I recently arrived on the tiny island of Malta, located just 90 miles south of Sicily in the middle of the Mediterranean.
I had visited the island on several occasions, first as a photographer assigned to Cambridge University’s archaeological team during the excavation of St. Agatha’s Catacombs, and then again when I contemplated retiring there in the early 2000’s. The only thing I excavated on this occasion was my wife Rose.
This trip was to further work on my latest book, a sequel to “In the Image of His God” a historic fiction based in Malta.
I chose the Radisson BLU Hotel situated at St. Julians Bay, about a 20 minute drive from the capitol Valletta. My check in went extremely smoothly and we were soon comfortably settled into out top floor room over looking the magnificent Dragonara Casino jutting out as it does into the bay.
I had been told my room had a fridge – an essential ingredient for me. True enough there it was, but try as I might I was unable to open it! To my amazement I was informed that the door to my fridge was controlled from the reception desk! Not only that but anything removed from the stock of goodies therein was immediately recorded on my account automatically.
I considered myself well traveled and I have stayed quite recently in some of the most modern 5 star properties but this was the first time I had encountered anything like this! I requested that the contents be removed as was my normal action and the hotel quickly complied with my request. I was immediately able to install some medications and of course my precious Diet Coke.
Over the course of our stay absolutely every request was immediately granted with a smile and in a manor that made us feel that they were delighted to be of service. Unlike so many brand name establishment that I have stayed in where you were made to feel that they were doing you a favor in letting you stay there.
Though much in Malta is reasonably priced this certainly doesn’t apply to any of the restaurants in the most popular tourist areas. The hotel boasted three dining options, one of which was a 24hr bistro/coffee shop where prices ranged from just over € 5.00 ($6.50) for their Soup of the Day to the most expensive dish around €24.00 ($31.00).
It didn’t take us long to discover that not only were the prices 30% cheaper than any of the local Café’s, the service was impeccable and the atmosphere equal to what one would expect from a 5 star establishment.
Another surprise came when I enquired about the use of my laptop. Free wireless internet access is available throughout the hotel.
I’m sure there were things to complain about (come to think of it Beer was expensive; I was told and a Diet Pepsi was €2.50 ($3.25) and to my disgust there was NO Coka-Cola!
Oh well I guess there is no such thing as a perfect hotel.
Enjoy you travels, and pick your Hotel wisely!
Dr. Peter J. Shield PhD (http://maltaheritage.com )