Just returned from a 5 night stay at the intercontinental Malta from 8 to 13 June. In this review I will cover, location, best rooms, housekeeping, staff, catering and facilities.
The purpose of the trip was to gather up my family in one place for a chilled few days . I have 4 children aged 19 to24 and also took my mother. We booked 3 rooms. I chose St Julian's as the area as it looked suitably distant from the main city of Valletta and had a cluster of 5 star hotels in the vicinity which I interpreted as meaning it would be a classy area. I am usually meticulous in my research but clearly chose not to notice or heed some of the reviews which warned of the locality.
We arrived at 1am on Sunday morning and having been unceremoniously dumped by the transfer coach up the road from the hotel, alighted to a rowdy crowd hanging outside one of the many tacky bars in the vicinity. The Intercontinental entrance itself was unimpressive and not in keeping with most 5 star hotel entrances. e thought it might have been the back entrance at first. No wow factor at all. Facing the hotel was an enormous billboard for the local Cisk beer, which got the thumbs up from my 3 sons, one of whom works in the industry, but not what you want to see from your hotel. Also facing the hotel was a McDonalds and large billboard for the BigMac.
Our check in was slow and having rung ahead the day before to let them know of our late arrival we were hoping not to get the dregs. We were situated on the 10th floor,rooms 1033,1035 and1037.we had booked 3 twins but were given 2 twins and a double. As a result to meet everyone's needs we had to request a third bed for one of the twins. We looked out of the balcony and realised we had been situated at the back of the hotel facing a noisy and ugly back lane with a building under construction opposite and a block of offices which would overlooked the dirty balcony during the day. Having said all that the rooms were beautifully furnished and the soft furnishings were very much to my taste. With the curtains closed i would have remained happy for the night. The twin rooms had two very comfortable queen sized beds..
In the morning I explained we were on holiday and not business and asked if we could have at least 1 room changed to a better view and usable balcony. Brenda on reception was very gracious and helped us. Although she could no situate us together, she found 2 rooms 917 and 806, both of which had very pleasant outlooks. 917 had the biggest balcony of any of the deluxe rooms and overlooked the garden area and got sun in the afternoon. The decor was beautiful with bed headboards with tropical material backing. There were works being carried out on the floor below but this was not an issue throughout the stay. Room 806 was handy for the lifts and overlooked the fountain in the garden. It got morning sun and was tucked away in a quiet location. The boys remained as a triple in room1037.
for the boys, issues with the rooms included noisy works being carried out above level 10 from as early as 7am. When my eldest son complained, he was told by reception that the works were being carried out in the building opposite and not in the hotel. This was contradicted later in the day when a member of staff came to the room to apologise for the works in the hotel and said they would be finished by10pm. They were compensated with a bottle of sparkling wine which was a reasonable gesture although they would have probably met the Cisk beer with greater enthusiasm!. At 7am the next morning, the works commenced again. We checked out
later in the day so didn't bother to raise the issue again but at check out another member of staff approached us to say that the noise definitely wasn't coming from the hotel. The boys are adamant that it was.
Although the other rooms were in better locations, the housekeeping varied in consistency. After the first day, we returned to our room which had clearly been cleaned but a damp towel and dressing gown lay abandoned on one of the beds and a dirty coffee cup lay on its tray, without the coffee used being replaced. The bath had not been cleaned either.. My mother in room 917 had also had no coffee replaced and as we both drink decaf, at the end of our meal out, I went to reception to request some decaf sachets so we could have a final coffee on one of our balconies. Malcolm at reception,apologised for the oversight and offered us a free nightcap in ten Easterrn Breeze bar which we accepted. In the meantime, he had new sachets delivered. .Each day something was missing and it became a bit of a joke but there was nothing that significantly affected our stay. The cleaners were all friendly and said hello in the corridors.
The eating areas we sampled were mainly for the buffet breakfast. This was much like any buffet breakfast area with self service. Good range of continental and cooked foods and a separate egg servery. My only criticism is that the staff tended to leave cleaning products and cloths in sight of the diners which was just a personal criticism in terms of 5 star dining that i would prefer not to see. Some customers were also to be criticised for touching food and plates and then putting them back! I could forgive children but not grown adults who should know better. Otherwise good breakfasts set up for the day.
The pool area is very pleasant. It was quite windy but hot whilst we were there, so for windy days I can recommend the area down the steps away from the pool if you are not supervising little ones. Here, there is less noise of traffic from the road and the area is more sheltered from the wind. Pool guys come round to put up the heavy parasols and to take drink orders. The view is nothing spectacular. The area has a lot of building works around it so there ar 2 big cranes overlooking the hotel. My son said It was reminiscent of Diggerland but I managed to structure photos to cut them out of the landscape. The hotel look is reminiscent of a cruise ship with the stacking and design of balconies. I don't know if this is intentional. Bid dated, but not unpleasant. The pool bar staff are very attentive and friendly. Austen was particularly engaging with a good sense of humour. We had a snack at the Narci pool restaurant most days. Be warned portions are quite big. Only complaint about the pool was the number of wet tissues lying around which was unhygienic. I suspect the wind contributed to the unexpected debris.. We also experienced the Paranga bar by the private hotel beach. The beach area was very crowded and as long as you look out to sea the view is ok but the backdrop sucks.
The Paranga bar was not quite as smart as it looked in the hotel photos but gave an air of glamour with big white sofas and did the trick for sundowner cocktails.
We took a couple of trips out which the concierge helped with, booking us a boat trip to Comino and Gozo on Hera cruises and booking road bikes for my boys on one day so they could go and explore the island which they did. The bikes were brought to and collected from the hotel. They said Mdina was well worth a visit and more authentic than the area we were in.
We also used the indoor pool which I intended to use as a fitness pool. Went at 5 pm but it was full of lilos and dunkers and there was no possibility of length swimming.
My son used the gym which was busy but there was plenty of equipment all up to date.
Wifi at the hotel is free for guests but very intermittent which would be an issue if I had been there on business. One day I had to do some work so took my laptop to the business centre where there was a strong signal.
Opposite the hotel there is a cinema and bowling alley. We used the bowling alley which cost £30 for 6 of us for one game and was a good family activity for the evening.
Buses to Valletta and elsewhere on the island could be accessed at the top of the road. Number 12 or 13 to Valletta (well worth a visit - the Grand Harbour is spectacular)
Having said all of the above.It was my responsibility for choosing a hotel with a poor location although I am baffled as to why Intercontinental would buy a property in such an inelegant area. The price probably reflected this compared to Hilton and Westin. It was the lowest price in this area. The inconsistencies in guest care however should be eradicated to compensate for this and I don't think they were. This was not a 5 star experience by any means.
We did have a good holiday though. The sun shone brightly every day, we caught up as a family, ate well and drank well. The rest of the party had few complaints but as the one with the purse strings, I say, Intercontinental - you need to improve.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- InterContinental Malta redefines the meaning of elegance, hospitality and service with its contemporary design and modern ambience providing an exclusive and relaxed atmosphere. Conveniently and centrally located in the prime area of St. George’s Bay, InterContinental Malta is within walking distance of some of the islands finest shopping, entertainment and nightlife venues, also 20 minutes drive from Malta International Airport and 15 minutes drive to Valletta, Malta’s historical capital city. All 481 designer led bedrooms are superbly furnished; having all the comforts expected of a luxury hotel with either twin or king beds, spacious bathrooms with separate bath and shower, private balconies, coffee and tea making facilities and high-speed WIFI access. The luxury suites and presidential suite are located on the hotel’s higher floors, here guests can avail themselves of the Club InterContinental lounge with its stunning views across the island and Mediterranean. The lounge also includes a private reception desk, rooftop pool, meeting room and valet service. The Concierge team is also on hand throughout the day to provide insider knowledge vital for discovering and exploring the Maltese islands. With six restaurants and six bars, the hotel offers varied local and international cuisine at all times of day, both indoor and al fresco. The hotel’s extensive leisure facilities include a lagoon styled outdoor panoramic pool, a heated indoor pool, the Planet Trekkers Kids Club, a state of the art fitness center, a spa with a traditional Turkish hamam, hair salon and 24 hour room service. The revamped and extended InterContinental Beach Club includes an exclusive sandy beach and incorporates an array of amenities including bars, a restaurant, and water-sports facilities. The hotels extensive meeting, exhibition and conference facilities offer guests 6,000 sqm of space in over 30 meeting rooms, including the state of the art InterContinental Arena Meeting Centre. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Malta Hotel Saint Julian`s
- Intercontinental Saint Julians
- Intercontinental Hotel Malta