A few minutes walk from the centre of the village of San Lawrenz, with its traditional church square of soft Gozitan limestone set off by remnants of British colonial days – a blue lantern marking the tiny police station and a red letter box. The blacksmith's door is often open and there is one very good restaurant and a small village store.
Close to the hotel on the other side is the Ta’ Dbiegi Craft Centre, the main source of craftwork and souvenirs on the island. There are good walks in the area, including down to the coast at Dwejra with its interesting rock formations, Knights’ tower, boat trips and snorkelling. The hotel provides a courtesy bus a couple of times a day into the capital Victoria and to the beach. If you really want to explore, a car is helpful, especially outside the summer season when buses are less frequent.
Spacious and airy with tiled floors and good-sized balconies overlooking the pool area or surrounding countryside. The rooms are designed to stay cool even in a hot summer and have both fans and air conditioning. In winter you may need to ask for extra bedclothes (which will be immediately provided). Floors are tiled, beds large and comfortable – and rather than a chocolate at bedtime, you get a ‘quote of the day’ bookmark on your turned-down sheet each night. The only downside is that the sound-proofing between rooms and corridors could be better.
Extensive and stylish with décor a successful mix of traditional and modern, using lots of local limestone. Long, broad limestone corridors lead to the rooms which are all on the garden side of the hotel. The interior blends pleasantly into the exterior where thatched walkways wind through peaceful landscaped gardens and around the swimming pools.
Eating and drinking
There are three restaurants. L’Ortolan serving excellent modern Mediterranean food, Italian Trattoria San Lawrenz and, in summer, the Gazebo restaurant in the garden. For those having serious Ayervedic treatment (see leisure facilities below) the chef at L’Ortolan also produces the prescribed food. There are two bars – a comfortable lounge bar inside and a pool bar in summer. Beware: Gozo goes to bed early in winter and you may not be able to get a drink at the bar after 10.30pm.
The three outdoor pools (unheated) each have designated users: one is reserved for owners of the Kempinski apartments, one aimed at kids and families, while the nicest is for hotel guests aged 13+. The truly spoiling spa, recently fully refurbished, offers a wide range of treatments from Ayervedic (overseen by an Indian specialist) to aphrodisiac (!) via all sorts of facials and massages. The large indoor swimming pool is large and bright and wonderfully warm in winter (no children under two and other children only at certain times). There are also two tennis courts, two squash courts and a gym.
Generally five star – friendly, helpful and personal.
Who stays there
Tourists: couples, some families (mainly in summer), adult friends, occasional guests of the government, spa-lovers and those seeking Ayervedic treatment. Also occasional conference delegates and business incentive groups.
There can be some good deals in winter.
- Escaping the crowds
Pros & Cons
- All round five star option
- Not by the sea