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The gorgeous wind-swept islands that make up the archipelago nation of Malta are steeped in history and culture, both ancient and modern. Visitors to Malta can visit the megalithic Ggantija temple complex, the oldest human-built structure in the world. If pop culture is of more interest, Game of Thrones tours are available, where local actors will guide you through the local landmarks that were transformed into King’s Landing, the Great Sept of Baelor, the Red Keep Stables and any number of other recognizable locations. Or perhaps you’d just like to relax in a luxurious oceanside hotel and enjoy the view, or aimlessly stroll the ancient streets, or eat and eat and eat…or all of the above! Whether you prefer ancient or modern, luxury or budget, Malta has a place for you to make your home-away-from-home while you visit.
Best Overall: Casa Ellul
Once a grand private residence built in the early Victorian era, Casa Ellul is now a luxurious boutique hotel boasting seven uniquely-appointed suites. The architecture of the building is gorgeous, with Greek Revival flourishes such as Ionic columns and floral cornices. Guestrooms are outfitted with a sleek modern touch that allows the historic features of the building to shine while providing a stylish and comfortable stay for guests. Though each suite is unique, all have marble bathrooms, plush King-sized beds and feature furnishings from companies such as Ritchie and artwork from local artists such as Retty Tacsum. Air conditioning makes hot Maltese summer days bearable and Wi-Fi allows guests to stay in touch with the outside world, and the hotel’s five-star restaurant, Risette, offers visitors a menu featuring seasonal dishes that highlight the flavors of the many cultural influences that this Mediterranean crossroads has seen.
Casa Ellul is not just a stunning building with equally gorgeous guest quarters, though: it’s also ideally located on a quiet street in the heart of the historic walled city of Valletta. Most rooms overlook the majestic Carmelite Church, and one of the city’s most vibrant restaurant districts is found just a block away on Old Bakery Street. As a jumping-off point for exploring Malta’s capital or sights further afield, it's the best spot to be.
Best Budget: Park Lane Aparthotel
Located in Qawra, an area within the larger town of Bugibba, the Park Lane Aparthotel offers surprisingly stylish and affordable full-service apartments, complete with kitchenettes. Bugibba is more affordable than Valletta, generally, so guests on a budget will do well to stay in this district, though it is pretty heavily developed and tourist-y. At under 100 meters from the local bus station, though, Park Lane puts guests in a perfect place to get out and see more of Malta.
A wide variety of guestrooms are available, from hotel-style single rooms to three-bedroom family suites. All are decorated in a clean, modern style with light-colored wood furniture and floors and white linens, with touches of royal blue. All guests get access to the gorgeous rooftop pool, complete with panoramic views of the Mediterranean, as well as an ample and delicious breakfast buffet.
Best Boutique: Hotel Valentina
Style-conscious guests will fall in love with the ultra-modern and impeccably chic Hotel Valentina. Whether you’re taking a dip in the rooftop pool, lounging with a craft cocktail in the martini bar, digging into the huge breakfast buffet or simply heading back to your trendy, comfy guestroom for a nap, you’ll notice this hotel’s attention to detail and hospitality.
Hotel Valentina is located in the coastal town of St. Julian’s, just North of Valletta, and is just steps away from the bustling quarter of Paceville, known for restaurants, shops, and nightlife. The hotel is also just 500 meters away from St. George’s Bay, one of Malta’s better-maintained urban sandy beaches, for those who can’t bear to stare at the water without at least dipping a toe in.
Best for Families: Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands
Radisson Blu offers families and other travelers a glorious getaway option on a secluded stretch of Malta’s Northwest coast. Parents and kids alike will love splashing in the shallow water at the resort’s wide stretch of private sandy beach (a rare treat in rocky Malta). The resort also offers a kids’ club, where children can spend the day doing crafts, games, and activities in the care of trained professionals while their parents enjoy the full-service spa, the tennis courts or any number of water sports and marine activities.
The resort is all-suite, so it’s easy for families to stretch out and get comfortable in their own rooms, all of which feature satellite TV and Wi-Fi, so no one has to go too long without their favorite cartoon. Several on-site restaurants and cafés offer a variety of fine and casual dining options (all of which feature kids’ menus). The resort is quite isolated, but regular shuttles run into nearby towns and villages, so if your family is the exploring type, you’ll have lots of choices.
Best for Romance: The Duke Boutique Hotel
Of Malta’s three populated islands, Malta Island is the most populated and tourist-visited, but Gozo, home to the Duke Boutique Hotel, is a gorgeous, historical destination in its own right, and worth a ferry ride, even if you don’t choose to stay here. Victoria, known to locals as “Rabat,” is the island’s main town, and home to the Citadella and Victoria Cathedral, both must-visits. The Duke Boutique Hotel is just blocks from these historic buildings, as well as dozens of other churches, museums, shops and restaurants in this charming ancient city, a perfect place to stroll hand-in-hand.
The Duke is situated within a larger complex that includes shops, bars, restaurants and even a supermarket, but don’t let the bustling nature of the location fool you: rooms are exquisite in design and soundproofed for true privacy. Couples should consider booking a Junior Suite, each of which is uniquely designed but all of which include a private terrace featuring a Jacuzzi hot tub, large enough for two, where you and your sweetie can sip champagne while overlooking the rooftops of the Citadella and other ancient buildings.
Best Luxury: Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux
The ultra-exclusive Xara Palace (pronounced “Shara”) is the only hotel within the ancient city walls of the medieval capital of Mdina. Once a baroque palazzo, it is now a five-star boutique offering true luxury lodgings to discerning patrons, whether they’re actually royal or just enjoy being treated as such now and again.
Rooms are thoroughly comfortable, featuring marble bathrooms, plush beds, and high thread count cotton linens, but also tastefully designed, with Florentine lampshades, Persian rugs and French fabrics — decorative microcosms of the cross-cultural influences of Malta itself, you might say! A gourmet restaurant, Mondian, in-room massage services, an off-site spa and pool complex, and one of the most beautiful courtyards you’ll ever see round out the experience here at Xara Palace.
Best Nightlife: The George Hotel
Situated right in the heart of St. Julian’s trendiest nightlife district, the George Hotel is a great option for younger travelers or night owls of all ages. The rooftop pool and bar is a nice place to start off your evening, with its spectacular view of the city and the Mediterranean. After club-hopping through Paceville, come back to your trendy room, appointed with modern furniture and soft, warm fabrics, for a long, deep sleep. Wake up the next morning and enjoy the hotel’s large breakfast buffet (or sleep in until the afternoon and order room service), followed by a detoxifying massage at the on-site spa, and then start all over again!
Best Business: La Falconeria
Business hotels are often soulless cookie-cutter properties, and boutique hotels don’t always offer the facilities required for a business traveler. The executive suites at La Falconeria, though, break both rules, offering spacious private meeting rooms as well as chic, modern décor and furnishings, complimentary Wi-Fi and spectacular views that include five different cathedrals and many of Valletta’s other gorgeous architectural wonders. La Falconeria also offers one of Valletta’s only on-site fitness centers, as well as an ancient Maltese well that has been turned into a tranquil swimming pool. Something old, something new, — that’s the spirit of Malta, in a nutshell, and certainly the overall vibe at this fantastic hotel.
Best Hostel: Boho Hostel
Though Malta is known for luxurious lodgings, there are a few options available for travelers on a backpacker’s budget, and St. Julian’s Boho Hostel is the best. As the name implies, it’s got a Bohemian vibe, with brightly-colored walls, funky furnishings and a low-key attitude that caters more to seasoned backpackers than partiers — think discussions about books in the cozy garden, not drunken dance parties. Coed, female and male dorms are available, and there’s one private room on-site for couples or single travelers who want a bit more privacy. Free lockers and complimentary towels, a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi and a very cheap and very good hot breakfast option round out the amenities.