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“Calypso's Seduction” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maria Giovanna Guest House

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Maria Giovanna Guest House
Ranked #1 of 5 Marsalforn B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Charleston, West Virginia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Calypso's Seduction”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 October 2010

In ancient Greek times the island of Gozo was known as Ogygia, the island where Ulysses met the nymph Calypso, who promised him immortality if only he would stay with her for eternity. Well, Calypso still lives today in the form of one Maria Bugeja, whose cooking is so wonderful that it took me four days to pull myself away from Ogygia.

Maria and her husband Joseph own the Maria Giovanni Guest House which they run along with their twin daughters Anna and Sonya. Their hospitality extended to us even before we arrived. Marsalforn, where their place is located , is on the opposite side of the island from the port where we arrived by ferry from Malta. Anna's (or was it Sonya's) husband Victor (the local banker) drove across the island and picked us up. Affable and congenial, he shared his extensive knowledge of Gozo's history while pointing out some of the sights of the island. Once settled into our rooms, Maria offered several suggestions for dinner (she needed to know early so she could go buy fresh ingredients). Maria cooks exclusively for her guests; you cannot just walk in off the street and dine there. How to capture the essense of her meals? Have you ever lived so far from your parents, that it is an uncommon event for you to see them? And when you do make it home, your mother prepares all of your favorite dishes? I felt that way with every meal that Maria prepared. I felt the urge, after dinner, to carry my dirty dishes into the kitchen and clean them myself. The first taste I had of her cooking was rabbit (traditional Maltese fare) and I knew instantly that it had been simmering on the stove for hours. Everything she made was lovingly prepared. No matter where I was on the island during the day, I always made it home for dinner.

It is rare to stay at a place where you don't feel like you are "staying at a place". The Bugejas don't offer the comforts of home, they provide home itself. Maria, Joseph, Anna, and Sonya, thank you for sharing your lives with me during my brief stay.

Stayed June 2010, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank reedcf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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448 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Manningtree, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2010

It is difficult to sufficiently praise this Marsalforn Guest house. Nothing is too much trouble for every member of the Bugeja family owners, from collecting you from the ferry on arrival, to offering to collect your glasses from the local optician. The guest house is immaculate with an 'old world charm'. The rooms are large with excellent shower rooms.The breakfasts are 'to die for' with fresh fruit, cooked options, cake etc. The authentic evening meals are super, better than any restaurant and served with a smile. Go and stay and you will be at home you can even make yourself a cup of tea when you like and there is usually homemade cake to accompany it..

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank diving12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 September 2010

We just returned from a wonderful Malta holiday, having stayed for three (3) nights at the charming and lovely Maria Giovanna Guest House in Gozo. We selected the Maria Giovanna Guest House based on recommendation in the Lonely Planet, all the great reviews on Trip Advisor, location and price. And indeed, the Maria Giovanna is everything and so much more. We were not disappointed at all. It is quite possibly, the best guest house in Malta, in Europe and quite possibly, beyond!

RESERVATION & PICK-UP:

- We booked online via their website and right from the start, we knew that staying at Maria Giovanna would be an exceptional experience. Sonia (one of the sisters running the guesthouse) was prompt and friendly in her replies and messages. The personal emails welcoming us to our “home” for three (3) nights in Gozo was great.
- Pick up from the ferry terminal was on-time perfect as promised and we were picked up by Sonia’s husband, Victor and their sweet 12-year old son, Christiano. Victor was very friendly and personable and greeted us like family!

ARRIVAL & CHECK-IN:

- Upon arrival, we were greeted at the door by Sonia who was equally warm and friendly. We also met Sonia’s dad, Joe who is very charming and welcoming.
- The guesthouse is very well cared for, lovingly upgraded with a new lift / elevator and cozy / homey furnishings. It really does feel like staying in a family’s home!
- Sonia informed us that since the family lives directly across the guesthouse, they are available anytime should we needed any help or assistance. That was really great and comforting to know.
- Sweet little Christiano helped us to our rooms, helping to bring one of our suitcases by himself (remember, he’s only 12 years old and the suitcase was as big / tall as him!) and telling us about the amenities in the room. He’s adorable.

BEDROOM:

- Our bedroom was large and spacious, with a big wrought-iron canopy bed and a smaller single bed with two (2) bedside table lamps which was nice for reading in bed.
- The décor is rustic, warm and quite cozy. In addition, there was a large wooden bench with cushions, a very large armoire, wooden trunk / chest and wooden. Plenty of storage space.
- The bathroom is newly upgraded with extra large rainfall shower head which was nice. Water pressure and water temperature was perfect at all times.
- Unfortunately, our bed was rather hard and not very comfortable to sleep in. (It was actually rather painful to roll over in!). Next time, we will request a room with a bed with a bit softer cushion, or not so firm at least. That’s just a personal preference of ours.
- There is a terrace with 2 chairs and we had a view of the sea front, a matter of a few seconds to stroll from the front door of the guesthouse. It was really lovely.
- There is also air con but we did not need it as the air was fresh just by opening the door to the terrace. If you need it, they will provide you with a remote control for it.

FREE WI-FI:

- There is free Wi-Fi throughout the guesthouse including in the bedroom. The wireless is stable and the signal is strong so bring your laptops, iPods, iPads and wireless devices if you need to!

GUESTHOUSE HOMEMADE DINNER:

- We arrived on a Saturday and lucky for us, Maria (Sonia and Anna’s mother) was cooking dinner that night. When Anna (who is equally warm and kind as her twin sister) asked us if were would be interested in a typical traditional Gozitan meal cooked by her mom, we did not hesitate for one moment. Having stayed at privately owned guesthouses all over the world, we know that home-cooked food is often the best and we were not disappointed!
- I was especially impressed by the fact that Anna asked us if we had any food allergies. This is a very important detail that is so often overlooked by those working in the restaurant and hospitality business and can lead to disaster if not taken into consideration. Of course, no detail is overlooked at the Maria Giovanna!
- Dinner was a 3-course dinner prepared lovingly by Maria, consisting of: a spaghetti Bolognese starter, followed by a main dish of traditional Maltese braglioni (savory stuffed beef rolls braised in red wine sauce) with potatoes and a dessert of either homemade tiramisu or cheesecake. Traditional Maltese bread and really delicious garlic butter (with lots of garlic just like we like it!) served alongside as well. The whole family was there helping with the dinner, with Maria popping in and out of the kitchen to make sure all the diners were happy (which we all were) and on one occasion, she noticed that we did not have enough of her delicious braglioli sauce, she quickly went back straight away into to the kitchen to bring us some more. Yep, just like mom does for us whenever we’re home with the family for dinner or the holidays!
- Dinner was absolutely perfect from start to finish and we were only disappointed in the fact that Maria does not cook for the guests every evening. So when she does, it’s a one of a kind occasion that is NOT to be missed. If she did cook every night, we would have surely have loved to enjoy her cooking for every dinner in Gozo and if possible, I would love to take cooking lessons from her as well.

GUESTHOUSE HOMEMADE BREAKFAST:

- Breakfast is equally as delicious, with homemade cakes, pastries and sweets made by Maria of course. You can also have a hot breakfast as well if you like, either scrambled eggs on toast or a fried egg on toast with English bacon and delicious plump warm tomatoes on the side. We were already greatly impressed with the selection of cold breakfast items (yogurt, cereals, fresh fruits, homemade pastries and cakes, etc) but the hot breakfast option was really beyond our expectation.
- Also, you get a choice of espresso, cappuccino, tea (big teapot) or coffee (big coffeepot) as well as orange juice as well. Truly amazing food and unparalleled hospitality.

IDEAL LOCATION:

- The guesthouse is ideally located, mere steps from the ocean front and plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, ATM machine, bus stop, market (as well as daily fruit truck), dive centers, etc. It really is perfectly located.

EXCELLENT SERVICE & HOSPITALITY:

- Indeed, I can echo *all*of the other reviews on TripAdvisor and state emphatically that staying at this guesthouse is like staying with your own family (i.e., the family that you like and get along with of course!).
- All your needs and requirements are anticipated and met and if anything is needed or is amiss (which nothing was for us), Sonia and Anna will make sure that it’s taken care of.
- The whole Bugeja family really goes over and above the call of duty to make sure that your stay is as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Our only disappointment was having to leave the guesthouse and Gozo after such a lovely and memorable stay with the Bugeja family.

CHECK-OUT AND FERRY TRANSFER:

- The day before our departure, we inquired with Sonia about arrangements to the ferry as well as transport directly to the airport in Malta. She arranged everything for us straight away and without any problem or complication whatsoever. Joe (her father) drove us to the ferry which was nice though it was a bit sad to say farewell.
- It’s the authentic personal “family” treatment that makes all the world of difference in travel.

GUESTHOUSE PLUSES:

+ All of the above as described and all the other reviews and recommendations as well.

GUESTHOUSE MINUSES & SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:

- None. If only we could rate this guest house 10 stars, we most certainly would. If only all hotels, hostels, B&Bs and guesthouses all over the world were as lovely as the Maria Giovanna!

SUMMARY:

The TripAdvisor reviews, comments and personal experience all speak the truth. The Bugeja family runs the best guest house in Gozo. Overall, we really enjoyed our stay in Gozo and especially so given the fact that we were guests at the Maria Giovanna Guest House. We highly recommend the Maria Giovanna Guest House for any traveler who is interested in a memorable experience of staying at genuine family guesthouse in Gozo.

Many, many heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Sonia, Anna, Maria, Joe and the entire Bugeja family for a wonderful experience!

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mrs_VL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 September 2010

We chose this guesthouse on the basis of tripadvisor reviews and it lived up to expectations. Great location, great guesthouse and great breakfasts in the morning...

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank weefifer38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 September 2010

We spent six days backpacking in Malta, spending the first two nights in a guest house in Valletta before catching the ferry over to Gozo and staying three nights at Maria Giovanna guest house. We booked the hotel primarily because of the excellent reviews on trip advisor as we generally use this site to research our hotels.

We are delighted to say this is the best place we have ever stayed. It is not a bland, corporate, faceless hotel chain but one of the most hospitable, family-run b&b's you'll ever find. On arrival we were warmly welcomed by the family, and from then on nothing was too much trouble, whether it was showing us walking routes, giving us maps, recommending places to go, buses etc. Our bedroom was beautifully simple and charming, with ample space to hang your clothes, a lovely rain shower and a gorgeous ornate poster bed. There was a hat stand outside our bedroom with plenty of hats should you need to borrow one (as I did). It was the small touches that made it such a lovely place to stay.

The breakfast room was very charming, with rustic decor and a delicious spread of fresh bread, fruit, yoghurts whilst cooked breakfast was also available. There is also a nice seating area in the foyer which we retreated to several evenings after a long day to read a book and unwind.

Overall it is the nicest place we have ever stayed and certainly the most memorable. So why not see for yourself?

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 1884
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2010

I stayed here with my mum so It was important to me that standards were high. I was not disappointed. The family wlecomed us with open arms, so much more personnal than a BIG HOTEL. The accomodation was excellent, new and clean with good air-con, private bathroom and balcony. The food was great. 30 steps to the beach and there was no street noise. fantastic. I'm booking in there again for next year.
PS. It seems most of thier business is from referrals and they actually ask people to put comments on this site. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.
Highly Recommended.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Steve D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hertford, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2010

We stayed a week at this guesthouse and were welcomed and treated like one of the family. They couldn't have been more helpful or kind. There was a place for us to hang any washing, a space for us if we wanted food in the fridge. We could get our own lunches and eat them there.
The room was beautiful and had the best air conditioning unit we have ever experienced (useful in the heat of the summer.)
The breakfasts were also amazing, so much home baking, fruit, cooked breakfast if you wanted it, and there was lots for me to eat on a diary and wheat free diet. On some nights the family cooked an evening meal for the guests, and this was the best food that we tasted out of our whole holiday.
We really can't say how much we enjoyed our stay, we didn't want to leave.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sarahpem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Maria Giovanna Guest House

Property: Maria Giovanna Guest House
Address: Rabat Road, Marsalforn, Island of Gozo MFN 9010, Malta
Region: Malta > Island of Gozo > Marsalforn
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Marsalforn
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Maria Giovanna, a typical Maltese town house, elegantly furnished 15-bedroom guest house offering a warm yet family atmosphere. It is run with care just like a personal home. Antique furniture, modern design and comforts melt to create this peaceful atmosphere. All bedrooms are set in a rustic style with romantic brass/iron beds. Each bedroom enjoys a fresh shower equipped with a hairdryer. Situated in an excellent location in Marsalforn. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maria Giovanna Guest House Hotel Marsalforn
Maria Giovanna Guest House Island Of Gozo, Malta - Marsalforn

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