Malta’s very own The Phoenicia has placed amongst the Top 3 Hotels in Southern & Central Europe on prestigious travel platform Condé Nast Traveler.
The globally-renowned travel platform put one of Malta’s premier hotels in third place, with a score of 96.57, placing after Vienna’s Hotel Sacher and Park Hyatt, which placed in second and first respectively. Additionally, it was also named one of the Top 12 Hotels in the Rest of Europe by the publications Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2023.
This magnificent feat not only served as a first for the hotel and Maltese Islands, but was also called “the result of years of investment, not only in the property, but a substantial investment in The Phoenicia Malta team.”
In a recent statement, The Phoenicia Malta owner Mark Shaw stated the following: “We are deeply honoured to be included on this prestigious list, especially as it reflects the votes and feedback of our guests. At The Phoenicia Malta, we take great pride in providing warm, personalised hospitality, and it’s truly a source of pride to see valued guests returning year after year.”
The ranking comes after more than 520,000 readers submitted responses of their travel experiences across the globe, resulting in the results of The Readers’ Choice Awards.InterContinental Malta wins prestigious award at the 30th Annual World Travel Awards
InterContinental Malta announced that it has been recognised as a winner at the 30th Annual World Travel Awards. The iconic hotel was voted as Malta’s Leading Hotel Suite 2023: Highline Suites @ InterContinental Malta.
On 29th September, the finest travel brands from across Europe were unveiled at World Travel Awards (WTA) Europe Gala Ceremony 2023 in Batumi, Georgia. The event took place at Sheraton Batumi Hotel, where industry elites from across the region attended the red-carpet evening.
Graham Cooke, Founder and President, World Travel Awards handed over the award to Marika Caruana Smith, Cluster Director of Sales – Luxury and Entertainment, InterContinental Malta, who commented:
“We are extremely privileged and honoured to have won another World Travel Award, winning such an accolade is a great source of pride for us. Thank you to the voice of the public, and the voice of our clients, we are very proud that our guests and partners hold us in such high esteem. To our owners who are extremely supportive, and our associates thank you for your loyalty and commitment in ensuring we constantly strive to deliver the IHG Promise to our valued guests”.
The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.An evening at the Phoenicia
Last night we spent an enchanting evening at Phoenicia Malta – the ideal setting for unforgettable moments. A big thanks to the exceptional team for their warm hospitality! Here’s to cherished conversations about business, current affairs, and building stronger connections.The new Malta Marriot outdoor pool
Perched atop the 5-star Rosselli AX Privilege boutique hotel on Merchants Street, Valletta, the newly launched Over Grain is set to redefine the rooftop dining experience in the capital with its innovative seafood concept. Boasting sweeping views over Valletta, this open-air lounge offers a stylish atmosphere that combines golden sunsets, relaxing lounge music and delectable cuisine, bringing a fresh perspective to seafood dining, where every dish is a sensation for the senses.
At Over Grain, seafood takes centre stage, reinventing classic staples and challenging culinary expectations. Led by the Michelin-awarded kitchen brigade behind Under Grain, Executive Chef Victor Borg crafts a menu of small plates, platters and mains that showcase succulent oysters, mouth-watering shellfish and delicately prepared caviar. The surprising star of the menu is the lobster burger, a unique twist on a beloved classic. This unexpected combination breaks stereotypes, offering a sophisticated take on the burger tradition.
Over Grain has also established itself as a premier cocktail bar, earning a reputation as one of the finest in the capital. Indulge in a handpicked collection of premium wines and champagnes, expertly curated to complement the bold and fresh flavours of the seafood-focused menu. In addition, the bar offers a range of cocktails. Sip on exquisite liquid refreshments while enjoying a playlist of chill-out music that sets the mood for an evening of relaxation and indulgence.
The rooftop setting in the heart of Merchants Street provides an enchanting backdrop, adding a touch of magic to the dining experience. As the sun sets over Valletta, patrons can bask in the panoramic views. From this vantage point, it’s easy to spot the graceful cupola of the nearby Church of the Jesuits, rooftops of historic townhouses and palazzos that have graced Valletta for centuries and take in the harbour that stretches towards the sea. This rooftop ambience sets the stage for a serene atmosphere, making it the perfect choice for romantic evenings or celebratory gatherings.
As part of the Grain Restaurants family, Over Grain upholds a reputation for exceptional service and attention to detail. The knowledgeable staff ensures that every guest is treated to a memorable time, from the moment they step through the door until the last bite or sip. The inviting and sophisticated ambience, coupled with live music on Thursdays and Saturdays, elevates the overall atmosphere, creating an unrivalled dining destination in Valletta.
Over Grain opens its doors from Wednesday to Saturday, welcoming guests from 7.30 pm until 12.30 am. Guests have the freedom to choose between a complete dining experience or drinks at the bar. Food orders can be placed until 10.00 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and until 10.30 pm on Friday and Saturday, ensuring ample time to savour the culinary delights over sensational views.
Article credits: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/gourmet/restaurants/123915/over_grain_seafood_sensations_with_a_view_at_vallettas_new_rooftop_loungePalazzo Castagna: boosting the market for luxury tourism in the south
Għaxaq is a quiet village in the south of Malta that, so far, has remained relatively undiscovered by the tourism sector. Things are set to change as Palazzo Castagna, a high-end boutique hotel, has now officially opened its doors. With directors Rudolph and Alison Spiteri Sacco at the helm, the historic Palazzo is now welcoming guests looking for luxury accommodation that’s close to Malta’s main landmarks, while still removed from the hustle and bustle of more obvious locations.
“As a location, Għaxaq offers the perfect base for guests who want to spend a weekend away while experiencing the historical cities and attractions of the area. The south is rich in culture, starting with The Three Cities and moving along the coast towards Blue Grotto, Mnajdra, Marsaxlokk, Tarxien Temples… there’s a lot to take in,” Alison starts off.
Rudolph elaborates that – up till now – the south did not quite offer any high-end accommodation available on the market.
“Palazzo Castagna is set to be a game-changer, attracting tourists and locals while also creating an opportunity for corporate tourism,” he says, adding that the village of Għaxaq itself is host to myriad cultural activities, such as the spontaneous carnival, two very well-organised village feasts and a number of other activities that enhance the magic of the village,” he says.
“Truly, Għaxaq is a gem. The place still holds many characteristics of a typical Maltese village. The local community, together with the local council which plays an active and integral part of village life, organises many events such as various concerts. There’s something happening every month, and guests at Palazzo Castagna will be very much part of this community,” Alison continues.
The hotel targets both local and international travellers, with guests likely to be those with an interest in history and good cuisine, as well as those who wish to spend some time living like a local. Thanks to its unique location, Palazzo Castagna is also perfectly situated for corporate travellers, placing them in close promixity to the corporate and industrial zones of the south while offering a gorgeous setting away from the actual work place.
What about weekend breaks?
“Why not? We have had a lot of interest from Maltese who live on the Northern side of the island. As a country, we still tend to travel north and to Gozo for a weekend getaway, leaving that side of the population with very few options to do the same in the south when they need a break,” Rudolph replies.
“Being so close to the airport, we also foresee an interest from those needing a one night stay for connecting flights. The market in the tourism industry is huge, and the location, together with the set up of the hotel, offer various advantages even though it might be viewed as a niche market,” Alison adds.
Located in the centre of the main square in Għaxaq, with the beautiful church in the background and a perfect view of all the activities taking place in the village, it’s difficult to imagine a more picturesque location for Palazzo Castagna. The building itself has been finished to an exceedingly high standard, to ensure that it’s in line with the high-end expectations of guests.
“We made sure no penny was spared in creating a lavish boutique hotel to offer great comfort to visitors,” Rudolph says. “We do believe in attention to detail.”
Alison agrees, describing the rooms with real wood, heated flooring and full insulation, the rooftop that can accommodate small events and weddings, a sala nobile that has been turned into a restaurant with art from the 1700s…the list is never ending.
“There is also an internal garden with a small fountain that creates a very calming effect on all the overlooking rooms, as well as a captivating fresh smell of flowers that sets the right ambiance for our guests,” she says.
With a building like Palazzo Castagna, it’s impossible to leave off without discovering a portion of its rich history. Alison recounts that the house was built in the 1700s, around the same time Għaxaq’s parish church was built. It replaced a smaller house that belonged to Angelo Castagna, father to the famed Filippo Castagna – a historical figure who played an integral part in the French colonisation of the Islands.
“The house was also used as the first każin (club) for Santa Marija and, in fact, the current St Maria club has even replicated parts of the house within their current premises,” Rudolph adds.
The house belonged to the clergy for quite a few years, and then eventually it was sold to the family who occupied it last, and from whom it was bought in order to make Palazzo Castagna a reality. In the process of transforming the old building into the Hotel it is now, the management team made sure to restore all the original paintings and affreschi found on the walls and ceilings, especially those within the small room that used to serve as chapel.
“A huge part of history in general gets left untold, since stories and memories are buried with the passing of time. However, we want to make sure that the history of the house will live on and that every visitor will experience the love and attention that was given to the Palazzo in the years gone by,” Alison concludes.
Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/palazzo-castagna-boosting-the-market-for-luxury-tourism-in-the-southMercury Towers to open in September 2023 and be fully operational by Q1 2024
The first lifestyle franchise of its kind locally, ME Malta Hotel will be housed within a second 20- floor building that flanks a public square. It follows the recent opening of ME Dubai, an iconic architectural wonder also designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
The entire project is being undertaken by Mercury Towers Ltd – owned by Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli – and promises ongoing improvements to the urban fabric of the area, and an introduction of inclusive, family oriented amenities.
Lifestyle destination project Mercury Towers will open its doors in September 2023, marking the first phase within a six month launch period which will see it go fully operational by the first quarter of 2024.
Designed by one of the world’s most prolific architects of her time, the late Zaha Hadid, the St Julian’s development consists of the restored Grade II listed Mercury House, accompanied by a 33-floor residential tower – Malta’s tallest to date – and the luxe five-star ME Malta Hotel by Meliá.
A company statement said that “the area is witnessing a gradual transformation, making it more welcoming for both residents and visitors”.
“During its inaugural phase, commencing in 2023, Mercury Towers will re-invent Malta’s retail landscape through a curated mix of over 80 multi-category lifestyle brands, setting a new benchmark in choice for the local consumer.”
It was also shared that the project’s portfolio of food and beverage concepts are highly diverse, as renowned international franchises and local artisan delights are poised to reinforce “Malta’s position as a premium foodie destination for the global traveller”.
Offering an experience that cannot be found anywhere else on the island, this curated mix responds to a growing appetite for delectable food and innovative experiential dining.
Mercury Towers will also introduce “cutting edge entertainment” to complement shopping and dining, such as “adrenaline-fueled activities” and “fully immersive, technology-driven performances”. More detail on this will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Once fully operational in Q1 of 2024, Mercury Towers promises to evolve into a vibrant new quarter encompassing accommodation, shopping, dining, entertainment, residential and wellness facilities, setting new standards for local industry.
Anchored in art, design, innovation, and community-led activity, Mercury Towers aspires to become a new cultural hub, curating lifestyle experiences which serve to inspire thought, and a sense of place. With 4,000 square meters of open public spaces, Mercury Towers has repurposed a once-gated space for public use, while paying homage to the futuristic flair of starchitect Zaha Hadid, whose work is characterized by the ever-present curve.
Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/mercury-towers-to-open-in-september-2023-and-be-fully-operational-by-q1-2024
New Hyatt set to open in Swieqi
A new hotel within the Hyatt franchise is set to open in Swieqi in the final quarter of 2024, just across the road from the existing Hyatt Regency in St Julian’s.
The hotel will be operated under the Hyatt Centric brand. It is situated on Santu Wistin Street, Swieqi. It will feature 187 hotel rooms, spread over nine floors, of which 27 rooms are interconnected, a spa, indoor and outdoor pool facilities on the 10th floor, a restaurant and lounge.
The new hotel will take the place of two adjacent villas, Sans Souci and Rocheville, which the company bought for €9.25 million apiece in 2022, having a combined superficial area of 996 sqm.
The announcement was made by Juel Group, which is the parent company of Juel Hospitality, a company incorporated with the purpose of owning and managing the hotel.
In its prospectus for a €32 million bond issue, Juel Hospitality said it believes that the hotel, once constructed, “shall be a strong contender in the local hospitality market”, noting that “the location of the hotel is largely popular with tourists given the availability of restaurants, beaches, and nightlife in close proximity”.
By 2027, the hotel is expected to generate gross operating profit per available room (GOPAR) of €22,000, according to the company, which added that the core management team has yet to be employed given the time left until construction is completed.
Read the full article here: https://whoswho.mt/en/new-hyatt-set-to-open-in-swieqiBarceló Hotel Group to open luxury five-star hotel in Malta
Barceló Hotel Group, a renowned hotel chain, has announced its entry into the Maltese market with the management of the Barceló Fortina Malta hotel after the group signed an agreement with Fortina Investments Limited.
Set to reopen its doors in September 2023, the Barceló Fortina Malta is a fully refurbished and transformed 5-star hotel located in the central town of Sliema.
Positioned on the south-facing Sliema seafront, the hotel offers breathtaking unobstructed views of the fortified capital city, Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning architecture.
José Canals, the Regional Director of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia at Barceló Hotel Group, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Fortina Investments Limited, highlighting the group’s extensive experience in managing urban beach hotels worldwide.
Canals emphasised Malta’s significance as a tourism destination and mentioned that the new hotel would contribute to the company’s growing portfolio in the Mediterranean.
Edward Zammit Tabona, CEO of Fortina Investments Limited, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, emphasizing the hotel chain’s reputation for managing luxury properties.
He stated that Barceló Hotel Group’s high service standards and extensive commercial network would help establish Barceló Fortina Malta as a leading luxury hotel on the island.
The Barceló Fortina Malta has undergone a comprehensive refurbishment and expansion, transforming it into a modern five-star establishment with 183 rooms. The majority of the rooms offer views of both the Mediterranean Sea and Valletta.
The hotel’s facilities include a wellness space with a spa, a gym, and an indoor heated pool. A newly constructed lido features two restaurants and a relaxing bar.
Additionally, the hotel boasts fully equipped bars and restaurants within its premises. An open plaza accessible to the general public surrounds the hotel, which is located within walking distance of Malta’s largest shopping mall.
For business travelers, Barceló Fortina Malta offers a fully equipped conference area capable of accommodating 250 people, along with four meeting rooms suitable for various events.