been told the cost! When the cost of £20,000 (£'s not euros) came out for one week in a studio (with a seaview as all our members get this!) we definitely said no. This was for 33 years but they would buy it back at the price we had paid (monthly installments) up to that point after 3 years if we wanted to sell, less their 15% commission, and this would definitely be sold within 12 weeks. We were unconvinced as 8% of their inventory was still for sale after nearly 10 years selling with no resales being done yet. The rep asked if we did not trust them to re-sell. We said no as so many people were stuck with timeshare after being promised similar things.Said we might be more interested/have more faith if re-sells were being done. He got annoyed. The top man was brought over who proceeded to go over the same stuff we had listened to for over 4 hours. We said no. He then produced an emergency re-sell (???!!!)for one week in a 1 bed unit with sea view for £12,500. We said No. The rep got quite uppity saying we said if they had a re-sell then we would buy. No!! The manager then offered us the "deal of a lifetime" with no risk to us at all. For £2950 we could have 2013 holiday with them in Malta, 2014 in tenerife/canary islands, 2015 anywhere in world. We said No as for that kind of money we could go to more exotic places and did not want to have a set sum of money to pay out month after month with nearly £500 on top per year for maintenance fees. We said we liked to save up what we want and when for where we want to go and not have years of paying a set amount for something we would be saddled with forever as we did not believe they would re-sell it (no-one can afford such sums). After nearly 6 hours (missed our trip and had to get a refund), being bored and boiled to death in a really hot stuffy room, having sales reps that got more irritated with every No and not taking No for an answer (which they said at the start would not be a problem!!), we were effectively told off by the rep (who was very young) when he said "You should not ask to go on any more presentations as you have no intention of buying. You will not find a better deal than this anywhere. You have wasted my time and I work on commission with a young family to support and have to buy calor gas canisters to heat my house at 18 euro which lasts 3 days." We were appalled by this attitude as we were invited on the presentation and did not ask to go; we said no so many times we lost count and we had our time wasted and our trip missed because they could not stick to the promised 4 hour presentation and basically held us to ransom by not allowing us to leave, as there was always the threat of having to pay £1000 for the week if we left before they allowed!
Not impressed and this was the only down side to what was otherwise a great week and lovely hotel.
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- Also Known As:
- Radisson Blu Resort And Spa, Malta Golden Bay
- Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Bay Hotel Mellieha
- Radisson Mellieha
- Mellieha Radisson
- Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands Mellieha