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Review of Fortina Spa Resort

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Fortina Spa Resort
Ranked #10 of 28 Hotels in Sliema
Reviewed April 7, 2014

Quite a change with Freddy and team having left to be replaced by PJ and others. However, a long requested 'owners' newsletter appears to be in the pipeline. Oh, for some basic UK TV channels.

Il Giardino has just been franchised. So, need to wait and see how it turns out. Disappointingly, the snackier items such as bruschetta and garlic bread are no longer on the menu meaning there is nowhere now for a light lunch. In all restaurants there are now many items that attract a surcharge even when going 'all inclusive'. And, excepting Taste, all restaurants now require bookings for lunch. We missed the old laisez faire of turning up according to what took our fancy and at whatever time we got back from any excursions etc. With this freedom lost, we're now thinking half-board for future visits.

The hotel arranged taxi service gets worse (was that possible?). Darren is regularly late and then drives like a ******* maniac, one handed whilst texting or reading his pick up notes, swapping in and out of lanes every few yards. This time he failed to pick us up at the airport as prearranged and prepaid. One of our suitcases was a few minutes late onto the carousel and by the time we had collected it, he'd left. After a half hour wait to find out what was happening, we had to make our own way to the hotel; fortunately very easy with the excellent taxi service available at the airport. Darren's attitude was that it was our fault being late and he wouldn't refund the money. It took quite an angry PJ to sort this out. (Refreshingly for us) he didn't speak once when returning us at the end of the holiday. He just drove worse than ever. Time for the hotel to get in a new taxi company / driver and put Darren on a proverbial bike. He is doing the Spa and its customers no favours. Had this been in England, I would have complained to the licencing authority.

For those who visit Ali's shop. We bought 2 of his very colourful Turkish lamps last Christmas. He shipped them to us and all arrived in perfect condition. We were able to tell him that the same lamps had been on a specialist stand at the Ideal Home Show which we visited at the end of March.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Roy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2014

Dear Roy D,

Thank you for posting your review on this website. Please be assured that your comments have been sent to top Management for the appropriate action to be taken.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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511 - 517 of 1,396 reviews

Reviewed April 7, 2014

We were seriously misled when booking this hotel. It is neither 5 star nor a "Resort". Not by a long chalk. "5 star" implies a level of luxury. "Resort" implies a self contained complex with all the amenities and facilities that holidaymakers could need. This has no car park, no shop, no useable outdoor pools while we were there, one small communal area, one bar open where service was abysmal, the occasional evening entertainment was a solitary pianist, and definitely no luxury. (unless you count a huge jaccuzi or an exercise bike in your room as luxury, I certainly don't) It was marketed as adult only yet there were several families with children staying there.
All this was obvious the moment we arrived. The main revolving door opens directly on to a busy main road. (well it would if it was not broken). I had to unload my hire car 50 metres away, and leave my wife to complete check-in while I tried to find a parking place. The hotel staff attitude seemed to be "your car is your problem". On road parking was impossible. Behind the hotel was a shopping mall (quite good but not Meadowhall) with a deep Stygian subterranean car park. €25 for 7 days multiple entries. I had to find all this out for myself. This information was available in the literature in the room which of course was after the event.
The room was small and dark. The balcony was in perpetual shadow. The "Tropical Gardens" and outdoor pool we overlooked were at the bottom of a deep narrow ravine between two accomodation blocks, also in perpetual shadow while we were there. We asked for another room and were shown one also overlooking the ravine for an extra €40 per night but this had a huge jaccuzi actually in the bedroom. Who would want sleep in that atmosphere? In fact these silly extras (some rooms had exercise machines in them) seemed to be the basis for the claimed 5 star rating.
There were 6 restaurants, of which we tried 4, before we found one that was acceptable, only just, "The Taste". Even there we had to ask for the shards of broken glass under our table to be swept up. Also at The taste I was served a rolled roast rabbit still in its plastic wrapping. We enjoyed the fish and the sirloin steak. The buffet breakfast was taken in The Taste and was very good, with a chef on hand to provide fresh omellettes and fried eggs. Of the others I suppose expecting a Thai restaurant, The Cann Thai, in a Maltese hotel to provide an authentic Chinese meal is a bit optimistic. However as Malta is not too far removed from Italy I had expected better from the Italian restaurant Gardino's.
Around both outdoor pools there was construction work in progress with lots if grinding, drilling and dust. The sunbeds and tables were always dusty. After 4 days the pool and sundeck by the harbour were both closed. The pool in the Tropical Garden ravine was too dark and dingy for any swimmers or sunbathers. There was a heated indoor pool in the Spa.
Our return flight was after midnight so I asked for a room extension for 12 hours until 11 pm. The Receptionist demanded a full daily payment of 130 Euros even though the occupancy rate was obviously less than 25%. (The lady I sat next to on the return flight had made the same request in her hotel and been charged 16 Euros.) That Receptionist, as with most of the other staff, left me in no doubt that he was doing me a favour. Generally the staff were polite and cheerful but so laid back and did not seem to care about the customer. There was a Public Holiday while we were there called Freedom Day. We thought it might have been to remember the end of WW2. No, it was to celebrate the departure of the British when they gave Malta independence.
This is a good hotel to use as a base to explore the rest of Malta. It is not a place in which you can laze around and be pampered. Also beware it is joined to the Fortina Hotel (as opposed to the Fortina Spa Hotel) where standards and prices are different but facilities, such as they are, are shared. I wonder if one was spawned by the other by the addition of a few jaccuzis and exercise machines.

Room Tip: If you want 5 star accomodation find another hotel.
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Stefan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2014

Dear Stefan W,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review on this website. We are disappointed to hear that your stay with us did not match your expectations. We would like to apologise for the inconveniences caused.

Kindly note that a car park is situated adjacent to the hotel - as mentioned in your review, the information is available in the room. There is an un/loading bay outside the entrance to the resort for our guests who arrive by car to make use of.

Please be advised that the outdoor pools open on the 1st May. This information is available on all the resort's literature. We apologise that the works were a nuisance to you, however, since the pools are not open before the 1st May, works are carried out before this date.

Please be assured that your comments regarding the restaurants have been passed onto all the management of each respective restaurant and also to the Executive Chef.

We are disappointed to hear that you did not find our guest rooms, namely the Spa Bedrooms to be luxurious. This is not a common opinion of our many repeat clients.

Regarding keeping your room, we can assure you that the resort is never close to 25% occupancy. It is normal to charge the full rate if the room is to be kept for an additional 12 hours after check-out. As you will appreciate, the room will not be able to be used again for arriving guests since check-in time is 2pm. The lady who paid €16 would have kept the room for a couple of hours and not 12 full hours, thus, allowing us to allocate the room to late arrivals. This is common practice in hotels all around the world.

We apologise once again for the inconveniences caused during your stay with us.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

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Reviewed April 5, 2014

We have a large garden room which is attractive with two huge beds , sofa and coffee table, and every facility. Also a little balcony with table and chairs and the said garden view. This would be perfect if it weren't for the builders at work in the garden area, which rather spoils sitting in the garden as well. You wonder why the work isn't done in the winter.

Then there are the saggy pillows, which I wouldn't put in the dog's bed, never mind a 4 star hotel. Such a cheap thing to replace , too!

So pretty good, but management are definitely not keeping their eye on the ball.

  • Stayed: April 2014
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2  Thank HydraWatford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2014

Dear HydraWatford,

Thank you for your posting. Please be assured that your comments have been well noted and passed onto all those concerned for the appropriate action to be taken.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2014

My wife has been going to Malta every year for the past ten years (11 including this visit) I have been going each year for the past three years. since last year, the cut-backs that have been made to the Hotel, both in terms of staffing numbers and expenditure on keeping the hotel in a state, worthy of being called a 4/5 start hotel resort, has declined a great deal. Both I and my wife were that disappointed, I actual made a video documentary of the state of our rooms. When we arrived on the 2nd of March 2014 at 21.15pm, We were allocated a room on the 2nd floor level of the 4 star hotel. We were booked in for a 3 week stay at the Fortina Hotel. The first room they gave us, was a garden view room, which we asked for. The problem was the re-construction building work, that was being done on what used to be one of their bars. it was being turned into 2 or 3 accommodation rooms as we were told by one of their members of staff. the 1st morning we were woken up at 07.10am on Monday the 3rd of March. by the sound and vibrations of a jack-hammer, the very same thing happened again the next morning at 07.20am. We then went to reception, to ask if we could be moved to another room. The receptionist at that time, said that management were going to ask the builders to start later in the morning, but we said that still wouldn't be suitable, because the work was going on throughout the day. We also mentioned that the bathroom didn't look as though it had been cleaned properly. They moved us to room 824 on the 8th floor of the 4 star hotel, again, with a garden view. We found that there was dust everywhere, the bathroom had not been cleaned properly in that room either. the rest of our stay was spoiled by poor cleaning. bed linen not being changed every two days (which we were told was hotel policy) on top of those points, we then had no hot or cold running water on the mornings of the 10th & 11th of March. so we could not shower or wash before we went down for breakfast. We had continuous problems with the lifts in both 4 and 5 star parts of the hotel. We had to make more complaints on our stay at the Fortina on this holiday, than on our previous visits. With regard to the Hotel live entertainment on a Thursday - Friday - Saturday- and Sunday nights. that leaves a great deal to be said for. Their so called Top Artist for the Saturday nights is a fellow called Benny. We were told that the only reason he gets the Saturday spot each week, is because he is friendly with one of the owners! He is awful. Please do not get me wrong on this point, I love the Maltese people, they are so friendly and helpful, and the Hotel staff in general (Maltese) are fantastic, but they can't be blamed for the cut-backs and the lack of investment in keeping this once great resort hotel, up to the standard it once was. We visited other hotels along the Strand in Sliema. Their staff talked to us, and they had told by many other people, that the Fortina had gone down hill for many reasons. I was born in Malta in Imtarfa, in 1955. and I love Malta and its people, but the Fortina hotel really needs to up its game a lot, if it is to regain the name it once had. I have sent a copy of the DVD report and photos of the state of the cleanliness of our room, to both the Owners/Management of the Fortina Hotel, and to the Maltese Tourist Board, so they can see for themselves, what we had to put up with.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2014

Dear Paul W,

Thank you for your posting. We are disappointed to hear that your stay with us did not match your expectations and we would like to apologise the for inconveniences caused. Please be assured that your comments have been well-noted and passed onto Management for the appropriate action to be taken.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

If you want to avoid road noise, make sure you are not in the five star tower with a sea view in rooms with a higher number eg floor 3 rooms 37 to 34/33. These rooms are above a busy underpass.
the hotel is decent value and the restaurants we used on five star half board were good. The spa is reasonably priced and you may get complimentary sessions in the salt pool with a package.
I agree reception were hit and miss. Our room was changed without asking and although we coped we were above the busy underpass. The welcome was brisk, I didn't catch all that was said and others were given little or no information.
Room slightly worn in places and no luxurious touches eg toiletries nothing special, powdered milk, loo flush askew.
This place is fine and food good but just not quite hitting the mark. If you come with realistic expectations you will fund it decent enough.

  • Stayed: March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Andy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2014

Dear Andy C,

Thank you for your posting. We are disappointed to hear that your stay with us did not match your expectations. Please be assured that your comments have been well-noted and passed onto the appropriate personnel for the appropriate action to be taken.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2014

A tiny number of reviews of this place were terrible but do not in any way reflect our experience.
We booked with an RCI points exchange and were prepared for the worst as some RCI places are dire but not so here.
We booked our own flights and traveled on the X2 bus from the airport. This was something of an education as despite it being a dedicated airport service there were no luggage racks and no route indicators to tell you where you are unlike the normal Arriva blue buses (or ex-Arriva as it turned out) that do have route info scrolling throughout the journey.
Fortunately 2 ladies told us the stop for the Fortina in Sliema and it is only about 200 yards down the road from the door.
The check-in was efficient and friendly although local information needs to be asked for rather than it being volunteered straightaway.
Breakfast was included in the deal as was a free harbour cruise with Captain Morgan and a thelasso(?) pool treatment.
Our room was on 10th floor with fab views over the harbour. We were right above the underpass tunnel mouth so it could be quite noisy but with the sliding door closed at night, not a problem at all. Alas in early March we didn't get much sun on the balcony but there are 2 loungers provided which must be great in the summer months.
Breakfast was excellent with the usual DIY cooked fare or Continental if that is your preference.
Coffee not the best and the tea sometimes tasted of chlorine but maybe all Maltese water is desalinated? Chefs will cook your eggs anyway you want whilst you wait or prepare you an omelette and everything was delicious. The route to The Taste restaurant is strange - you have to go through the lounge bar on 1st floor and outside for a few paces through the courtyard garden (which is very attractively laid out) and you will get wet if its raining.

The lifts were reliable and we seldom had to wait more than 30 seconds.

Our room was huge with a huge en suite bathroom. All the provided smellies were fine and the maids kept everything clean and tidy every day. There is no carpeting on the wood floors, so if there is a selfish person in the room above clip-clopping about in heels you will know it - as indeed we found out the hard way.

The spa seemd fine to me, although I'm not a fan of such things so wouldn't really know a bad one. I did have a hot stone massage and was very impressed with the whole thing - super relaxing.
TIP: fill up with water from the water cooler in the spa as it tastes so much better than the stuff out of the taps.
Although the tea tray in the room was well-provisioned, the water was horrible and we couldn't get the real milk pods replenished - they only seemed to have powdered whitener. A bit of a let down for a 5* establishment.
We didn't eat any other meals in the on-site restaurants as we like to try local places for variety. There are several decent places in Sliema or you can get a bus to Spinola, St Julians or further afield.
There is a short Ferry to The Point in Valletta but in the winter this stops running at about 18:00 so you will need to bus back if you want to spend the evening over the water.
The buses are great when you get the hang of them. There is a daily fare of €1.50 so keep your ticket or get a 7-Day pass for €6.50 if you plan to travel every day.
Some buses were rammed in the peak hours but others outside of the Valletta conurabation were emptier. In the summer months it is a different story as buses that are full wont stop so you might have to wait a very long time to get back on say the route from the Gozo Ferry port or one of the beach resorts. We didn't hire a car as parking might be a problem in bustling Sliema and the railway closed in the 1930s! Neither did we need to use a taxi but there is a rank right outside the hotel.
Personally I love the old colonial feel of the area with its rich military history, old fortifications and the old apartment buildings with the square balconies jutting over the narrow streets

The free wi-fi in our room worked well and we were able to plan our days and buses etc very easily on our tablets. How did we cope without them in years gone by?!
If you want to phone home to a landline it is much cheaper on the room telephone than on your mobile too which is a nice touch.

Room Tip: We were Room 1036. Ask for a lower number - say 1034/3 to get a balcony with more exposure to after...
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank alfamanLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear alfamanLondon,

Thank you for your posting. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and in Malta. We would like to inform you that, in Malta, tap water is not recommended for drinking.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2014

Stayed here a couple of weeks ago with my husband and another couple. We had booked sea view rooms and asked for higher floors as advised by previous posters, We had 6th floor rooms almost next door to each other with the most wonderful view of Valetta across the harbour. Our twin room was quite adequate and bathroom also of sufficient size and clean. We had no balcony but our friends did, they also had a double bed each! So it seems to be pot luck. Food was of a good standard, plenty of choice both at breakfast and the La Valette buffet in the evening with vegetarians well catered for. We ate a Table 1 on one night for a change, again food (and service this time) was of good standard. I did not use the pool but my friend did and said the ladies changing rooms were in a poor state and roof leaking, later in the week on another rainy day they had been closed, presumably flooding so never did get to see how bad they were. Apart from this, the hotel is of a good standard and handy for buses to Valetta and elsewhere, the ferry is also less than 10 mins walk away.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Rottieken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFortina, Guest Relations Manager at Fortina Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear Rotteiken,

Thank you for your posting. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please note that your comments have been passed onto all those concerned for the appropriate action to be taken.

We hope to see you again in the near future.

Kind regards,
Fortina Spa Resort team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fortina Spa Resort

Address: Tigne Seafront, Sliema, Island of Malta SLM 3012, Malta
Location: Malta > Island of Malta > Sliema
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Sliema
#5 Romantic Hotel in Sliema
#5 Spa Hotel in Sliema
#6 Luxury Hotel in Sliema
Price Range: $166 - $1,172 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Fortina Spa Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 220
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in central Sliema, adjoining Malta’s trendiest shopping complex (The Point) offering the largest choice of fashion & designer outlets, the Fortina Spa Resort is Malta’s newest 17 storey 5 star hotel. The resort faces south with magnificent views of Valletta’s bastion walls across the water and is home to the World’s 1st Therapeutic Spa bedrooms. It is the ideal hotel to indulge in a numerous variety of Spa treatments, excellent cuisines from around the world and one of the best locations on the island. Restaurants :- Taste Restaurant (Vietnamese & Mediterranean Cuisine)CanThai (Chinese & Thai Cuisine)Momo’s Ristorante Tigne (Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine)Il Giardino PizzeriaSaReGaMa (Authentic Indian Cuisine)Moroboshi (Japanese Cuisine)Bars Limes Bar (indoor)Island Bar (outdoors – weather permitting)Swimming Pools :-Outdoor Garden Pool and separate Splash Pool2 Indoor Swimming PoolsSpa Centres(see descriptions below)Thalasso Spa MediterraneeSpa Sante Belle Epoque Beauty CentreHypogeum Body, Mind & Spirit CentreOther facilities Conference facilities Fully Equipped Fitness Centre 24 hour room serviceAdded Value For All Our Guests :-Cruise of Malta’s Historical Grand HarbourUnlimited access to Fortina Fitness Centre ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fortina Hotel Sliema
Fortina Hotel Malta
Fortina Resort
Hotel Fortina
Fortina Spa Resort Malta/Sliema

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