We have recently returned from yet another wonderful family holiday at this fantastic hotel. You can see why people are frequent return guests – from the moment we arrived we were treated like old friends by staff who have remained with this hotel since we first started using it nine years ago (this says a great deal about the hotel’s ethos in keeping and retaining happy staff). Unlike so many five star luxury hotels, the Westin avoids the pomposity or stuffiness so often encountered in these establishments: it prefers to be discreet, calm and friendly, but there are also ‘characters’ at this hotel (Tony, Malcolm and Elton you know who you are!) that you can share a joke with, and if you are really lucky, they might even teach you some Maltese!
Our seventh floor room was spotlessly clean and very comfortable. It commanded superb sea views and was conveniently located for the Royal Beach Club Lounge on the eighth floor. It is well worth paying the extra to access this amenity for not only can you enjoy pre-dinner drinks and the wonderful ambience of the roof terrace to watch the sun set, but you can also take breakfast there. Whilst the terrace restaurant offers a delightful setting for breakfast and may be more suited for people with younger children, the Royal Beach Club Lounge is more intimate and has the added advantage of possessing three computers – a real boon when you have a teenage daughter suffering from Facebook withdrawal symptoms!
The facilities of this hotel are fantastic and there is something for everyone: There are two main outdoor pools – the nearest to the hotel is the Bay View which is a large freshwater pool that has disabled access. This part also contains a children’s splash pool, two Jacuzzis and leads on to a sheltered sunbathing area directly by the sea with easy access for swimming in the St Georges’ Bay. From here you can also book a variety of water sports. The other main outdoor pool is the large rectangular Reef Club which is set slightly away from the hotel and is facing the sea and St Julian’s/Sliema sea front. This pool is a mix of fresh and salt water and is great for swimming lengths due to its above average size. There is a larger children’s pool here and a covered sunbathing area so that babies or those who dislike too hotter sun can keep out of it. There is a further sea front sunbathing area that follows the shore line (so no cramming everyone up too close to each other) and a small sheltered inlet and beach which is fantastic for younger children learning to snorkel (my nine year old son loved snorkelling here and felt safe watching small fish including a shoal of tetras). My older daughter loved the sea swimming too and there are several safe access points into the sea, however, she equally loved feeling that bit more sophisticated by sitting in the Bedouin Bar under the cool, white muslin panelled seating areas sipping a cold coke, listening to music and talking with new found friends.
There is something very special about this hotel – the architecture is pleasing on the eye and because of its position, it feels slightly set apart from the hurly-burly of St. Julians, although it is a very short and easy walk to lots of good restaurants, shops and busses that can take you around the island or to the main town, Valletta. There are a wealth of hidden areas within the hotel and its grounds that you can go in order to escape including the tranquil sunken Mediterranean garden with its pretty bougainvillea and ornate fountains. However, in order to be ‘special’ there has to be something greater than the facilities and position, which this hotel most definitely has – part of the special quality also has to belong to the caring nature of the staff and management, an example of this being when my husband lost his wallet after eating out at a restaurant in St.Julians. The Duty management team that night (Jonathan Borg and Maria) were superb, calmly ensuring that cards were cancelled, that we had enough money to enjoy the rest of our stay and then running my husband down to the police station to report the loss (I cannot think of many hotels that would give such a helpful and personal service).
Whilst this hotel has good conferencing and business facilities, it manages to comfortably span two different aspects of hotel usages without compromising one over the other. We suspect this is down in part to the good management of Mr Kamsky, the General Manager, who, whilst being a good businessman and maintaining a keen interest in the running of the hotel, is also a family man and has the family and their enjoyment very much at his heart. He is keen to listen to you and his hands on approach very much impressed us.
Our only point of criticism is that there has always been a cocktail party to meet the new guests and management once a week which has now been dropped. Part of the reason for going to an hotel over, say a Villa, is to meet up with other like-minded people. Whilst some may not like socialising, it is always nice to have the opportunity and this was a lovely ice-breaker and a way of meeting other guests.
Despite this minor criticism, this is a lovely hotel and we cannot recommend it enough. We have mentioned that there is something extraordinary about this place which keeps it very dear to our hearts. It has a unique character which cannot be achieved by setting and furnishings alone.
Malta is the kind of place that gets under yor skin: the sun, the sea, the history, the people and of course The Westin Dragonara are all truly compelling.
Over the years we have met and befriended several other guests who,like us,return year after year and we all hope that The Dragonara never changes its unique formula!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Suffused with the clear stillness of our refreshing seaside location, The Westin Dragonara Resort is a place where nothing matters except your delight. The resort rests on its 74,000 square metre peninsula like a crown jewel, with the azure waters of the Mediterranean lapping against two private beach lidos, their outdoor pools, gorgeous views and direct access to the sea. Recharge in our WestinWORKOUT® gym. Entertainment abounds, with diving, watersports, and Malta’s historic casino ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta Hotel Saint Julian`s
- Westin Dragonara Resort Malta
- Westin Dragonara Hotel Malta
- Dragonara Resort Malta
- Westin Saint Julian's
- Saint Julian's Westin
- Westin Dragonara Malta