Not my first visit to the Fortina but definitely my last.
First the good…
Jacuzzi in bedroom with pretty and romantic lighting
Hot tub on terrace
Modern Flatscreen TV (LG)
Lots of fresh towels
Steam room in shower stall
Massage bath (although very difficult to get out of)
Dermalife (good if you like it and don't mind slightly singed parts)
Mini-bar good but only certain things are included (all-inclusive really means nothing of the kind) and restocking requires constant chasing
Lots of storage space
Double sinks in bathroom
Good selection of herbal tea (not Twinings)
Three levels of air con
Sketchy but free wifi access from near the island bar in the garden and around the stair well on the first floor (and in the lobby of the hotel).
Needed a doctor and they were quick to put us in touch with a private GP (65 euros for the callout). Hotel helpfully collected the prescription for us at no charge).
Now the sometimes good...
Rooms are very quiet unless you have the patio doors open onto the garden and there is a power saw running (like there was when we stayed)
Plenty of towels / other supplies although toiletries are cheap / chemically ones
Lime's bar lounge very comfortable - good selection of drinks / cocktails included but huge variability in the competence / training of the bar staff often delivering wildly different versions of the same drink. No soya milk. A couple of tasty non-alcoholic beverages (particularly the honey lemonade).
Now the bad and the ugly...
Tea / coffee facilities are appalling (only instant decaf and no milk of any kind - including UHT - 5 euros for room service milk so had to bring glasses of milk from bar ourselves to benefit from all-inc package)
Hallways are too dimly lit (like being in an Ed Wood movie)
Fit and finish of cupboards etc was very bad (doors that wouldn't open / close properly - badly fitted draws etc...)
Spa is small, dimly lit, difficult to access, has too many features and not enough thought
Half the spa facilities were badly configured / not working
Live cockroach in the shower within the spa
Women's spa changing room in particular reeked of mould (damp)
Bath robes are one-size-only - not good if on the larger side
All inclusive really doesn't mean all-inclusive (crisps in the mini-bar, smoothies at the bar but not smoothies in the room - confusing, inconsistent and often mean-spirited - slice of cake but not iced muffin)
Island bar closed entirety of stay accompanied by incredibly noisy construction mercifully in short bursts. So no chance to use the swim-up bar.
Needed a plaster - it took them nearly an hour to find one (in the 4* hotel in the end) and they had to drop it off at our room - very worrying implications for their first-aid readiness.
Bad made good...
Our first bedroom had a malfunctioning shower so we had to move rooms - they responded very well though and put us in a better room with a terrace and private hot tub in addition to the jacuzzi in the bedroom - plus complimentary massages by way of apology for the inconvenience (it was our honeymoon). The massages were very good although the spa staff struggled with their English language.
Now onto the Restaurants....
All inclusive was not a good deal.
Taste - (buffet) breakfast is a decent selection of food / drink basics (plus some prosecco for those in the mood). Some of the pre-packaged items (yogurts, cereals etc) were very basic / cheap. Chef doing a decent job of providing omlettes, porridge, (pre-made) pancakes and so forth. Gluten free toast available on request.
Taste - lunch / dinner - really good selection of good-to-very-good dishes - large portions - service friendly and good as long as not busy - but falls off rapidly as the restaurant fills. Dessert menu consists of a few basic ice creams, fruit or a selection of horribly cheap, pre-packaged mini-desserts (mini-banoffee pies with horrible cream on the top etc...)
Can Thai - good selection of Chinese / Thai dishes. Low grade meats (water filled chicken). Music so annoying it may force you to eat your own ears rather than having to face it a moment longer. Service was very friendly and helpful with the gluten allergy. The pineapple fried rice was a personal favourite. Desserts obviously shared with Taste.
Hibiki - Tepinyaki only - sadly the full menu / rest of the restaurant had been decommissioned without explanation. Friendly / entertaining chef - nice ingredients and great flavours. Although GF meant plain-everything except for a little tamari. Once again desserts from the freezer.
Saregama has to be booked for lunch. Unbelievably sad process - forced to go to reception, book in and return to restaurant. This process was not written anywhere. Stuff that.
Tigne - great service (including GF advice), appalling food. Mostly tasteless, questionable ingredients, nearly-brown lettuce, simply horrible sautéed veg (remember how your Nan used to make boiled carrot). Dessert selection OK but no GF option barring fruit salad (even the bloody panna cotta apparently had wheat in it). Gelato was on the menu but not available - the chef made a bizarre comment about not having any as he didn't want to 'risk' it. Ordered hot chocolate instead which was likely the worst hot chocolate I've ever had - basically cheap drinking chocolate plus water. No GF bread. Male toilet stank of cigarettes. Nice view. Complimentary sangria.
The italian restaurant made us a gluten free pizza, it was bland and unexciting to the taste buds sadly and same old desserts as everywhere else.
Restaurants have to be booked for dinner though not for lunch (except Saregama) - through concierge who frequently doesn't answer so end up having to hang around in reception for a while and getting printed booking receipts. System desperately in need of an overhaul and some automation.
Pools...we didn't do much swimming...read on to see why...
The Lido pool (and accompanying bar) now has nothing to do with the 5* resort (so we couldn't even get a glass of water without paying for it). That pool now seems to be open to the general public although who knows in practice - it certainly isn't clear from the literature. Seemed like unheated, filtered sea water (certainly salty, anyway, and freezing cold). Great area for sunbathing though.
Garden bar pool also appears to be unheated and is poorly frequented but nicely laid out and in a pleasant enough setting.
Indoor pool behind Thalasso pool - another relic from behind The Iron Curtain - had a broken safety rail at the deep end. My husband unwittingly grabbed it and sunk into the water!
Thalasso therapy - although session was OK, equipment tired, room looks like a relic from a soviet gymnasium (badly finished walls with stains, one source of natural light directly overhead)
Indoor pool in fitness center (didn't use it).
Fitness center - large non-air-con weights room, medium-sized studio with poorly kept equipment (with air-con), two CV areas that look like they've been built by filling a couple of corridors with a random selection of CV machines (both air-con). No water fountain anywhere - just a pay-for drinks dispenser (accident waiting to happen). 20KG olympic lifting bar in such a bad state of repair that its collar slipped and ended up badly injuring my hand.
Pool / gym are free to access. Classes available at additional cost.
I'd say it was a very mixed experience. One of the bonuses of this trip was that the new shopping mall next door was finally finished being built, so if things at the hotel were annoying, you could pop over there - where they have a reasonable supermarket and 30 minutes free wifi in the centre.
It certainly wasn't worth the huge amount we paid. Had we paid about half that amount, I'd certainly be a little less dissatisfied.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in central Sliema, adjoining Malta’s trendiest shopping complex (The Point) offering the largest choice of fashion & designer outlets, the Fortina Spa Resort is Malta’s newest 17 storey 5 star hotel. The resort faces south with magnificent views of Valletta’s bastion walls across the water and is home to the World’s 1st Therapeutic Spa bedrooms. It is the ideal hotel to indulge in a numerous variety of Spa treatments, excellent cuisines from around the world and one of the best locations on the island. Restaurants :- Taste Restaurant (Vietnamese & Mediterranean Cuisine)CanThai (Chinese & Thai Cuisine)Momo’s Ristorante Tigne (Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine)Il Giardino PizzeriaSaReGaMa (Authentic Indian Cuisine)Moroboshi (Japanese Cuisine)Bars Limes Bar (indoor)Island Bar (outdoors – weather permitting)Swimming Pools :-Outdoor Garden Pool and separate Splash Pool2 Indoor Swimming PoolsSpa Centres(see descriptions below)Thalasso Spa MediterraneeSpa Sante Belle Epoque Beauty CentreHypogeum Body, Mind & Spirit CentreOther facilities Conference facilities Fully Equipped Fitness Centre 24 hour room serviceAdded Value For All Our Guests :-Cruise of Malta’s Historical Grand HarbourUnlimited access to Fortina Fitness Centre ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fortina Hotel Sliema
- Fortina Hotel Malta
- Fortina Resort
- Hotel Fortina
- Fortina Spa Resort Malta/Sliema