The Palace review on Mostly Food Journal

As stated on the Mostly Food Journal – Sliema is the main coastal resort on Malta. That will cause many of my readers to click away from this article but I beg you to read on and become enlightened about a real hidden gem of the Med.

Sliema is indeed the most prominent holiday location on the island. If you haven’t already visited then you will assume that this will be a predictable island holiday “haven”, with its dubious waterfront punctuated by tacky tourist bars, tackier souvenirs, full English breakfasts and a 12hour-long “happy” hour. Yes, we have all been to those well-known holiday ghettos, and there are many of us who do not wish a speedy return.malta hotel review

Now consider those other resort towns of the style of, say, Nice or Le Lavandou in France. They offer class, flair mixed with a certain joie de vivre. Well it’s rather like that in this corner of Malta. It’s very traditionally Maltese but it also oozes a little je ne sais quoi …or whatever that is in Maltese. Sliema attracts the well-travelled and well-heeled strata of Maltese society as well as the international set, and it’s the neighbourhood of The Ferries where the fashionable shops and boutiques can be found, so bring your gold card.

This is a real town where the locals honestly do live. It’s a busy place with its boundary with the sea being the celebrated Strand, where you will be able to indulge in some high-end retail therapy as well as enjoy some of best food around. The wide promenade offers views to the capital, Valletta, a short distance away. That’s another advantage with Malta: nothing is far away. The promenade overlooks a flat rocky beach and two swimming pool lidos for the sun worshippers, although Malta offers so much more even in cool weather. You will never be short of things to do: amazing fish to try, places to go, superb wine to sample, churches to visit, delicious food to linger over, boat-rides to take, Maltese nibbles to graze upon…

So you have been enticed by glowing descriptions of Malta’s equally glowing honey-coloured stone, malta hotel reviewand you have made up your mind that Sliema will be your destination; but you will need a place to stay. Sleeping on a beach is frowned on and anyway you are too old for all that. You are looking for one of the best hotels around in which to relax and be pampered, not very far from your comfort zone of some very decent retail therapy. Book yourself into The Palace.

I confess that I had not done my homework before arriving at The Palace. The name sounded grand but I travelled with more hope than expectation. Was this going to be a monument to faded glory? I knew that Malta has history percolating through every stone so this could be a very old “palace” indeed.

It was with some relief that I discovered that The Palace is 5-star, and it’s easy to see why. It’s newish, contemporary, well-appointed and most importantly, friendly. The lobby is marble-clad, leather-lounged and chandelier-ceilinged, with two restaurants and two computers that really do offer instant internet access – although there is wifi in all the rooms, for those who tote a laptop or pad.

But I wasn’t staying in Reception and I yearned for a cosy room to call my own for a few nights. A long hot bath and some pillows that didn’t have the name of an airline embroidered all over. My room was on the 7th floor and had a view over the rooftops to the sea. The private balcony would have been a magnet for me and a book, had the weather cooperated.

Plenty of hanging space, a TV and a desk were all 5-star standard, along with a mini-bar and tea-making facilities so discretely hidden that I malta hotel review didn’t find them until the second night! And the bed was 6 stars at least – well, OK you will say that it was just the sense of fatigued desperation that made that substantial and fluffy cloud so appealing …but it seemed just as attractive the next morning when I tried, reluctantly, to lift my by now thoroughly rested back from those cotton sheets.

The bathroom was one of the best I have recently graced. A proper bath and a selection of eminently stealable toiletries were the focus on the first night, but the morning found me wandering the vastness of the shower. Deep joy. I can never resist bathrooms that are bigger than my house.

The Palace has a spa for those who prefer to be less dormant than this reviewer, and this is spread over three levels, offering a fresh-water indoor pool, an outdoor pool and a fitness room. There is a battery of spa treatments and a range of products to suit all skin types. Hotel guests can also use the tennis courts and squash courts at the nearby Union Club.

The Tabloid restaurant offers a very substantial breakfast buffet. Yes, OK, so one would expect a good spread. The Palace is 5-Star after all. But this was a rather positive start to the day, morning foods to tempt any sleepy palate and I do love a good, leisurely and peaceful brekkie. Lots of hot goods on offer and these included some Maltese specialities such as local sausages and cheese-filled pastries. A good selection of sweet breads to go along with some coffee for those with Gallic leanings. Fresh fruit in abundance because I wanted to be worthy, and a few cakes to follow. Yes, a well-balanced breakfast for this reviewer.

I am lucky enough to be able to spend time in 5-star hotels all over the world and The Palace is up there with the best. It has all the amenities that one would expect but the location and the quality of staff are unique to the Palace. I only have one regret and that is that I missed visiting their TemptAsian restaurant on the 9th floor. This is said to be one of the foremost pan-Asian restaurants in the whole of Europe. That’s not a bad accolade when one considers the standard of the competition. I guess a return to The Palace is in order.

Mostly Food Journal

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