“ Hotel in St Julians, Malta. „
I stayed here with my boyfriend in September this year for 10 nights in a Junior Suite. I booked almost a year in advance at a time when the hotel was offering reduced rates. I booked directly with the hotel using the online facility which was easy to use and a confirmation email was sent to reassure me that the booking was made. I chose this hotel because it looked modern and was located well in St Julian's - which was where we had decided we would like to stay.
I was aware that the hotel had only been open around 1 year but was reassured by various positive reviews on tripadvisor that it had found its feet well after a few teething problems when first opening.
I have been to Malta on several occasions - I won't spoil this review by going into masses of detail about Malta but I can say in my opinion it is beautiful island with extremely good (hot) weather and plenty of interesting places to visit.
On average the price for the Junior Suite in September is Euro99 per night but we paid roughly Euro80 per night as the rates were reduced at the time of booking. (possibly because the hotel was still quite new at this stage) For a Standard room the rate is roughly Euro85 per night.
The hotel is located in St Julians within a district called Paceville, having been to Malta several times before I was aware of the fact that Paceville happens to be the main clubbing area in Malta and houses a strip of bars aimed at young people. We're fairly young ourselves but not really into these kind of bars, especially on a relaxing holiday, so I was slightly worried about noise from the bars and overspill of kids on the streets. Fortunately this wasn't an issue, the hotel was set significantly apart from the main bar area, and although we did see and hear a few young people on their way to and from the bars, we weren't aware of being in this area at all.
The hotel was easy to get to from Malta Airport - it was a 20 minute taxi transfer which we booked upfront with www.holidaytaxis.com and cost us just Euro25 for a return journey. It was also only a 5 minute walk to the nearest major bus stop and just a few minutes walk from the main restaurant area in St Julians and the beautiful harbour.
A hire car isn't a must for this area as it is close to major bus stops which can take you to everywhere in Malta, however I must warn anyone reading that despite upgrading to modern Ariva buses, the Maltese bus system is very unreliable. We were waiting for up to an hour for some buses to arrive which was very frustrating. At times we really wished we had opted for a hire car!!
We stayed in a Junior Suite but there were also Courtyard Rooms (standard rooms), Deluxe Rooms and Penthouse Suites. As you will see above in the prices section the rates for the normal rooms don't differ that much from the Junior Suite which is why we decided to go for this type of room.
The room was big and had a bedroom area with a double bed and 2 bedside tables, a dressing area with dressing table, chair and television and also a living area with a sofa, chair and table. These areas were all combined effectively into one space. The room looked extremely modern and trendy, which we were really pleased with. The majority of the furniture and fabrics were whites and greys, giving a simplistic modern look. The bed was comfortable and a generous number of pillows were provided as well as an actual duvet (a thin one) which is quite unusual in warm countries like Malta. The bedside tables each had their own lamp and also had a drawer which was useful for books/magazines/phone charger etc. There was a spacious wardrobe in the room which had several hangers and also an electronic safe which was easy to use.
The sofa and chair in the living area were modern looking, although not particularly comfortable to sit on. But this didn't bother us too much as we didn't spend much time in this area. We were on the fourth floor of the hotel so had a balcony which included 2 chairs and a table. Unfortunately the chairs were made of wood which hadn't been treated too well so the colour was literally running off them! I made the mistake of leaving my white beach bag to dry on one of the chairs and realised the next day that the wood had stained the bag : ( Despite this we enjoyed sitting out on the balcony in the evening and even had a glimpse of the sea from our room, although the overall view was of surrounding buildings.
The room had one bathroom which consisted of a toilet, sink with huge mirror and spacious area around it for toiletries etc and a wet room style shower, but with a glass screen. The shower was powerful and worked well, but unfortunately the wet room concept didn't work too well as the shower floor wasn't sloped enough so the water would come flooding out onto the bathroom floor if you weren't careful. The solution was to have the shower on a low power setting which was a bit annoying!
Overall we were really happy with the room but we did notice a few small problems which seemed to be more building related. There were several cracks in the ceiling, one of which would leave a dusting of white powder on the dressing table (making it look like we had been using illegal substances in the room lol!!)
Other features in the room were the mini bar, which was actually empty and the idea was that you order in things for it from a list when required. It was also made clear that you can feel free to use the fridge for your personal drinks etc. So that came in handy for our bottles of water etc. There was also a full length mirror in the room which I was really pleased about as I like to be able to have a proper look at what I'm wearing!
The rooms were air-conditioned from an electronic unit. This was easy to control and quite capable of cooling off the room to our needs. Malta is a hot country and this includes night time so it was a relief to have air conditioning particularly when sleeping at night.
The rooms were visited each day by the maids, who always came in when we were out so we were never aware of them. They cleaned the rooms to a high standard leaving fresh towels each day and making the bed, The bed sheets weren't changed every day but I think they were changed roughly 3-4 times in our 10 night stay.
The rest of the hotel was also kept clean to a high standard and we never noticed any dirt/dust anywhere. The glass in the lobby area was also always very clean and it was clear that the maids were doing a very good job.
The hotel pool is located on the rooftop of the building. We got there easily using the lift and on a few occasions took the stairs. The pool is relatively small and has sunbeds and tables around it. There are roughly 30 sunbeds which really isnt many considering the hotel has 120 rooms. Fortunately we never had a problem finding a sunbed as we usually only went to the pool in the late afternoon after being out for the day. Also we felt the hotel was slightly quiet because we were staying in September.
The sunbeds were nice and comfy and all had a little mini design cushion which was a nice touch, not to mention really comfy. The pool itself was warm and despite being small was well shaped and quite long so you could swim mini lengths. The pool had its own bar area which we were aware sold a variety of drinks as well as snacks. It also had a spacious seating area with chairs and tables. We didn't ever use this bar area so I can't comment in any detail.
The hotel bar was located in the lobby area of the hotel which was a beautiful spacious area with numerous comfy sofa style chairs all with their own cushions and tables. Despite being in the lobby area this was never busy or noisy, in fact it was quite the opposite and always peaceful and relaxing. We ordered drinks from the hotel bar on 2 occasions, both when returning from our evening meal. We decided we wanted to try cocktails and assumed the bar would have a cocktail menu - particularly because behind the bar there was every type of alcohol and mixer you could imagine!! But we were disappointed to find there was no menu, but instead the bar man read out a list of cocktails we could order. There were about 10 to choose from and were mainly traditional classics. It would be such a simple thing to have a menu for this and it was also unnerving having no idea how much they would cost!!
We both ordered Caipharinia, our favourite cocktail. When the cocktails arrived they looked quite nice but we soon noticed that the barman had used lemons instead of limes...this really didn't work and the cocktail really wasn't very nice! We did mention this when the barman collected our glasses and he apologised and hotel bar doesn't order in any limes. I thought it was therefore quite odd to have Caipharinia's on the list when they consist predominantly of limes!! The cocktails cost Euro7 each which isnt a bad price for a hotel but was disappointing considering the quality. The second occasion we visited the bar we went for completely different cocktails, but again they seemed to be incorrectly made and tasted very artificial with no real fruit used etc. Again this was disappointing from a hotel of this standard and for those prices.
The hotel had a dining area which was located on the second floor. We never actually experienced this as we opted for room only, which meant we didn't dine in the restaurant for breakfast or dinner. However I can say that the dining room itself always looked beautifully laid out when we walked past it and had a ceiling made completely of glass making it a light and airy looking room.
**Other Hotel Amenities**
In the lobby area there were 6 computers all with free access to the internet without any password required. This came in very useful for checking places to go and looking at restaurants etc. I thought it was very generous that this service was free of charge as most hotels charge silly prices for internet access.
As well as the rooftop pool there was also a spa area in the basement with an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. We did go downstairs to have a snoop at this area and it looked great and was very clean and not too busy. However we didn't really use the facility as it was so warm outside this was the last thing we wanted to do!!
We weren't aware of any entertainment in the hotel which for us was a relief as we're not that keen on hotel entertainment. It seems the hotel is aimed more at self-sufficient families or people travelling without children as there were no children's areas/clubs etc. For this reason I wouldn't recommend the hotel to those travelling with children who need amenities to keep the children busy.
The hotel had 2 lifts to get to all floors. Unfortunately one of the lifts wasn't working for the majority of our stay and it constantly had its doors open meaning we witnessed many people get in thinking it was fine and stand there for an embarrassing few minutes pressing buttons before realising. I thought a simple 'out of order' sign either inside the lift or on the wall would have saved this bother.
We ate out every night and tried various local restaurants. All were of a very high standard and were within close walking distance of the hotel. My favourites were Blue Elephant (inside the Hilton Hotel), Gululu and Lulu (yes those are 2 different restaurants!!) I would also recommend Bar TwentyTwo which is a modern bar located on the 22nd floor of Portomaso tower, which is just a few minutes from the hotel. There are wonderful views of Malta from this bar, not to be missed!
We were so impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of the staff. Check in was so easy and we were shown to our rooms by a very friendly staff member who was very attentive. We returned to reception on a couple of other occasions to ask about buses, restaurants etc and each time despite dealing with someone different we were given more than enough information and the staff went out of their way to help us. We never felt like we were bothering anyone when asking questions etc.
Also despite having a bad experience in the bar area with the drinks, the bar staff themselves were very friendly and both offered to take a photo of us in the bar which was very kind.
Overall we were really happy with our stay, but felt a few things weren't quite up to scratch for example no drinks menu on the bar, running paint on balcony chairs, cracks in ceiling, flooding shower and small pool area. I know some of these are unavoidable like the size of the pool area, but the others could easily be addressed. Fortunately these factors didn't spoil our stay and we would definitely return to stay in this hotel if we were to visit St Julian's again.
The George Hotel Malta
Tel: +356 2011 1000