Destinations

The Luxurious Mediterranean Stay That’s Hosted Queens, Princes, And Presidents

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The entrance to Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Mary Charlebois

The Mediterranean sun was high overhead. Where was a bit of shade? Wheeling our bags across Pjazza Tritoni was an obstacle course made of people, strollers, and buskers. Then there were the selfie-seekers at Triton Fountain. I’d had my fill of sightseeing and fellow tourists for the day. I wanted a tall, cold drink in a cool and quiet lounge.

As we walked up the wide, curved steps, the city traffic faded into the background. Trees lined the entrance. Marble steps led to lofty brass and glass doors where a genuine smile and warm greeting were waiting. The moment we arrived at Phoenicia Malta, we relaxed.

As we entered our hotel, relaxed elegance embraced us. Our bags were whisked away. We were expected. Our room was ready. The receptionist offered a welcome glass of bubbly. We graciously accepted and relaxed in the Reception Lounge until we were ready to go to our room. Had the Phoenicia staff been reading my mind?

Note: Kevin and I were thrilled when we were invited to be media guests and experience Phoenicia firsthand. No requests for a review or story were made by Phoenicia staff. However, I’m sure they knew we would be eager to share our “Mediterranean Luxury” with TravelAwaits‘ readers — and we are.

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The view from a harbor room at Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Phoenicia Malta

Where Royalty Have Rested Their Heads

Yes, it’s true; Phoenicia Malta has welcomed royalty. In 75 years of operation, the Phoenicia has extended Maltese hospitality to queens, princes, presidents, heads of state, celebrities, and travelers seeking five-star luxury in the enchanting city of Valletta. From around the globe, guests have immersed themselves in Mediterranean luxury at Malta’s finest hotel.

Planned And Built During Two Wars

In 1902 a public works project was offered to build a first-class hotel on the sight of an old fortification hugging the outside wall of Valletta’s massive bastions. Planning, politics, and two world wars influenced the long road to Phoenicia.

Construction of the hotel finally began in 1935 by Lord and Lady Strickland. With the outbreak of World War II, the still unfinished Phoenicia (then called Valletta Hotel) was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and used by their personnel when on leave.

Phoenicia was heavily bombed during the war. Over 100 bombs were dropped on the hotel and gardens in one day. Rebuilding was slow. Materials were next to impossible to find. But in November of 1947, the hotel officially opened as a place for dignitaries and cosmopolitan guests to luxuriate in the Mediterranean, whether vacationing or conducting world business.

Even before its opening in 1947, Phoenicia has been the location of high-level meetings and R&R between heads of state, business people, and celebrities from around the world.

Phoenicia’s Number One Asset

No question, the number one asset of Phoenicia is the staff. The multi-national team is made up of professionals that place each guest’s comfort, safety, and satisfaction as their first priority. Assistance with a smile is always the MO. No matter the position or the duties, we never encountered anyone who didn’t make eye contact or had a negative attitude. The staff takes a genuine interest in the guests and their needs.

After meeting General Manager Robyn Pratt, I knew why the staff was happy, professional, and engaged. “As goes the general, so go the soldiers.” Robyn is their leader and mentor, enabling “dedicated and personalized service.”

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Tritons’ Fountain on Pjazza TritoniPhoto credit: Lenti Hill / Shutterstock.com

Location, Location, Location

Phoenicia is located on the western wall of Valletta, but it is centrally located. With views of the Valletta bastions, the yacht harbor, the Grand Harbor, Pjazza Tritoni, and the incredible city of Valletta (a 3-minute walk), no matter where you look, it’s stunning.

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Entrance to Phoenicia’s 7.5-acres of Mediterranean GardensPhoto credit: Mary Charlebois

Acres Of Gardens

Roam through 7.5-acres of Phoenicia’s gardens. You’ll find places to relax, have tea, or have an evening cocktail. Box hedges form private micro gardens made for a quiet conversation or daydreaming session. Find a comfy chair with a view of the yacht harbor. Take in secret vistas of the bastions that can only be seen from the Phoenicia.

We spent an afternoon in the gardens. The mature trees and plants are a treasure. Our visit in early spring after rain treated us to vibrant greens and blossoms. It was a cool green break from the city’s buzz.

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Gargoyles at Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Kevin Scanlon

Iconic Style Inside And Out

Designed by Scottish architect William Binnie, the Art Deco building is made from Maltese limestone and has features of traditional Maltese architecture intertwined with classic features.

Inside, including guest rooms, you’ll find a mixture of classic colonial and modern European décor and furnishings. Italian marble is used throughout, especially in the spa-like bathrooms. Doors, windows, and ceilings are adorned with plaster moldings and decorative elements. The craftsmanship is unmatchable.

activities and interests, destinations, europe, hotels and resorts, malta, the luxurious mediterranean stay that’s hosted queens, princes, and presidents

An executive room with a view at Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Phoenicia Malta

Guest Rooms Are Retreats

The receptionist opened the door to room 401 and stepped back, allowing us to enter. The entryway was lovely. In front of us, louvered doors opened to reveal a beverage center. To the right was our magnificent corner room inviting us to come through and take in the view overlooking Valletta and the Grand Harbor.

Our king-sized bed was the proverbial cloud. And the pillows, oh my, they were a pillow fan’s (that’s me) dream. Giant down puffs were a sleeping delight. The gorgeous white cotton linens felt like silk, cool and smooth.

Our Italian marble bathroom had a view of Valletta. My first ever bathroom with a view. The rain shower was ideal for a cool-off after our walk in the city. Thick, luxurious bath sheets, robes, and slippers were perfect for sitting on our balcony and watching the world pass.

We took our tea tray to our bed the following day. The curtains for both balcony doors were open. We watched a cruise ship enter the harbor and dock at the cruise ship terminal, then watched as Pjazza Tritoni came to life with folks coming and going through the gates of the ancient city.

activities and interests, destinations, europe, hotels and resorts, malta, the luxurious mediterranean stay that’s hosted queens, princes, and presidents

The Bastion Infinity Pool at Phoenicia Malta overlooks the yacht harbor and Valletta bastions.Photo credit: Phoenicia Malta

Water Worlds

Deep Nature Spa

What could be more luxurious than a wellness day at Deep Nature Spa, Phoenicia’s in-house spa? The full-service spa personalizes your experience to fit your needs. Bodywork, skincare, nail care, water therapy, and more are offered in tranquil settings surrounded by natural light. Spoil yourself in the indoor pool, sauna, salt room, steam room, and refreshing multi-jet showers.

Bastion Pool

The infinity pool has a view of the yacht harbor and Valletta bastions. Linger under an umbrella or absorb the Mediterranean sun. Poolside service is available for drinks and snacks.

Bastion Pool Bar And Restaurant

Poolside dining and libations are in the shadow of Valletta’s bastions below the gardens. Seasonally, the area is a place for nightlife.

activities and interests, destinations, europe, hotels and resorts, malta, the luxurious mediterranean stay that’s hosted queens, princes, and presidents

The Phoenix Restaurant at the Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Phoenicia Malta

Wine And Dine

Phoenix Restaurant And Terrace

When you walk into the Phoenix, the first thing you’ll do is look up. The deeply coffered ceilings are spectacular. Colonial-style décor embraces Maltese materials and architectural elements. Everywhere you look, time-honored and modern, have been blended beautifully. Fresh flowers are placed throughout the dining room. The luxurious touches of nature are often the centerpiece of the room. Carefully chosen blooms and greens were among my favorite lavish touches throughout Phoenicia.

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Dessert on Phoenix Terrace at Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Phoenicia Malta

Pass through the dining room to the terrace. Whether day or night, the surrounding view and vistas will mesmerize you. Looking over the Phoenicia Gardens, you have a “secret view” of Valletta’s bastions. The city’s walls and the distant yacht harbor are iconic views of Malta. Any meal is delightful on this Art Deco terrace, but dinner is unbelievably romantic. The gardens are beautifully illuminated, and the twinkling lights of villages across the harbor are mesmerizing. If you are fortunate, there will be fireworks you can enjoy from the terrace.

Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the Phoenix offers an elegant atmosphere of refined dining, exceptional European cuisine, and flawless service.

A specialty of the Phoenix is champagne. They offer daily champagne breakfasts and sparkling weekend brunches. However, the extravagant Baron de Rothschild Champagne Dinners is the most elegant wine-and-dining event of any season. Each course is perfectly paired with Baron de Rothschild Champagne. If you are lucky enough to be at the Phoenicia when the sparkling evening is planned — attend! You will never forget the glittering candlelit room, fine wine, sumptuous food, gracious service, and your captivating dinner companions from around the globe.

activities and interests, destinations, europe, hotels and resorts, malta, the luxurious mediterranean stay that’s hosted queens, princes, and presidents

Palm Court at Phoenicia Malta — a wonderful place for afternoon tea and a glass of bubblyPhoto credit: Kevin Scanlon

Palm Court Lounge

Palm Court Lounge is perfect for a break from sightseeing, afternoon tea, or after-dinner coffee. Located in the center of the hotel, you walk through Palm Court on your way to Phoenix Restaurant and Terrace. Comfy sofas and chairs are arranged for afternoon tea. The decadent afternoon break includes small sandwiches, pastries, scones, clotted cream, and strawberry preserves. Fourteen looseleaf teas can be enjoyed and are served in a pot. Yes, I’m a tea snob, but I also love those bubbles, so I suggest adding a glass of Champagne to make your Palm Court Tea a sparkling memory.

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The Club Bar has a gallery of fascinating photos. Most are of Phoenicia guests over the years.Photo credit: Phoenicia Malta

The Club Bar

The Club Bar will take you back to the ’50s, or perhaps to the ’40s when RAF personnel spent their leave time in the Phoenicia.

Modern mixology meets classic cocktails in this comfortable cocktail lounge. Be sure to stop for a libation and view the photo gallery of past famous and infamous Phoenicia guests.

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The fabulous view of Triton Fountain in Valletta from Beefbar at the Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Mary Charlebois

Beefbar In The City

Beefbar in the City is exactly what its name implies — a beef bar serving only the finest cuts of beef. You may also choose from a selection of fish and vegetables, or “Beef, Reef, and Leaf,” as the mouthwatering selections are called on the menu.

Like the Phoenix, Beefbar has a terrace with a phenomenal view. Enjoy Triton Fountain and the beautiful plaza away from the madding crowd while sipping a glass of local wine, nibbling a beef kabob, or diving into a tender, juicy steak.

As you walk through the corridors, eateries, and lounges, it’s a bit like a gallery. Paintings, sculptures, and antiques grace the spaces indoors and out. From old-school masters to avant-garde experimenters, many genera are displayed.

The Phoenicia also hosts local and international artists in residence. In addition, changing exhibits are curated several times per year.

activities and interests, destinations, europe, hotels and resorts, malta, the luxurious mediterranean stay that’s hosted queens, princes, and presidents

The back patio of the Phoenicia MaltaPhoto credit: Mary Charlebois

Why Phoenicia Malta?

Mediterranean luxury enfolds you at the Phoenicia. The location, snuggled up against the walls of Valletta, is pure magic. Classic style blends beautifully with modern. The gardens are a sublime escape from the city buzz. Food and libations are a lovely mélange of Maltese and European cuisine. Guest rooms are beautifully furnished with every detail of your comfort and safety in mind. But the number one reason to stay at Phoenicia is the incredible staff. Their attention and service will be the best you experience — anywhere.

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