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“Pretentious, sub-standard design and uncaring”

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The Phoenicia Malta
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in Valletta
Reviewed 27 May 2009

Hotel Phoenicia - I’m sure that the Phoenicia thinks of itself as a wonderful 5* hotel but, apart from one thing, it’s actually a very ordinary hotel, not awful but not outstanding. It’s rooms are smaller than you should expect, leading to oddities like towel racks so far up the wall that you can’t reach the top. The public areas are at first glance generous but they prove to be not useful when you get to the detail. The auditorium for example is furnished with chairs so big that your feet stick straight out in front of you if you sit properly in them. It speaks for the hotel attitude – 90% pretention, 10% customer. The breakfast room is cramped. The staff are not trained in customer care and the more important they think they are, the worse the problem. Getting served is a matter of chance not good systems. The staff are all to happy to air their own problems in front of customers.
To be fair, the incidental prices in the hotel are very reasonable. You can get a good platter for two at lunchtime for ten euros. The exception to the poorly designed facilities in the hotel is the magnificent garden. The hotel sits on a large area in prime Valletta and much of it has been turned over to a wonderful, luxuriant, scented garden which is well cared for. A walk in it, is a holiday experience to die for. At the end of the garden is a heated outside pool, which means you can swim in May.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank John H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlesGM, General Manager at The Phoenicia Malta, responded to this reviewResponded 8 June 2009

Dear Guest,

First and foremost I would like to thank you for staying at Hotel Phoenicia and for submitting your review. I was especially surprised to note your comments regarding the level of customer service you experienced, particularly as this is amongst our highest priority. Thus at the outset I would like to offer my sincere apologies.

I have also noted your comment about the new seating in the Palm Court and I am pleased to advise you that we will soon take delivery of the new cushions for the lounge. These will make the armchairs a lot more comfortable.

On a positive note, I was very happy to learn that you appreciated our gardens. Such greenery is indeed becoming a rarity nowadays, and hence it is a pleasure to learn that you made the best of it. In closing may I thank you once again for your comments, and assure you that we will do our utmost to better meet our guests’ expectations in the future.

Kind Regards,
Charles Azzopardi
General Manager

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Reviewed 16 May 2009

for a special occasion i decided on the phoenicia for its olde worlde charm. it scored high on the olde world charm but for the price i was expecting great service & a nice clean room. the room had seen better days, the walls were dirty, the paint was peeling off them and the bed was falling apart. the swimming pool and gardens are lovely but hotel guests were sadly unable to use them during our stay due a private function.
on a positive note the little bar is fantastic and the bar staff very friendly, not like the reception staff, all the breakfasts are wonderful with an array of choice. only the price reflects 5 star!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank HelenBR2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CharlesGM, General Manager at The Phoenicia Malta, responded to this reviewResponded 18 May 2009

Dear Helen 057,

Thank you for the review of your stay at the Phoenicia. I am pleased to point out that since your stay during September last year, we have made a number of significant changes at the hotel. In March 09, we completed our refurbishment programme for this year. Half the bedrooms have been completely refurbished. We have also refurbished the Palm Court Lounge, the Phoenix and the reception/lobby area. These can be viewed on a number of web sites besides the hotel's web site.

During this period we have also organised extensive training courses for our staff to ensure that the level of service is improved and consistent throughout the hotel. I am pleased that this is already being reflected in very positive reviews since the refurbishment.

I have also noted your comment about the use of the pool and gardens. The pool is available exclusively for in-house guests during the day. When we have evening functions, the setting up is much later in order limit any inconvenience to our guests.

Kind Regards,
Charles Azzopardi
General Manager

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Reviewed 13 May 2009

A very pleasant and comfortable stay at this luxurious hotel, on the doorstep of Valletta gates. The location was very convenient, the staff were courteous and helpful. Despite the recent refurbishments this is still a hotel with old-world feel and a 'grown-up' atmosphere.

My room was on the first floor which had not been re-done. Though small, I liked it. It was simply decorated, clean, and bright. It didn't have a view but I gather other rooms have better ones. Not great for lie-ins in the mornings because you'll probably hear corridor noise or buses at the terminus outside.

Room: Double bed (feather bedding/pillows), built-in wardrobe, chest of drawers, desk & chair, phone, internet connector, coffee table & armchair, free safe, mini-bar (very expensive), tea/coffee facilities (free but apparently no free drinking water to make it with?), hair dryer, bathrobes, trouser press, bedside table and alarm clock, modern TV with lots of channels. And not a great deal of space after all that!

En suite bathroom: clean white tiles, fabulously large square sink, 2 face mirrors, 1 full length mirror, bathtub with shower, toilet, bidet, plenty of towels, soap, shampoo (but no conditioner girls!), shower gel, moisturiser, a couple of other little toiletries.

Food: Buffet breakfast with large array of hot and cold dishes on offer. Hot drinks served to your table. Listing would be redundant and take forever...it's a good breakfast. The Phoenix is the larger restaurant, for more formal dining. Pegasus Brasserie is more informal, but not necessarily more comfortable. Obviously neither of them are going to be cheap places to eat (I was on B&B only) but the food I tried was very good indeed and so didn't feel overpriced. Drinks from the 2 lounge bars however can be surprisingly expensive.

There is computer internet access downstairs but you need to pay for it. The outdoor pool wasn't heated while I was there; I thought that it would be. Shame, because although at some distance from the hotel, it looked very nice and there is a bar etc.

The recent renovations to the Phoenicia were completed by the time of my stay. Apart from all the furniture looking pristine and new, you wouldn't immediately assume that it was a modern refurbishment, because they have tried to keep an Art Deco feel to the public areas and have kept a few of the older features. Personally I think the Palm Court Lounge looks lovely, the new floor is particularly impressive and I love the statue over the bar. The changes seem to have divided opinion among both staff and guests alike. Those who fondly remember the Grand Dame as she was, and those who welcome a fresher new face. Having only seen a few photos of the old look, I can only say that the new one is elegant and comfortable. It just needs to 'settle into itself' and let time do its magic. I hear there may be phase 2 of refurbishment for the remaining rooms but I don't know when this is scheduled for. It may be worth finding out.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled solo
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2  Thank callisto_on_holiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2009

We stayed here as part of our honeymoon - the first week we spent in Gozo and then to reaclimatise ourselves to busy life we stayed in the Phoencia for three days before flying back.

The hotel is definitely old-style chic and we found it mainly to be filled with older people who probably come back year after year. The staff were good and the room we were given was fantastic with superb views.

We didn't eat in the hotel but the bar in the hotel was lovely - it felt like something out of Casablanca!

I'd recommend this hotel for those wanting a city break with a difference!

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank C_MLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2009

The public areas and restaurants have undergone extensive recent refurbishment. It is ideally situated for the bus terminus, which provides the best way of seeing the great variety of towns and villages and attractions on the island. Valetta is bustling in the daytime but is rather quiet at night, so restaurants need to be sought out.

The staff are the hotels finest asset, and are friendly and helpful across the board. A small problem was efficently and courteously dealt with by the management team. The general manager went beyond the call of duty in ensuring we had a fantastic stay, and I will definitely return to this hotel in the future.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PaulJ80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2009

My husband and I have just returned from a week in Valletta at The Hotel Phoenicia. We loved it!!. The hotel is situated at the main entrance gate to The Old City and the main Malta bus terminus. You are right on site for all the wonderful sights to be seen in Valletta. There was a whole lot more then my tourist guide had in it. We will have to go back for another week to see everything in Valletta alone. Being on the doorstop of the bus terminal also gave us easy access to the other places of interest especially Mdina and don't forget to get the bus to the Gozo ferry and travel to the other Island. We were lucky enough to be there for The fireworks festival and had a fabulous view of the proceedngs from our terrace. I have read in other reviews about the newly decorated bedrooms but we were allocated one of the older ones. To be honest this room was as good as you could want: comfortable, clean all the amenities. I could not fault it in any way. Houskeeping knocked twice daily( not that we were there) to see if you needed anything and it was always easy to locate one of the houskeeping staff on the corridor if you did need anything. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming. Particular mention to Mary(houskeeping) and Sebastian, the conceriege who gave advice on restaurants and also saved us a walk by letting us in on the secret to getting to the Grand Harbour quickly - use the lift in the car park facing the hotel, go to level -6 and walk down the well-lit tunnel, turn right and there you are. The only drawbacks are minor. We were in room 229 which although we had a view of the fireworks, we had no sun after early morning. Also as we were side on to the bus terminal, which is a tourist attraction in its own right, it was noisy from around 6.30am. The drivers tend to use their horns a lot and seem to keep their finger on it until the obstacle, usually another bus, has moved. As we sleep with the balcony door open I realise that this made the noise greater but I also looked on it as local life in Valletta and while it did not unduly bother me I can see how some folk would prefer to be on another side of the hotel. As I said these were very minor problems and easily fixed if desired. The buffet breakfast was beautiful and on two days there were homemade cup cakes like mother used to make mmmm!. A must is a stroll in the beautiful hotel gardens, seven acres, and a swim in the pool backing onto the bastions of the old city walls. We explored Malta every day and I always found the Phoenica a haven to return to at the end of a busy day. I highly recommend this hotel.
MB, Dublin, Ireland

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MaryLB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2009

A nice hotel, but I would really argue with the 5-star rating. It's a good 4-star at most - it just doesn't have the facilities you would expect of a five star hotel.

We stayed in one of the renovated rooms, which was nicely done. Reception staff, bar staff and the chamber maids were all really friendly and very good, but the hotel failed on the details. Despite a fairly hefty room rate, the toiletries were very basic, the service in the restaurants not great. On the Saturday we were getting ready to attend a wedding and tried to call for room service. Called twice, waited each time for about 5 minutes. Had to call Reception twice and get transferred from there, finally managed to get hold of someone. The pool area is nice, but if you have bad weather as we did, there is no indoor pool.

From the website, it seemed as though there was a spa so I booked in for treatments to find out that it's not a spa at all, but a rather pokey little room with no door, next to the hairdresser. This makes having a massage fairly pointless as it's not relaxing hearing the chatter and hairdryers going off next to you. It's also right next to a very busy bus terminal which is great if you want to use buses to travel around but not great if you want a lie-in.

We had a really great time all the same though, as we were with our friends and family.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tricker74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Phoenicia Malta

Address: The Mall, Valletta, Island of Malta FRN 1478, Malta
Phone Number:
Region: Malta > Island of Malta > Valletta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Valletta
#3 Luxury Hotel in Valletta
Price Range: £117 - £307 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Phoenicia Malta 5*
Number of rooms: 136
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Phoenicia, just re-opened after an extensive renovation programme, is one of the leading luxury hotels in Malta. Located at the City Gates of Valletta, Malta’s capital city and UNESCO heritage city, The Phoenicia is perfectly placed for discovering the historic walled city, feasting on Caravaggio’s paintings and exploring the magnificent harbours. The hotel also boast magnificent 7 acre landscaped gardens. The island's central bus terminus is just meters away giving the possibility to explore the whole island by bus. A stay at The Phoenicia is an unforgettable experience. Our charming staff will ensure your every whim is catered for. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Phoenicia Hotel Valletta
Phoenicia Hotel Malta
Hotel Phoenicia Malta
The Phoenicia Malta Valletta

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