My wife and I went back for a short stay to relax after a busy spring. Malta in spring is much like England in summer, except that the temperature drop at night was only a few degrees; wind permitting, short sleeves are quite reasonable, while the sun lacks its midsummer ferocity and the mosquitoes don’t seem to be about yet. In short, there’s nothing significant wrong, and so much that’s just right!
The service at the Phoenicia remains as good as on our previous visit; there are a few new hands, who are still learning the art to the high standard the place sets, especially so early in the season. The breakfasts remain excellent, while the restaurant menu seemed to vary somewhat in its creativity, though everything we sampled remained of very good quality – missing a course is missing a treat, so bring an appetite each evening! However, it is worth noting that with simple choices the a la carte menu can work out slightly cheaper than the table d’hote, even over three courses.
The hotel restaurant also faces increasing competition; there are more restaurants to be found in Valletta, and the best of these are very good, though the hotel restaurant offers comparable value, so prospecting of an evening can be rewarding indeed, though there is no need to go out if you don’t feel like it.
The Phoenicia is a grand old lady among hotels, which is to say that it has just enough dignity to feel special without being stuffy. The bathroom fittings are veterans, but they work just fine – the shower in our room was a bathtap mixer, which would normally fill me with foreboding, but proved surprisingly easy to balance and commendably vigorous. It may not be all gleaming chrome and glass, but it does all work as you’d hope (and we greatly prefer this approach to rooms with modern showers, peculiar taps and no bathtub!).
The gardens leading down to the pool are still lovely, and evidently well-cared for with some replanting going on.
Note: the free wifi is described as being only in the lounge, but was also accessible in our room – a very welcome development which shows how seriously the quality of service is taken here – certain other hotels feel free to take note – charging for wifi is definitely out!
The afternoon tea we had was good, but the pattisserie was distinctly varied; the scones were okay, the apricot frangipane was phenomenal, but several of the other items were a bit dry, bland, or both. A little excess of experimentation, perhaps?
Unless I’m mistaken, the pool snack bar menu has shrunk; they no longer seem to do pizzas, but what they do remains good (the tuna ftira was excellent), and entirely adequate between the substantial delights of the breakfast and evening selections (and if you can get an excess of any cuisine in Malta, it’s pizza, so we missed it only because it used to be so good!). Also note that, while the pool bar does a fine range of non-alcoholic drinks and smoothies, even the “mocktails” are noticeably and surprisingly absent from the main hotel bar menu. That said, when my wife requested something of the kind, she was given an impressive fruit juice cocktail, with garnish - Carmen Miranda in a glass!
This exemplifies the helpful service, as does the seamless organisation of transfers and activities which the concierge was kind enough to coordinate for us before we even arrived. It is this combination of service, food and civilisation which makes a stay at the Phoenicia relaxing and unforgettable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 5 star luxury in Malta’s historic Art Deco hotel. Hotel Phoenicia, one of the leading 5 star hotels in Malta, is located at the City Gates of Valletta, Malta’s capital city and UNESCO heritage city. Just 50 meters from city gate, it is perfectly placed for discovering the historic walled city, feasting on Caravaggio’s paintings and exploring the magnificent harbours. The hotel also boast magnificent 7 acre garden. The island's central bus terminus is just meters away civing the possibility to explore the whole island by bus. A stay at the Hotel Phoenicia is an unforgettable experience. Our charming staff will ensure your every whim is catered for. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Phoenicia Hotel Valletta
- Phoenicia Hotel Malta
- Hotel Phoenicia Malta/Valletta