Travel: Spotlight on Malta

With 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, plus culture, adventure and rich history, holidays don’t come much better. But where to stay?



The latest offering from British entrepreneur Mark Weingard opened in 2021 and overlooks Valletta’s famous Grand Harbour. Set across four exquisite 1600s Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, it offers an intriguing design mix of heritage and contemporary style. With its golden stone façade and royal blue balconies, the exterior blends seamlessly with its neighbours in the historic walled city. Meanwhile, inside, Autoban – a design studio in Istanbul – have made their mark, creating a cool, contemporary space that subtly references the city’s heritage with bespoke artwork and tailor-made fittings.

Award-winning cuisine is served at the Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant, ION Harbour by Simon Rogan, where seasonality and local produce inspire an ever-changing menu. The serene subterranean Essensi Spa, situated in the hotel’s historic vaults, offers well-earned time out to guests. An impressive array of treatments is on offer here. The perfect base from which to explore.



The only member of The Leading Hotels of the World in Malta, and the island’s first five-star hotel, The Phoenicia has a long history of hosting celebrities and royalty and is nothing short of sensational. On the edge of Valletta’s old, fortified centre, it is located in an art deco building that has become so iconic that it is acknowledged as one of the sights of Malta.

Unusually for such a central location, it is set in seven acres of mature, colourful gardens that feature an infinity pool overlooking the Marsamxett Harbour. There is also an indoor pool in the recently opened spa, where a menu of rejuvenating treatments is offered. Accommodation is provided in 132 bedrooms and suites that offer the perfect blend of old-world elegance and modern style.

Designed in collaboration with Peter Young, the recently renovated interiors retain original features, including pretty, authentic tiled floors, but have been brought up to date with an uplifting colour palette and clean lined, locally-sourced furniture. It goes without saying that service here is excellent – this is a place where expectations are not just met, but surpassed.



Part of the Relais & Châteaux group, this gorgeous boutique hotel is set in a unique 17th-century palazzo hidden away in the medieval fortified city of Mdina, the old capital of Malta. Perched on centuries-old bastions, surrounded by stunning baroque architecture, with its luxurious accommodation, exceptional personal service and award-winning haute cuisine, the hotel is truly a haven in which to pause and be pampered.

The entire hotel has been subject to an extensive recent renovation, which saw all of the rooms and suites reconfigured, with work carried out to reduce its environmental impact, too. Meticulously and sensitively restored to reflect its former noble standing, the five-star property – the only hotel inside the walls of Mdina – is small but perfectly formed, boasting just 17 luxury rooms and suites, each enjoying stunning views, and individually and tastefully designed with antique furniture and paintings, luxurious Parisian fabrics and sumptuous king size beds.

Foodies staying here are spoilt for choice, with both the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant de Mondion, and the more casual Trattoria AD 1530 set in the piazza in the front of the hotel. A truly special place.