Malta has over 38,000 guest beds so there is no shortage of places to lay your head. More than half of these beds are in hotels rated four or five star, many of them quite large. Most of the five-star hotels would compare with equivalent resort hotels elsewhere in the world – indeed, many are part of international chains. The four-stars are more of a mixed bag and some would rate three stars in the UK. There are of course cheaper options, as well as a small – but increasing – number of boutique-style places with more individual character and, particularly on Gozo, there are some delightful lower starred hotels and guesthouses.
Things to consider before booking
It is worth bearing in mind that in Malta, a lower star rating will not always mean a cheaper hotel. Many hotels set their prices by occupancy so rates fluctuate on a daily basis. As a general rule, the prices at larger hotels vary more than at smaller ones and it is by no means impossible to find a room in a large five-star hotel costing the same (perhaps even less) than one in a smaller lower-starred establishment so it is worth looking across quite a range of accommodation.
Winter is always cheaper than summer (with the exception of Christmas and New Year). Hotels vary considerably as to when they consider the high season to start and end, and whether they have interim prices for the ‘shoulder’ months, so if you are travelling in the spring or autumn it is particularly worthwhile to check out a variety of options.
Most of the hotels around Mellieha Bay are there because of the 800m sandy beach. They are generally mass-market tourist hotels aimed at those seeking sun and sea and a good swimming pool, rather than culture or history. The four star hotels here are generally not up to four star UK standards – expect a three star with extra facilities and you should be about right.
Past and future
It is just dawning on the Maltese tourist trade that there are visitors who like to stay in smaller hotels in historic settings. Malta has a wealth of such settings and I think there will be some interesting developments in holiday accommodation here over the next few years – I’ll keep you posted!