It is questionable whether this hotel should have been given planning permission on this historically sensitive site (though there was a smaller hotel here already) but now that it is here, it provides much-needed top-end accommodation for Valletta. In fact, it more than doubles the capital’s five-star accommodation (the only other hotel in this category being the more traditional Phoenicia).
The Grand Excelsior is built as an extension of Valletta’s sixteenth century bastion walls so, whilst technically outside Valletta, access is quick and easy. The hotel sits on the shores of Marsamxett Harbour where it has its own marina: yachties arriving in their own boat can step ashore straight into the hotel.
Its 439 rooms and suites (five suitable for disabled guests) are mostly exceptionally spacious with comfortable business-like furnishings, large beds and fluffy white duvets in winter. Most have wide French windows opening onto a large balcony overlooking Marsamxett Harbour and the lights of Sliema, perhaps with a side view of the fortifications of Valletta. No danger of feeling cooped up here. Well served with internet technology too.
Expansive and modern, a little gaudy in places. Vast fields of marble and carpet lit by large chandeliers. Very open plan – with the foyer becoming the bar overlooking the restaurant which has huge plate glass windows offering panoramic views over the harbour – especially attractive at night. The ballroom/conference room is vast enough for almost any event, although the carpet is a bit psychedelic for my taste.
Eating and drinking
The best breakfast in Malta – actually the best buffet breakfast I have had anywhere, with start-of-the-day foods from across the world. Admiral’s Landing Restaurant serves an a la carte menu of modern European cuisine – in my experience both imaginative and delicious - while Spice Island offers themed buffets with a more Asian flavour.
The large indoor swimming pool is open 24 hours a day and Le Grand Spa offers a sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy bath along with a range of spa treatments. Outside is a broad terrace with outdoor pool, and summer bar/eatery looking down on the harbour and up at the bastion walls of Valletta – fabulous when floodlit at night.
Uniformed staff very keen to please. Attentive and generally efficient – and there is even free ironing and internet access.
Who stays there
Business people, tourists, yachties and occasionally archaeologists (who get a discount).
Prices vary considerably. Cheapest in winter. Archaeologists get a very good special price.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Families with teenagers
- Escaping the crowds
- Great views / scenery
Pros & Cons
- Some decor won't suit all tastes