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The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux

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Travelers' Choice 2019 Winner
Certificate of Excellence
The Xara Palace Hotel is a unique 17th-century palace hidden away in the medieval fortified city of Mdina, the old capital of Malta. Perched on centuries-old bastions, surrounded by stunning baroque architecture, The Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux, with its luxurious accommodation and award-winning haute cuisine, is truly a haven in which to pause and be pampered. Meticulously and sensitively restored to reflect its former noble standing, the exclusive 5-Star boutique hotel boasts seventeen luxury rooms and suites enjoying stunning views, all individually and tastefully designed with antique furniture and paintings, luxurious Parisian fabrics and king size beds. Our promise to our guests centres on an impeccable attention to detail - from the décor to the serene, unhurried pace of life at The Xara Palace Hotel, through every facet of our service - all setting the scene for nothing less than an exquisitely unforgettable holiday in Malta.
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Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Bar/Lounge
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Banquet Room
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Hot Tub
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Multilingual Staff
Non-smoking hotel
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Please don’t expect this hotel to offer 5 star service or amenities. And please don’t expect to use the pool for relaxation and a dip from Monday to Wednesday when it’s open to the public - something the hotel don’t advertise. After 90 minutes we were driven away by at least 20 mothers with babies and toddlers who took over the entire pool with inflatables, squealing children, iPhones playing nursery rhymes, eating in the pool and general mayhem. Impossible to relax or swim. Incredibly annoying. We were checked in 15 minutes late and not offered a drink while we waited. To make matters worse we were told that the room wasn’t ready (at 3pm!) because some newly weds had used it the night before and had been allowed to “over sleep” (suspected euphemism). We really didn’t want to know what previous guests had been up to in the room nor to be inconvenienced because of them. We were given a bottle of Prosecco by way of apology but the point is that this shouldn’t have happened in a hotel claiming 5 stars. We wouldn’t recommend this place to friends or family.
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Hotel's Favorite
Poised close to the entrance of Mdina, the Xara Palace was always set to be a hallmark of excellence. With its coveted Relais & Châteaux listing, the Xara Palace has forged a niche of quality and tranquility that is rare in Malta. The height of the rooms has been used to a maximum to enable duplex rooms. There is comfort and there is silence befitting the Silent City of Mdina. The Xara Palace has lovely restaurant on the bastions of Mdina with external and internal areas. It also serves as the breakfast area. Indeed, sitting at the internal corner table is a treat of a view and of contemplation. The Xara Palace has put in a strong emphasis on the quality of their staff and their welcoming attitude is a notable difference to other establishments in the archipelago. This boutique hotel is also flanked by an easy going trattoria in the square with a very good selection of Italian fare. We recommend sitting in its lobby and enjoying a shaken Martini, one of the best made on the island, particularly in its grey goose variant. Bon séjour !
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Response from jeanpierrecassar, Guest Relations Manager at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux
Responded Jan 19, 2019
Good morning, May I thank you for taking the time to provide us with such detailed feedback following your recent stay at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux. As you might imagine, the feedback gained from our guests allows us to endeavour to strive for ways in which we continuously improve the service and experience offered. All guest comments are truly valuable to us, so that we deliver the experience we are known for. I was therefore delighted to read of the overall positive feedback you have been providing, especially concerning our staff and I will ensure that your comments will be shared with the necessary teams, who I am certain, will be pleased to read of your appreciation. Once again I thank you for your kind time and attention. I remain at your complete disposal for any further assistance or information you might require. In the meantime we sincerely look forward in having the pleasure of welcoming you once again at The Xara palace Relais & Chateaux some time in the near future. Kind regards John Abela Assistant Front Office Manager
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The first problem occurred on checking in when we were told to wait as the room was not ready. On being taken up to the room we were told that they had let a newly married couple stay late in the room. This felt uncomfortable and the implication was that somehow this couple were prioritised over us (a same sex couple). The pool is a disaster. I love to swim and relax reading by the pool. We went down to the pool in the car that takes guests to find that on Mondays to Wednesdays the pool is for locals. There were about thirty mums with small babies. They were screaming and loud music (tinny nursery rhymes) was being played to keep the babies entertained. The mums were feeding children in the pool so tusks were floating on the water. As a hotel guest you feel very unwelcome - as if you are in “their” space. I feel pretty upset as there is nowhere to relax or swim. A five star hotel should not treat guests like this.
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To start with the positive side: the Xara Palace is a beautiful building in the wonderful former capital Mdina. The staff is very friendly and helps to the extent possible. However, one should be aware that the swimming pool is outside Mdina. The hotel kindly offers to transfer guests to the pool with a hotel car (cars are luckily not allowed to enter Mdina unless they have a resident permit). But there are two issues that can severely undermine the pleasures one would expect from a pool at a 5-star hotel: (1) Monday-Wednesday the hotel management opens the pool to the public and on one day we were de facto prevented from using the pool, which was already crowded with 20 children (mostly standing in the middle of the pool) who were not guests of the hotel; (2) opening hours of the pool are subject to sudden changes (it happened to us that we were prohibited to use the pool at 4 pm even though we had been told the day before that it would be open until 5 pm (even opening hours from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm can hardly be considered as excessively long - particularly for a 5-star hotel). The rooms differ in terms of size and location, but all of them are equipped with more or less antique furniture. We stayed for three nights in room 11, which is really beautiful because of its panoramic view and light from two sides. However, there was a theatre performance every evening right in front of the hotel on public land (therefore beyond the control of the hotel) lasting from 9:00 pm to 11.50 pm. As this prevented us and particularly our 9-year old daughter from sleeping before midnight for three days in a row, the hotel was kind enough to transfer us to room 1 (apparently also called Presidential Suite). We were happy that we were not any longer exposed to the noise of the theatre. However, we found the overall atmosphere in this room rather stuffy, as a result of the sparse light entering into this big room and the heavy and dark furniture. As I have only seen rooms 11 and 1, I cannot make a general statement, but in these two rooms the standard of the bathrooms was on the level of the 1980s. In particular, one can only take a shower in the bathtub (which is excusable), but the shower head is fixed in a way (too low) that does not allow a person a little bit taller than average to take a decent shower. I would definitely consider this as inconsistent with the minimum standard of a 5-star hotel and see an urgent investment need in this respect While this is not supposed to be a restaurant review, I would like to note that we tested both restaurants in the hotel: we found the Trattoria to be fairly priced and generally with good quality dishes. We were somewhat disappointed by the upscale de Mondion restaurant though: this restaurant is beautifully located on top of the castle wall and the outside terrace benefits not on,y from beautiful panoramic views, but also from a slight summer breeze (as the terrace is open from two sides). So this is a very romantic and pleasant location. However, in a tasting menu for 90 euro I would expect (at least a bit) more creativity. May be this was not the chef’s best day or the chef had his day off, but based on the (admittedly small) sample of one evening there is no risk that this restaurant may receive a Michelin star any time soon. Overall, I would recommend this hotel to aficionados of historical sites, who do not give too much importance to the regular and easy access to a swimming pool.
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This was my third visit to Xara Palace and unfortunately we were disappointed. We were travelling as a group for my parents 70th birthday 's which we booked five rooms for two nights. Even though the hotel were aware of the reason of our stay and our return to the hotel for the third time no recognition was given. Even when I asked for a small cake to be arranged after dinner at the hotels restaurant, it wasn't delivered. Service was inconsistent. One day turn down service and one day not. When I told the hotel manager the excuse given was we had put do not disturb on two rooms....which we had not. Two of the most expensive rooms we booked were on the top floor with a "private" porch. However we were woken at midnight by some extremely drunk guests sitting on the porch smoking. The worst part was that the hotel was serving them drinks literally at our front door!! I confronted them but they wouldn't move. I called the duty manager who finally arranged for them to move. The next day the hotel gardeners were using the porch to have a cigarette! These rooms are not at all private as you literally look straight onto the restaurant and they serve food and drinks after midnight so it is quite noisy. Breakfast was lovely but service very average. Only 3 tables with guests when we were there but they still ran out of glasses. All of these issues were given to hotel and not one offer of any compensation or assistance. Considering the cost of this hotel there are so many better alternatives that offer better value and a better experience. On a positive note the duplex suite was huge and spacious but the view is not of the street as advertised. It is of the wall. The staff at reception were so helpful and accommodating and the pool which is in another property owned by the hotel is wonderful.
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PRICE RANGE
$189 - $536 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
the xara palace relais & chateaux hotel mdina, the xara palace relais and chateaux
LOCATION
MaltaIsland of MaltaMdina
NUMBER OF ROOMS
17
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