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“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of a 5-star wannabe”

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Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Mellieha
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 18, 2010

I have very mixed emotions regarding the Radisson Golden Bay - these can best be summed up in three categories: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

The Good

The hotel has an absolute prime location, perched on a cliff overlooking Golden Bay, one of Malta's most beautiful beaches.
It is also one of the few hotels on the West coast of Malta - think sunsets, not sunrise over the ocean.
For the mobility challenged, lifts will zip you down to the beach - and back up for afternoon coffee on the terrace commanding fantastic sunset views.
The rooms are large, the balconies (on the sea side) all offer spectacular views. However, you are sentenced to closing off your room at dusk, for this is mosquito territory after dark and the Radisson Golden Bay does not offer the luxury of screens that many 3-star hotels have. The pool is beautiful - but their "one towel per customer" policy is just plain cheap - there is no excuse for this if you want to call yourself 5-star. We asked each day- always "No - one towel per guest".

The Bad

The food is, at best, mediocre. There are a few restaurants available within the hotel - the largest called Flavours by staff is simply called "Flavorless" by guests - I heard that term more than once. Agliolio, called "ugly-oily" looks nice, and can be: we've had decent italian food here, but also really lousy food. "Essence" is the morechic fish restaurant.. great atmosphere, OK food. Mokka, the hotel lobby bar is nice - great Cappucino and again, a beautiful lounge terrace - if they'd just change the elevator music that bombards you all day! Luckily, we found out about Munchies on day two: a beachside shack serving burgers and salads during the day transforms into a tableclothed restaurant at sunset, featuring the best grilled ribeye I've had on Malta, a wonderful local swordfish - and (our tip:) the best fresh grilled tuna on salad on the island!

The Ugly

Two-thirds of the total hotel complex is made up of time-sharing called the Island Residence Club: Their Sales staff hover all over the hotel complex like vultures, whizzing couples through tours in such numbers that it is impossible to sit anywhere without having a sales pitch running like a tape recorder next to you. Don't think you can avoid them: Even as a hotel guest not signed up for a "free consultation and tour" you cannot - they're in the restaurants, they're in the lobby, they're at the bar, they're at the pool, they're having a Cappucino next to you at Mokka with an elderly couple from Blackpool. They're like locusts!

All in all, this is a hotel barely reaching four-star standards that could have been a five-star like the Hilton in Portomaso, but they forget to think of what the guest might want or need - and don't really seem to be bothered by this lack of intuition.

What's missing to make is a true four or five star hotel? Five things:

(1) GIVE GUESTS PEACE TO RELAX - Limit Island Residence Club Sales staff to the Island Residence Club area - bar them completely from Mokka and the hotel pool area. They have huge areas within IRC where they can serve coffee to their sales pitch victims.

(2) REPAIR THINGS - Make sure the fans and air conditioners run in each of the rooms before the guests arrive - it shouldn't be the guest's job to chase after a repairman.

(3) ADD SCREENS to the sliding doors - you're right next door to a natural preserve that also happens to be quite the mosquito breeding ground. No screens mean no open windows at night - which is a shame, since the ocean breezes here are wonderful.

(4) DON'T BE CHEAP - Replace your pool (and bathroom!) towels BEFORE the seams are completely ripped off on both sides - nobody wants to dry off with a rag!

(5) DON'T BE STINGY - You can gladly increase the deposit required, but at the end of the day, it should be the guest's decision (and no the hotel's) if he wants/needs one pool towel or two.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank mspiessl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,572 - 3,578 of 4,303 reviews

Reviewed May 13, 2010

We went for a week for a bit of a rest and some sightseeing.The hotel is quite large and is set in three large blocks.We had a wonderful sea view on the forth floor.
The room had a good and adequate kitchen and there was plenty of space for the three of us.We had got a very good deal on the understanding we would see a promotion one morning.
The beach was nice but there were rocks as you first entered the sea for a swim but when past these the sea was great and warm.
There were lots of nice walks nearby and other bays nearby including a nudist beach.
Worth a visit is the roman baths.These are about a 20 minute walk away.
The food was generally very good but some dishes were a bit bland.The service was a bit hit and miss.Sometimes you would still be waiting long after peaople who had come in later had been served.You also need to check your bill as they have a habit of charging for say the most expensive water when you have had the cheaper one.
The cocktails at the bar were very weak considering they were £ 9.00 each.
This didnt really have the feel of a holiday hotel but more of a business hotel.
The entertainment was quite good but not exceptional.
My wife and daughter enjoyed some spa treatments.
The indoor pool was fine and there was a great jacuzzi which was very stimulating!!
The sauna worked on odd occasions as did the steam room.Everything seemed to be about how much money they could get out of you.There wasnt even a water dispenser in the gym.I asked for some water and they said buy it in the shop.
The deli shop was expensive with say a small box of cornflakes £ 8.00 and we bought fruit that was consistently bad.The assistant said she couldnt check every one.
The presentation was fine.We spent most of the time talking about anything other than holiday ownership and looked at family photos etc.
Arron was very helpful as well as Nikki.Unfortunately this scheme didnt suit us as we were unable to commit but we spoke to many current owners that said that in the long run they were saving a lot of money.
Ther was a great free shuttle bus service. We used it every other day and visited Valetta which is amazing.Went to Gozo on a ship and went to St julians where all the main nightlife and casino is.We also went to Mosta and I bought some wine there that was superb for less than £ 2.00 a bottle.
We also went on padalos and canoes which was fun.
Overall we had a great holiday and can only praise The Island Residents Club and thank them for their hospitality. I would definately come to Malta again as I feel you need a good month or so to visit everything.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank patsilvercar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2010

Great hotel for getting away from it all and relaxing. Its own private beach, good food in their restaurants (tried both the Italian and the seafood on both good food) not overly expensive for this type of hotel. Accomodation is spacious and modern. Private beach with Pebbles beach bar which has fantastic views and excellent cocktails. Only downside was the lack of parking spaces for size of the hotel.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank colholly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2010

Having visited this hotel 2 years previous and recomended it highly,I was not prepared for the appauling service and poor standards that we experienced.
On arriving the first room we were given stank of cigarettes so badly my asmatic partner could hardly breath.
The second room on the third floor had no balcony fitted and the sliding pattio door was padlocked shut.
The third room had no electric,after waiting for some 50 minutes for reception to send the bellboy to look at it and fiddle with a number of door cards unsucsessfully we moved again.
The forth room we moved to nearly 3 hours after checking in had a broken bed and noisy fridge that between them kept us awake most of the night.
On each room change we were given no assistance to move rooms,BUT for me the worst thing by far was the REFUSAL of the Duty Manager to meet me and discuss these problems.
Fabulous location BUT if you cant talk to a senior manager to help with any problems you might have it does not fill you with confidence.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Joseph Paul C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2010

We have just come back from a fantastic relaxing week in beautiful Malta. I was contacted by one of the sales teams and offered the £128 deal for a weeks holiday at this resort for myself, husband and our 5yr old daughter. Initially was a little sceptical of going on the trip, but after talking at length to the sales team and researching the deal decided to go ahead. My husband wasn't too happy about attending a presentation for the time share linked to this offer, and was convinced there would a "hard sell". Nothing was further from the truth.......... no hard sell. We attended the presentation on the 2nd morning of the holiday, it did take a little longer than anticipated, but only because we asked lots of questions, and yes we did sign up, because the offer was right for us.

The whole process of being a member of The Island Residence Club was well explained. All questioned were answered truthfully and without hesitation. Before signing up, we had a meeting with a Compliance officer who checked that we understood the paperwork and what we were signing up to, and all costs involved. He also clarified areas that we had misinterpreted.


We were met at the airport and transportation was provided to the resort. Upon arrival we were given drinks whilst waiting to check in. First impressions, lovely hotel, very impressive foyer, spacious and welcoming. Check in was a little slow as a large group of people arrived at the same time, and it was midnight ,so not as many staff were around as during the day.

Our room turned out to be a suit with a fantastic sea view. The suit itself consisted of large bedroom with huge ensuite bathroom and large living area with a pull out double sofa bed. Everything you would expect from a 5 star hotel. The balcony was accessible from both rooms and overlooked the swimming pools.

The hotel is in a fairly isolated position on the island, which is nice and quiet, but if you want to go anywhere, the local buses run regularly and are fun to ride on (an adventure in themselves).You can get to anywhere on the island easily by bus, for a few Euros.

The food in the hotel was lovely with 4 main restaurants to choose from, with varying prices and cuisine. If you are there for a special occasion like we were (wedding anniversary) I strongly recommend you go to Essence the best fish restaurant on the Island, (but they do other dishes for the non fish lovers).

There are several pools, 3 outdoor and one indoor, with a Jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms. There is also, a lovely spar on site, unfortunately we didn't get to sample their services as we ran out of time whilst exploring the island, (all the more reason to go back).

The staff in all areas of the hotel were very helpful and attentive at all times.

Overall, fantastic experience. If offered the same holiday, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to do it. If the time share isn't for you, just say no and enjoy the facilities of the hotel.

Louise and Andy

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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7  Thank Tiggerlou28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2010

This hotel is definitely not a cheap option however; it proved to be just about perfect for a relaxing break at Easter. I will own up now and admit my wife and I succumbed to temptation and purchased a membership of the Residence Club with the intention of making repeated returns there. We were initially attracted by a visit following a disappointing start to our holiday at the Seabank Hotel (see my other review) and were swayed by the complete contrast in terms of quality and location.

This hotel is situated on what is probably the most picturesque location in Malta, overlooking a couple of sandy bays. Our studio room was well fitted out and comfortable despite it being one of the older rooms in the hotel and, I was told, shortly due for a 5-yearly refurbishment to the standard of the newly completed ones we visited. Amenities at the hotel are up to the standard you would expect of a 5-star resort, as is the décor and finish in the Public areas. We ate in two of the three restaurants and in the beach bar and the range and quality of food was excellent. Not cheap but reasonable value. Drinks and coffees were also a bit on the pricey side (as you come to expect at this type of establishment).

This hotel is located in a quiet location that lends itself to short and some longer walks along the unspoilt coastline. Apart from a couple of independent beach bars there are no other facilities available outside the hotel. Different live entertainment was available every night we were there: Singers; cabaret; Jazz etc., which was great as we were happy to relax after dinner with a coffee and a drink. There is no nightclub.

Transport links are good considering the location with both a courtesy bus and local service bus providing frequent links to Mosta and the Valetta area. If you are looking for a night on the town though, a taxi back would be your only option unless you had a rental car.

Despite getting off to a shaky start on our first trip to Malta, our stay at the Golden Sands Resort has sold it to us. The combination of relaxation, activities, sightseeing and luxury coupled with good transport links provides the ideal compromise for us. Suffice to say that on return we have decided not to take up the 15–day option to cancel our membership.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank sharps19ud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2010

This hotel is like being at home. It is very clean and all ameneties are well placed. The staff are friendly and very courteous and go out of their way to please their guests. The room was spotless and the room service is prompt and efficient. There are many places to eat and I highly recommend eating in any of them. It is near the beach and there is a very good bus service to Sliema and Valletta. I will definetely stay here again before the year is out. The poolside is very clean and the water refreshing. Thank you to all the staff here for making our holiday so enjoyable, we will be back before the end of the year. I also recommend the massage.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gaggles_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands

Address: Golden Bay, Mellieha, Island of Malta MLH 5510, Malta (Formerly Radisson SAS)
Phone Number:
Location: Malta > Island of Malta > Mellieha
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Mellieha
#1 Spa Hotel in Mellieha
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Mellieha
#1 Business Hotel in Mellieha
#1 Romantic Hotel in Mellieha
#1 Luxury Hotel in Mellieha
Price Range: $125 - $446 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands 5*
Number of rooms: 329
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Also Known As:
Radisson Blu Resort And Spa, Malta Golden Bay
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Bay Hotel Mellieha
Radisson Mellieha
Mellieha Radisson
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands Mellieha

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