We stayed in this hotel during a trip to both islands (Malta and Gozo). We stayed here for 7 nights, having checked in on 9th October and out on 16th October 2012 and travelled as a couple. It could be noted that when we were picking this holiday we found it difficult to come up with good hotels on either of the islands – accommodation seems to be dated and a bit substandard in general. The Kempinski seemed to be the best option on Gozo and so we went for it. Unfortunately we had previously stayed 3 nights at the Hilton, Malta and I think it outshone the Kempinski in Gozo which has maybe clouded our opinion slightly. Overall, we did have a good experience here but it was by no means very exceptional.
We arrived on quite a late ferry and found a taxi straight outside the door – it only took 20 minutes to reach the hotel. Check-in was very efficient and friendly. Reception staff were absolutely brilliant throughout the stay and I would have to highly praise their service. Anytime we had a question or query they helped us without hesitation. That was certainly special and one aspect of our stay that could not be faulted. In fact – all staff we had the pleasure of dealing with throughout our stay were friendly, accommodating, professional and more than willing to help in any way that they could. The hotel has a great ‘feel’ to it. We felt like we were staying in a Castle, in the middle of nowhere which we quite liked. On a more negative note (and perhaps slightly contrary) it was also lacking in atmosphere. During our stay the place seemed to be very quiet and we didn’t bump into too many people. On one occasion we were the only customers’ having dinner in the bar and on another occasion we called into the wine bar and felt a little awkward at being the only two customers’ in there. This hotel is a true escape. We could advocate it for those who want a temporary exodus from real life.
This stay was expensive and we were disappointed with our room. It had a stale smell and seemed a bit damp and musty – it certainly seemed like the upholstery on the chair and the heavy curtains may well need laundered. The walls, which are beautiful exposed limestone, were badly marked and looked like they needed a good clean. Our beds were two singles pushed together and one of the beds was either broken or the springs had gone in it. We actually ought to have reported it but didn’t get around to it. The bathroom was also very dated and just needs an upgrade and the toiletries were not very luxurious. To be a bit more positive there was an iron in the room, the storage was excellent, there was both a shower and a bath, the room was kept spotlessly clean throughout our stay and we had an absolutely lovely balcony view over the family pool and the greater Gozo countryside. There were tea and coffee making facilities which is always appreciated but we were also disappointed with the options on the tray – there were no fruit teas, or decaffeinated coffee options. Another of our main issues was privacy – we don’t know if it just so happened to be our luck but if we didn’t have the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door it seemed we could not manage to be in the room for more than 10 minutes without being disturbed. We found this very frustrating throughout our stay and it genuinely happened most times we were in the room. In the end we had our ‘do not disturb’ sign up virtually 24/7.
We have more mixed opinions about breakfast. The outside terrace was stunning and we enjoyed breakfast out here on most mornings. Staff, as mentioned above, were absolutely superb. However, we didn’t feel choice was fantastic compared to other places we have stayed. The breakfast we experienced at the Hilton, Malta was superb and unfortunately we were a bit disappointed when we got to the Kempinski. A few main gripes were the flies which were buzzing everywhere – all over the bread and cakes and the jams. The jams were in one jar, all completely uncovered and I was worried about the possibility of getting sick. There were also salads sitting on a bench top, unrefrigerated. It really didn’t impress. A positive point was the chef who could prepare fresh omelettes and we partook of this option on several occasions.
The pool area appeared to be beautiful but on closer inspection pools were dirty and full of grime and not once did we see maintenance staff inspecting the water quality or safety. Needless to say we didn’t risk a swim, which was disappointing for us. We mainly sunbathed by the family pool and had it completely to ourselves for the duration of our time there. That did feel quite special and luxurious. However, the Gazebo restaurant, which was closet to us from there didn’t serve drinks for the poolside. This was frustrating. When we wanted a drink, my husband had to get dressed and walk to the pool bar at the adult pool, which quite often wasn’t manned. Little things like this soon stack up. Additionally, our time by the pool was continually disturbed by flies. On a positive, the small gardens are quite pretty and a nice area to have a stroll through every so often.
We ate in the Gazebo restaurant on two occasions, in the bar area on one occasion, in the pizzeria once and we also had room service once. The pizzeria has a beautiful terrace to sit on, with a very romantic atmosphere. It was too cold to sit outside at the bar on the particular evening we dined there, and we had to sit inside but it definitely lacked atmosphere. The gazebo restaurant was a nice place to relax during the day but there is a huge problem with flies. Service was always good and the food was good too but the prices in the hotel are simply far too expensive. The best value to be had was probably the burger in the Gazebo restaurant and the pizza in La Trattoria (both of which were delicious).
Unfortunately I was sick during my stay here. I don’t know if it was something I ate or perhaps the mosquito bites I experienced. We found the flies and mosquitoes in and around the hotel difficult to deal with. Each of us were bitten around 20 times and suspect this is how I became so ill. We were not able to enjoy the view from the balcony during sunset as we were getting bitten so frequently. Toward the end of the stay we didn’t risk sitting out at all. There were also mosquitoes in the room which we couldn’t track down so we got bit overnight, every single night. Unfortunately we didn’t experience the spa at all – we had planned to visit on the last couple of days of our stay but that is when I was very unwell.
We were able to organise a late check-out with the hotel to catch a late flight home. They were more than accommodating and we were very appreciative as I was still quite unwell at that time. The hotel also organised a reasonably priced taxi to take us back to the ferry and the company they used (Frank’s garage) managed to have a taxi waiting at the Malta terminal to transport us directly and swiftly to the airport. That particular service was first-rate.
Weather during our stay was rather hit and miss – and just something to watch out for if you are considering a stay on Gozo in October. We had two rather impressive storms and a few cloudy days.
There are lizards absolutely everywhere. We didn’t mind it at all but if you don’t like them you might not feel comfortable here.
We had great service from the car rental firm located in the foyer of the hotel – it was completely hassle free car hire, so we can recommend.
The hotel offers plenty for guests to do – including walking tours and jeep tours and art classes. We partook of the local food and wine tour which again, we can highly recommend.
The free hotel shuttle bus is a great bonus and we used the service a couple of times.
There is a supermarket nearby – the staff can direct you to it.
We just felt the area was a little too quiet and isolated for us. We do like a reasonably quiet holiday - but we like to walk to different restaurants in the evening but there weren’t many options here without having to book in advance and take a taxi ride.
The island is very easy to get around by hire car. We had plenty to see and do during the day.
Don’t miss either the local Crafts village or Dwerja. We saw most of what the island had to offer and really enjoyed these two gems, right on the door step of the hotel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.