The Hotel Pheonicia is the jewel in Valletta’s crown. The first five-star hotel to open in Malta’s capital city under British rule in the thirties, Phoenicia has retained a quintessentially English flavour that pervades the property, from the cavernous Art Deco piano bar to the marble ballroom where the then Princess Elizabeth danced in 1949 and the afternoon tea on offer at the Palm Court Lounge.
Relax in impossibly deep leather chairs in the exclusive confines of The Club Bar, sip an expertly made Negroni and peruse the vintage photographs or saunter through the seven acres of kitchen and tropical gardens – a rarity on such a small island – to the Bastion Pool Deck to survey the coastal delights of Marsamxett Harbour.
The centre of Valletta and the bus station are a stone’s throw away and the staff, who manage to be personable without being stuffy, are on hand 24 hours a day for information on anything from transport to restaurants and local tipples. I stayed in a standard room, which was perfectly comfortable and well-proportioned. More cash gets you a room higher up with a better view and your own balcony. Rates start from £150