InterContinental Hotel Malta: An Upgrading Hotel Experience

Updated on May 7, 2020
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Liz and her husband have stayed in many hotels. They aim to help other travelers make informed choices by sharing their experiences.

InterContinental Malta
InterContinental Malta | Source

InterContinental Malta

This article combines general information about InterContinental Hotel Malta with our own experience of staying in the hotel in the following order:

  1. About the Hotel
  2. Location
  3. Leisure Facilities
  4. Food and Drink
  5. Why We Chose to Stay
  6. Initial Impressions
  7. Check-In
  8. Junior Suite
  9. InterContinental Club Room
  10. The Club Lounge
  11. Indoor Pool
  12. Afternoon Tea
  13. The Meeting
  14. Highline Suite
  15. Pre-Dinner Drinks and Canapes
  16. Breakfast in the Club Lounge
  17. Building Work
  18. Our Hotel Rating
  19. Thoughts on Our Experience
  20. Top Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Hotel Stay

1. About The Hotel

InterContinental Malta, with 481 rooms, is one of the largest hotels in this luxury brand. The lower front section of the hotel is topped by a large rooftop lagoon-style pool. Behind this, the hotel extends back around a courtyard/garden area. Opened in January 2003, the original building consisted of 15 floors and was designed to resemble a cruise liner with its distinctive balcony railings. Wings extend either side of a central block at the rear of the hotel.

Around 2015 three further floors were added; the two top floors of Highline suites and the roof area boasting the Skybeach with an infinity pool. Rooms on the lower floors are deluxe rooms, family rooms, junior suites, and club rooms. The higher you go, the better the room and the bigger your bill. Club rooms and above have a private check-in on the 15th floor near the club lounge.

The added floors stand out clearly from the 15 lower floors.
The added floors stand out clearly from the 15 lower floors. | Source

2. Location

Malta is a European island in the southern part of the Mediterranean, located 80 km south of Sicily (Italy), 284 km east of Tunisia and 333 km north of Libya. Since independence from the UK in 1964, Malta has increasingly gained an income from tourism, as visitors take advantage of its mild climate.

The residential areas around Valletta, the smallest capital in the European Union, have expanded greatly and the construction industry now appears to be in a competition to build the highest structure. The bays around Valletta, especially to the north are densely populated.

InterContinental is located on Bay Street in an area called Paceville in St. Julian's. Although some sites describe the hotel as being by a beach, it is actually a 240-meter walk to the small beach at St. George's Bay, where the hotel has a beach club (in season) and a restaurant, Paranga.

Paceville is known as the night club area of Malta. As locations go, this is not the most salubrious. Tall buildings, building sites, and cranes abound. InterContinental has a cinema and a Holiday Inn Express as neighbors with more cinema screens and bowling alley opposite. Further down the street, there's a shopping mall with a McDonald's outlet.

Any guests looking for a glimpse of the sea would be well advised to go for a room on a higher floor, which will come at a premium. Or you could settle for an upgrade to a pool view room.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
St. George's Bay.St. George's Bay tucked between the highrise buildings.InterContinental entrance.Bay Street.Retail outlet nearer St. George's Bay.
St. George's Bay.
St. George's Bay. | Source
St. George's Bay tucked between the highrise buildings.
St. George's Bay tucked between the highrise buildings. | Source
InterContinental entrance.
InterContinental entrance. | Source
Bay Street.
Bay Street. | Source
Retail outlet nearer St. George's Bay.
Retail outlet nearer St. George's Bay. | Source

3. Leisure Facilities

As befits a 5-star hotel, InterContinental Malta has a wide range of facilities for its guests.


There is a choice of three pools; two outdoor and one indoor and, of course, the beach club at St. George's Bay, down the road.

Lagoon Style Outdoor Pool

Covering an extensive area on top of the front hotel block, this pool also provides a pleasant view for those in rooms in the higher levels of the block at the rear of the hotel. There is plenty of space around it for a significant number of sunbeds, along with bushes and palm trees, as well as access to sundecks on other levels.

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Lagoon style pool.Poolside view.
Lagoon style pool.
Lagoon style pool. | Source
Poolside view.
Poolside view. | Source


Much is made on the hotel website of the Skybeach infinity pool on the 19th floor. Located at the highest point, it boasts the best views over the surrounding area and beyond. It consists of a moderately sized rectangular rooftop infinity pool with decking, sunbeds and dining facilities.

In reality, complimentary access is limited to those in the most expensive suites. This access is described as 'exclusive', but we noticed several large posters in the area advertising Skybeach. Anyone can access it, by booking 48 hours in advance and paying a fee.

Note: The outdoor pools and beach club are seasonal.

Heated Indoor Pool

Located on the 5th floor, the indoor pool is 17 meters long and 1.3 meters deep. It has changing facilities and also a steam room, sauna, and showers. Guests from the adjoining Holiday Inn Express have free access to this facility, as do members of the adjacent fitness center.

Fitness Center

Cynergi health and fitness center is one of the largest on the island, with over 2,500 square meters of workout space, a well-equipped gymnasium, and two squash courts. Access is complimentary for hotel guests and those staying next door in the Holiday Inn Express. It also has a local membership with street access.


Carisma Spa is located by the indoor pool and offers treatments as well as a Turkish Hammam. There's a booking desk near the indoor pool.

Other Facilities

InterContinental hosts Casino Malta, apparently the biggest on the island. There is a hair salon in the hotel. An onsite kids club also appears to offer childcare facilities for the local community.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Skybeach infinity pool.Skybeach on the hotel roof.Skybeach view over Paceville.Skybeach infinity pool.View towards the city from the Skybeach.It's a long way down from floor 19.Skybeach infinity pool.Indoor pool.Corridor towards Charisma Spa.
Skybeach infinity pool.
Skybeach infinity pool. | Source
Skybeach on the hotel roof.
Skybeach on the hotel roof. | Source
Skybeach view over Paceville.
Skybeach view over Paceville. | Source
Skybeach infinity pool.
Skybeach infinity pool. | Source
View towards the city from the Skybeach.
View towards the city from the Skybeach. | Source
It's a long way down from floor 19.
It's a long way down from floor 19. | Source
Skybeach infinity pool.
Skybeach infinity pool. | Source
Indoor pool.
Indoor pool. | Source
Corridor towards Charisma Spa.
Corridor towards Charisma Spa. | Source

4. Food and Drink

As you would expect from a 5-star hotel, InterContinental Malta, has several locations, where food and drink are served. The hotel boasts of seven restaurants and seven bars on its website.

The main restaurant, where breakfast is served, is Harruba. The hotel bar is located beyond reception, but some choose to drink in Waterbiscuit. This is on two levels at the front of the hotel, has street access, and also serves meals.

Paranga is located a short walk from the hotel, overlooking St.George's Bay.

Other outlets, such as Narcis pool bar (near the lagoon pool), Skybeach (poolside snacks and grill), and the nearby Skyhigh, a 19th-floor premium lounge bar, are all seasonal.

In addition to these, there is the Club Lounge, on the 15th floor, serving breakfast, afternoon tea and canapes at set times, drinks and snacks throughout the day, as well as alcoholic beverages for a limited time in the evening. Access is included with Highline suites, club rooms, and junior suites. At the hotel's discretion, other guests might be offered access for a chargeable rate.

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Waterbiscuit with hotel entrance beyond.Waterbiscuit.Club lounge.Club lounge refreshments.Exterior view of Club lounge and terrace.
Waterbiscuit with hotel entrance beyond.
Waterbiscuit with hotel entrance beyond. | Source
Waterbiscuit. | Source
Club lounge.
Club lounge. | Source
Club lounge refreshments.
Club lounge refreshments. | Source
Exterior view of Club lounge and terrace.
Exterior view of Club lounge and terrace. | Source

On its website, InterContinental Malta states that it

"has been true to its vision of becoming the Mediterranean’s leading hotel of distinction".

Our Experience

Let's see how the hotel measures up to its claim.

5. Why We Chose to Stay at InterContinental Malta

We had a voucher for a free night to use in any InterContinental Hotel Group hotel, which was close to expiring. Realizing that a Holiday Inn Express was conveniently located next door and, never having visited Malta before, we decided to check out InterContinental Malta in March.

Either side of our night in the InterContinental, we booked a few nights in the Holiday Inn Express.

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First glimpse of InterContinental Malta from our room in the Holiday Inn Express.View of lagoon pool and sundeck from Holiday Inn Express terrace.
First glimpse of InterContinental Malta from our room in the Holiday Inn Express.
First glimpse of InterContinental Malta from our room in the Holiday Inn Express. | Source
View of lagoon pool and sundeck from Holiday Inn Express terrace.
View of lagoon pool and sundeck from Holiday Inn Express terrace. | Source

6. Initial Impressions

As guests of Holiday Inn Express, we were given a card that allowed access through a door on level 1 into InterContinental level 5, where we could use the indoor pool and leisure facilities.

It wasn't long before curiosity got the better of us and we decided to go exploring. As the Holiday Inn Express is relatively new, having opened in 2017, going from the limited-service hotel into a luxury hotel corridor was not a huge step up. The color scheme changed and the carpet was maybe a little deeper.

Having found the indoor pool and explained to the staff on the desk that we weren't in the market for a spa treatment, we decided to see how far we could get. I was surprised at how unchecked our movements were. We found our way up onto the courtyard level and, from here made our way up the steps to the lagoon pool, where a few hardy souls had found a sheltered spot to sunbathe in early March. The pool was a good size and a focal point, but, out of season, sunbeds were limited in number and the bar was understandably shut up.

As the Skybeach had been well-publicized on the hotel website, we were intrigued to take a look. I was surprised how easy we found it to take the lift up to the 19th floor and step out on this level. The pool looked good and the views from the top of the hotel were interesting, but clearly the area was not in use. There were no sunbeds out and the bar was shut up. It was surprising, given all the publicity and lovely photos, that there was no attempt to keep a covered area open for drinks and meals.

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Lagoon pool.Lagoon pool.View from Skybeach, level 19.SkybeachSkybeach
Lagoon pool.
Lagoon pool. | Source
Lagoon pool.
Lagoon pool. | Source
View from Skybeach, level 19.
View from Skybeach, level 19. | Source
Skybeach | Source
Skybeach | Source

What Goes Up Must Come Down!

Having taken in the view and a few photos we headed back to the automatic glass doors. Unfortunately, try as we might, there was no way of getting them to open from our side. I suggested ringing reception on our mobile phone, but, as we shouldn't have been up there anyway, nor were we, at this point, guests of the InterContinental, it might have taken a little explaining.

I wasn't too keen on the thought of a fire escape from the 19th floor, but we eventually found an open door to a service stairwell. We came across a service lift. Some cleaners got in on a lower floor, gave us a funny look, but carried on. We got out on a lower level and found ourselves in a kitchen area for room service. Eventually, a manager saw us and guided us out onto the guest floors, much to our relief. It was a whole new world in there, very austere compared to the guest areas.

But I think what surprised me most was the absence of any security. Surely our explorations should have been tracked on security cameras and a staff member sent to apprehend us?

In Need of a Drink

At check-in next door, in the Holiday Inn Express, we had been given 2 drinks vouchers. Other guests had commented online that they had used their vouchers in the InterContinental bar, so, in need of a drink, we decided to give it a go. We enquired at what we thought was the main bar, outside the main restaurant. But, as soon as we showed the bartender the vouchers, he ushered us away to the Waterbiscuit at the front of the hotel.

For a 5 star hotel, there was nothing especially remarkable about the Waterbiscuit. It was modern enough with a brightly lit bar behind a white frontage, but furnishings were fairly basic with some clear plastic chairs identical to those on the Holiday Inn Express terrace next door. Overlooked by tall buildings across the street, it felt dark and shut-in, even for those sitting at the high tables outside.

Although it clearly stated 'spirit and mixer' on the options, this had to be pointed out to the bartender. Drinks were served to the table and, just as we were about to enquire, a two-tier selection of crisps and nuts was brought as well. The area was clean and modern, but not luxurious.

Well earned drinks.
Well earned drinks. | Source

7. Check-In

Due to IHG rewards club membership of a high tier, my husband is entitled to a complimentary upgrade where available. For online bookings, he usually requests one in the notes. Most times it pays off.

Unsure of his room allocation at InterContinental Malta and keen to get access to the club lounge, he emailed the hotel. He was told that he had been upgraded to a pool room, but that access to the lounge would cost 56 Euros. We decided to pay the extra for the food and drink in the lounge. He was told that check-in would be from 11.00 am, but online he noticed it was 10.00 am for his tier status.

So, at 10.00 am we went to the main reception. We were told that we had been upgraded to a junior suite and informed that lounge access would be 50 Euros. We opted to pay at check out, which proved to be a good decision, as you will find out. The receptionist was keen to establish whether the booking was for a special occasion. 'Was it a birthday or an anniversary? Was it a special treat for your wife?' she asked. Eventually, my husband agreed that it was the latter and immediately he was told that a bottle of wine would be sent to our room. This was an unexpected bonus.

Check-in was smooth and efficient and we headed to room 1219.

Main foyer with reception beyond.
Main foyer with reception beyond. | Source

8. Junior Suite

As we approached Room 1219, we soon realized that it was on the back of the hotel. Having viewed the hotel from the street below, we had already decided that it was not a good location. Unfortunately, our fears were proved true.

Don't get me wrong. The room itself was fine. There was a separate toilet by the door, an unexpected bonus. This was slightly dated in appearance, with a beige marble surround to the sink but it was well maintained and very clean. A large mirror was on the wall opposite with wall lights either side.

The generously proportioned separate lounge had a sofa, armchair, large cupboard, work desk, upright chair, coffee table, and two small side tables. There were lamps on each side table and also on the desk, which had a large mirror on the wall in front of it.

There were two large beds in the bedroom, slightly excessive for two guests. An uplighter stood in the corner by the window and there were two globe lights by the beds. A flatscreen tv was on a unit opposite the beds.

The nicely appointed bathroom with a separate walk-in shower was well maintained and modern. It was spacious and fitted out to a high standard. Although brightly lit, there was a fair amount of black marble around the bath and sink.

Grey and beige were the predominant colors for the carpet, walls, and curtains with dark furniture and doors. There were dark red runners and decorative cushions on the bed. Even the wall fitting behind the beds was grey. The lounge and bedroom had several large prints of Maltese scenes, in dark frames, hanging on the walls.

Patio doors gave access to the balcony with old ship style railings, which ran the length of the bedroom and lounge. There were small dark patio tables and chairs out here, but what caught our eye was the view. The balcony hung out beyond the others on this level. Tall buildings overshadowed it from across the opposite side of the street. We had a good view of a building site down a side street. To our left, we looked out onto a flat roof. It was definitely not the most scenic of views and there was no sign of a pool, as mentioned in the email.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pool view?Entrance of junior suite.Additional washroom.Extra WC.Junior suite lounge.Lounge.Lounge.No shortage of beds.Junior suite bedroom.Bedroom.Bedroom in 1219.Sink, WC and walk in shower.Bath.Sink unit.Bath, with shower and WC beyond.Building site.Flat roof to the left.Street view to the right.Pleasant balcony view.Balcony.
Pool view?
Pool view? | Source
Entrance of junior suite.
Entrance of junior suite. | Source
Additional washroom.
Additional washroom. | Source
Extra WC.
Extra WC. | Source
Junior suite lounge.
Junior suite lounge. | Source
Lounge. | Source
Lounge. | Source
No shortage of beds.
No shortage of beds. | Source
Junior suite bedroom.
Junior suite bedroom. | Source
Bedroom. | Source
Bedroom in 1219.
Bedroom in 1219. | Source
Sink, WC and walk in shower.
Sink, WC and walk in shower. | Source
Bath. | Source
Sink unit.
Sink unit. | Source
Bath, with shower and WC beyond.
Bath, with shower and WC beyond. | Source
Building site.
Building site. | Source
Flat roof to the left.
Flat roof to the left. | Source
Street view to the right.
Street view to the right. | Source
Pleasant balcony view.
Pleasant balcony view. | Source
Balcony. | Source

9. InterContinental Club Room

Recalling that he had been promised a pool view room by email, my husband spoke to reception. Clearly, a suite on the back of the hotel was missing this detail. The receptionist apologized and we were allocated a club room on the 15th floor.

This had the advantage of being on the same floor as the club lounge and it had the pool view, but with a catch. Room 1512 was a corner room, with only a small section of the balcony open to daylight, so this room was also dark.

Spot the balcony of room 1512!
Spot the balcony of room 1512! | Source

The Choice

Feeling that we were going through a series of rooms that couldn't be sold to other guests, we headed to the lounge for a drink. As we passed the private reception, the receptionist asked how our room was. We expressed disappointment at the shut-in balcony and lack of natural light. She looked on her screen and offered an alternative for a supplement of over 100 Euros. We declined. She looked again and insisted on showing us a couple of alternatives. Both were on lower floors, further from the club lounge and not of a club standard. So, although we felt like we were getting to see the whole room range, we opted to stay in 1512 (for the time being).

A pool view.
A pool view. | Source

Room 1512


Unlike the junior suite, 1512 did not have a separate lounge, but it was of generous proportions. The bathroom door was to the right, with the lounge area stretching from the main door to the far wall and an interconnecting door. The bed was around a corner near the patio door.


The lack of natural light was not helped by the color scheme. The walls were grey, as were the doors, carpet, curtains, circular rug, sofa, and armchair. The bed base was black on black legs. The exceptions were the white walls by the door and wardrobe and the white bedding. There was a moderately sized black-framed Maltese print near the desk. Even the tissue cube on the desk was black.

The Lounge

Furniture was arranged along the wall opposite the bed. There was a black desk with a black upright chair, followed by a sofa and a narrow white shelf beyond with a moderate-sized flatscreen TV on it. A black circular coffee table was on the rug, with an armchair nearby.

Lounge furniture was completed by a dark cabinet beyond the bathroom door, which housed a well-stocked minibar as well as tea and coffee making facilities, including a coffee pod machine, along with several glasses and cups.

Lighting was provided by a white globe light on the wall, near the desk, a hooded desk lamp, and an uplighter in the far corner. We had all three on, due to the lack of daylight.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lounge.1512.Multipurpose room.Mini bar.Drinks provision.
Lounge. | Source
1512. | Source
Multipurpose room.
Multipurpose room. | Source
Mini bar.
Mini bar. | Source
Drinks provision.
Drinks provision. | Source


The large bed consisted of two single mattresses. There was a black leather effect headboard on the wall behind in four sections, with a patterned inlay. On either side, there was a black bedside table on thin legs with a drawer, as well as a black angled lamp.

Bedroom furniture was completed by a full-length mirror, attached at an angle to the wall, and a white, free-standing wardrobe with four hinged doors. The inside fittings were grey to match the room. A narrow full-length space housed an ironing board. Next to it, there was a deep hanging space with 10 hangers, 2 of which were padded and a folded suitcase stand. An iron was on the shelf above. The next section had a further slim full length hanging space with a shoe rack below. Next to it were several shelves, one of which had a safe on it and another a shoebox and shoe cleaner.

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Bedroom.TV opposite the bed.Safe in the wardrobe.Wardrobe.
Bedroom. | Source
TV opposite the bed.
TV opposite the bed. | Source
Safe in the wardrobe.
Safe in the wardrobe. | Source
Wardrobe. | Source


The bathroom was modern and fitted out to a high standard. It had large pale grey rectangular floor tiles, dark grey tiles around the sink, bath, and shower, with a white painted wall near the toilet and a white panel on the bath. The bath and toilet were white and the room was well lit with spotlights in the ceiling over the sink, bath and shower, and recessed strip light over the toilet.


A jacuzzi bath was along the wall opposite the door, with a toilet on the adjacent wall to the right. A glass screen at the end of the bath separated the shower off in the corner with a large rainfall fixture from the ceiling and a hose attachment on the wall. There was no shower tray, as this was a wet room arrangement. I'm not sure how this worked in practice, as we didn't get to thoroughly test out these bathroom facilities (for reasons that will become clear later).

On the wall opposite the shower, there was a long grey marble rectangular unit with an integral sink and a large rectangular mirror on the wall behind it.

Other Items

There was a circular extendable shaving mirror by the sink with a light, as well as a wall-mounted hairdryer and a shaver point.

There was a black cushioned headrest at the end of the jacuzzi bath.

Towels and Toiletries

Tissues were in a black fabric cube by the sink. There was a bar of soap to go in the soap tray and a black tray contained a collection of two flannels, large body lotion, two containers of mouthwash, and a with compliments pack (shower cap, shaving kit, comb, nail file, vanity set, and two dental kits).

Agranja shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel were on a glass shelf in the shower area.

There were two thin white towels (surprisingly poor quality for a 5-star hotel) on a chrome rail between the sink and shower. A white bath mat hung over the side of the bath with a bar of soap balanced next to it. Four white bath sheets were piled on top of a small black padded stool with three worn wooden legs.

Two bathrobes with slippers were on a hook by the door.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jacuzzi bath.Walk in shower.Sink.Bath and WC.
Jacuzzi bath.
Jacuzzi bath. | Source
Walk in shower.
Walk in shower. | Source
Sink. | Source
Bath and WC.
Bath and WC. | Source


Taken as a whole, the balcony was a reasonable size. It was accessed via patio doors near the bed. The problem was that two-thirds of it was enclosed by the outside wall of the room around the corner. The paint on the walls was deteriorating. This left a narrow opening with ship style railings. Two white chairs and a coffee table jostled for a position with a view, as they didn't all fit by the open gap. The deteriorating paint on the walls didn't help the outlook.

The view from the 15th floor, limited as it was, was still good. It was indeed a pool view. We could see into the courtyard of the hotel, the lagoon pool, and as far as the sea in the distance.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pool view.Fight for the view.View from 1512.
Pool view.
Pool view. | Source
Fight for the view.
Fight for the view. | Source
View from 1512.
View from 1512. | Source

10. The Club Lounge

After all the toing and froing over rooms, we decided that it was time to check out the Club Lounge more thoroughly. So we headed along the corridor to the reception desk and lifts in the middle of the hotel, where the lounge had a prominent position on the 15th floor. It was well equipped with plenty of sofas, comfortable chairs, and low tables, as well as dining tables and upright chairs.

There was plenty of natural light from the large windows and a large terrace area outside offered good views over the rest of the hotel and beyond.

Fridges with a range of beers and soft drinks, with glasses on shelves nearby, were located in a central serving area. An impressive range of hot drinks was available from a large serving area along the back wall.

Crisps, nuts, dried fruit, cookies, and fresh fruit were available when we called in there late morning.

A butler was in attendance constantly and quick to offer drinks, which he insisted on bringing to the table.

Light meals served here were breakfast, afternoon tea, and canapes with a range of alcoholic drinks in the evening.

We dropped in here several times during our time in InterContinental Malta and never found it busy. The lounge had a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, with gentle music playing in the background.

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Plenty of comfortable seating.Club Lounge.Hot drinks.Soft drinks.Snacks.Stylish lighting.Through the window.Lounge terrace.View from terrace.Club Lounge.
Plenty of comfortable seating.
Plenty of comfortable seating. | Source
Club Lounge.
Club Lounge. | Source
Hot drinks.
Hot drinks. | Source
Soft drinks.
Soft drinks. | Source
Snacks. | Source
Stylish lighting.
Stylish lighting. | Source
Through the window.
Through the window. | Source
Lounge terrace.
Lounge terrace. | Source
View from terrace.
View from terrace. | Source
Club Lounge.
Club Lounge. | Source

11. Indoor Pool

In search of some light exercise, we decided to take a dip in the indoor pool. Having been there several times, whilst staying next door in the Holiday Inn Express, I had tried to explain to my husband the reasons for my disappointment. Now was the chance for him to see for himself.

Superficially to a casual observer, the pool looks okay, all be it a little on the small side maybe for such a large hotel. But it didn't take long for us to discover its shortcomings. The changing rooms are small and woefully in need of refurbishment. They consisted of two showers, two toilets, two sinks, one wooden bench against the wall and two banks of lockers. Any more than two people in there and they feel crowded. In the ladies, the fascia of the lockers was chipped, wall tiles were damaged, water shot out of the pipe above the showerhead, there was mold on the ceiling in the shower cubicles, the sealant and grouting were black in places, a large shower gel dispenser lay on the floor because the fixing had come away from the wall and the door frames around the toilet doors were rotting. The hairdryer glowed orange and cut out. The men's changing room was of a similar standard, but one of the showers was out of order. In addition one of the two showers by the steam room (with a door that didn't close properly) and sauna (often on the cool side) was out of order and my husband was dismayed to see a lot of dirt particles in the pool.

All in all, it would have been a disappointing experience in a 3-star hotel, but totally unacceptable for a 5-star.

As I was alone in the ladies' changing area, I took a few photos on my mobile phone, just in case no one believed us.

But what should we do about it?

What Would You Do?

If hotel facilities are not up to scratch do you?

See results

Making a Plan

My husband reminded me that the bottle of sparkling wine promised at check-in, had yet to materialize. He suggested that if we got back to our room and there was still no wine, whilst chasing it up, we could also comment on the state of the indoor pool.

Guess what? When we got back to our room, the wine had appeared in an ice bucket!

Plan B. As it was 2.30pm we decided to take Afternoon Tea in the lounge (served 2.30 - 4.30 pm) and figure out what to do.

Sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine. | Source

12. Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea in the Club Lounge was an impressive affair. The ever-attentive butler was quick to offer us drinks and provide us with our choice of tea. We were surprised how quiet it was with only a handful of other guests drifting in and out.

There was an impressive buffet choice of small savory sandwiches and savory filled rolls as well as olives and other accompaniments.

Scones, sweet spreads, and whipped cream, as well as a good selection of mini desserts, mini cakes and macaroons were set out for guests to help themselves.

Afternoon tea used to be considered a peculiarly British tradition, but we were very impressed with the provision in the Club Lounge.

Good food aside, we still had the dilemma of what to do about the indoor pool. We decided that we should inform hotel management, who might be unaware, about the shortcomings so that action could be taken for the benefit of future guests. We agreed that we shouldn't be looking for any recompense for ourselves.

This set in motion a series of unexpected events.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tea is served.Mushroom mix savory buns.Savory sandwiches.Savory filled buns and accompaniments, with scones and jam behind.Mini dessert selection.Macaroons.Cake selection.
Tea is served.
Tea is served. | Source
Mushroom mix savory buns.
Mushroom mix savory buns. | Source
Savory sandwiches.
Savory sandwiches. | Source
Savory filled buns and accompaniments, with scones and jam behind.
Savory filled buns and accompaniments, with scones and jam behind. | Source
Mini dessert selection.
Mini dessert selection.
Macaroons. | Source
Cake selection.
Cake selection. | Source

What next?

Staff on the private reception desk near the Club Lounge were quick to engage with guests as they walked past. So it was easy to get into a conversation. When we were asked how our stay was going, we explained our disappointment at the indoor pool. The staff member expressed surprise and, when I mentioned the photos on my phone, he was keen to see them. He took it all very seriously, explaining that the leisure facilities were managed by a different company. He asked if we would be happy to see a manager and explained that we would receive a call shortly.

We were pleased to find that the daily fruit delivery had arrived in our room and we waited for a phone call.

Fruit display.
Fruit display. | Source

13. The Meeting

Within a few minutes, the phone rang. A very pleasant customer relations manager introduced herself and offered to meet with us. We arranged a meeting in the Club Lounge.

Not wanting to be overheard by other guests, we selected a quiet corner. By now, familiar with our choice of tea, the butler was quickly in attendance. Paola listened to our concerns about the indoor pool facilities and looked at the photos, requesting copies to be emailed to her. She said that the hotel managed the pool, there was a refurbishment plan in progress on the 5th floor and that the shower by the sauna needed a part that was on order.

She implied that they were aware of the issues. We were surprised that the management of a 5-star establishment hadn't acted quicker to resolve it. After all the refurbishment of changing rooms, small as they were, would equate to updating 4 bathrooms.

She thanked us for bringing it to the hotel's attention, said that she wanted to make our stay a good one, and discussed what could be done for us. This was a surprise, as we hadn't expected to benefit from the situation.

Would we like a bottle of wine? Did we prefer red or white? A bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was decided on.

Next, she wiped the Club Lounge charge (50 Euros) from our bill. But what could she do to make it right? Would we like a meal in the hotel restaurant maybe? I asked about a possible points refund. She recalled that we had been disappointed with our partially enclosed balcony, could she show us a suite on the top floor?

We decided to look at the suites. We were shown two. Both were on the 18th floor and had great views over the lagoon pool and beyond. One was larger, on a corner of the building, and had a mini gym, so it was a no brainer.

The Choice

What would you choose?

See results

Reach for the Sky

View from 1816.
View from 1816. | Source

14. Highline Suite

Location of 1816

The Highline suites occupy floors 17 and 18 of InterContinental Hotel Malta. Their modern design stands out from the rest of the building. Around 2015, they were built on to the top of the hotel. You can see the 'stilts' on level 16 in external photos. Externally, they reminded us a little of InterContinental Cascais-Estoril, Portugal, a hotel from the same era.

1816 occupied the far western corner, at the end of the corridor. Unusually for a hotel room, it had three outside walls. the back wall and part of the sidewall were made up of a wide corrugated opaque material. To make the most of the view, part of the side and most of the front had full-length windows and patio doors.

The additional Highline floors.
The additional Highline floors. | Source


The entrance hall was along the back of the suite, which was open plan. A randomly placed sofa bed was pointed out to us, a little further along the back wall. Beyond this, there was a small kitchen area with a dividing wall behind it. A parallel wall with long curtains at the side hid the mini gym, with a dining table and chairs on the other side of the curtain.

The lounge area was the other side of the gym divider and had the benefit of the windows and view around it. A balcony ran along in front of the lounge and the adjacent bedroom. An office area was by the bedroom door.

The spacious bedroom had access to the internal ensuite bathroom/dressing room and there was a window with Venetian blinds from the bath into the bedroom and the balcony beyond.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lounge with a view.The back wall towards the kitchenette.
Lounge with a view.
Lounge with a view. | Source
The back wall towards the kitchenette.
The back wall towards the kitchenette. | Source

Main Living Area


The main door was painted grey. Walls were painted in a gunmetal grey, with a lighter shade to one side of the mini gym. This color was so predominant that I wondered if a job lot had been purchased from old stock at a naval shipyard. A dark wood panel behind the desk and adjoining door separated the living area from the bedroom. The opaque walls at the back and side of the suite took on a mint color in daylight. Floors were covered in large square and rectangular tiles in a neutral color.

The mini-gym was shielded from the dining room table by a full-length black curtain. Windows had full-length net curtains and dark grey curtains, with electric mechanisms.

Entrance Hall

The wide entrance had a tall narrow black shelf/table to the right with a black-framed print on the wall above. Beyond, against the back wall was a large dark grey sofa bed with two matching dark grey cushions. It was well lit by two ceiling lights.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
From the front door.Along the back wall to the main door.
From the front door.
From the front door. | Source
Along the back wall to the main door.
Along the back wall to the main door. | Source


The kitchenette, located further along the back wall consisted of a compact unit, comprising a fridge, freezer, sink, with cupboards above and below. There was a kettle, coffee maker, cutlery, crockery, trays, teapots as well as a drinks selection in the fridge/bar and a selection of small jars of jam. In short, most things that an attendant butler might require. Most of this equipment looked like it had never been used. There were two ceiling lights in this area.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kitchenette. | Source
Minibar. | Source

Mini Gym

This was packed into an area on the other side of the kitchenette. A treadmill faced towards the lounge and windows beyond, with a good view. Other equipment was at right angles. The cross trainer faced the treadmill, towards the opaque outer wall. The rowing machine faced the other direction, to the black curtain or, when this was pulled, the dining table. There were two black and white prints on the wall and an elaborate ceiling decoration, which suggested that this was originally intended as a dining area.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mini gym.View from the dining area.Treadmill with a view.
Mini gym.
Mini gym. | Source
View from the dining area.
View from the dining area. | Source
Treadmill with a view.
Treadmill with a view. | Source

Dining Area

A circular black glass table, supported on thick black central legs was located on a round turquoise rug with 4 padded turquoise chairs arranged around it. A large black pot with a tall rubber tree in it stood beyond this area, near the bedroom door. There was a light over the table.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dining area.Dining area.
Dining area.
Dining area. | Source
Dining area.
Dining area. | Source


The lounge had the benefit of full-length windows to one side and patio doors onto the balcony on the other. The focal point was a large rectangular patterned rug in beige, blue, grey, and black. A large flat-screen TV with an automatic retractable soundbar on a chrome plinth stood partway along the dividing wall that backed onto the mini gym. We felt like moving it into the center to cover the plug socket.

Two low grey sofas on legs and a pale grey armchair with a mixture of cushions were arranged to face the TV. It seemed a shame to miss out on the view outside, which we were constantly turning round to take in. Furniture was completed in this area by a circular glass-topped coffee table and a low plastic stand by the armchair. There was a large glass bell cover on the table, as well as bottled water and a complimentary bottle of artisan olive oil.

There were 4 ceiling lights in this area, as well as a lamp in the corner near the window, with large white shade. Full-length net curtains and dark grey curtains hung at all the windows. Everything was fine until, after dark, we looked to close them. It took a minute or two for us to find the electronic control panel.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lounge area.Off-center TV.Sitting area.Lounge.Lounge with a view.
Lounge area.
Lounge area. | Source
Off-center TV.
Off-center TV. | Source
Sitting area.
Sitting area. | Source
Lounge. | Source
Lounge with a view.
Lounge with a view. | Source

Office Area

To the side of the lounge area, near a full-length window onto the balcony, a pale grey worktable was located along the wall by the bedroom door. There was a black vinyl office swivel chair, a hooded desk lamp, telephone, pen, and pad in a holder, as well as a black material covered tissue box, hotel information, menus, and writing paper.

Office area.
Office area. | Source


The patio doors, running the full width of the room, meant that a view from the balcony was a feature of the room and could be seen from the bed. Full-length nets and dark grey curtains were remotely operated. The opposite side of the room had a large window into the bathroom. Lighting was provided by two centrally located lights in the ceiling.

As you would expect in a Highline Suite, the bed was large, on two bed bases with chrome legs, and very comfortable with good quality pillows. Pillows, duvet, and sheets were white. A dark brown padded vinyl headboard was fixed to the wall and matched the bed bases.

Either side of the bed there were free-standing bedside cabinets. Each had a black-based cylinder lamp. There was a powerpoint and a USB point too. A large print in a rectangular black frame hung on the wall behind the bed.

Opposite the bed, there was a large dark brown unit with two storage spaces and a lamp with a glass cover to the side. A large flatscreen TV was on the wall, but we found that the remote control required new batteries. Luckily the remote from the lounge could be used instead. A tall black framed mirror was attached to the wall beyond, leaning at an angle.

The wall behind the TV was the reverse of the wood panel behind the desk area. Towards the window and behind the bed, the walls were painted grey. The bed was on a large grey rug.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bed with a view.Bedroom.TV in bedroom.Bedroom with balcony beyond.Bedside view.
Bed with a view.
Bed with a view. | Source
Bedroom. | Source
TV in bedroom.
TV in bedroom. | Source
Bedroom with balcony beyond.
Bedroom with balcony beyond. | Source
Bedside view.
Bedside view. | Source



A dark brown door at right angles to the bedroom door opened into the bathroom area. The right wall was taken up with fitted wardrobes and shelves. The area was well lit with three ceiling lights. Three tall white doors opened to reveal a dark wood interior with a top shelf, shallow hanging area, safe, two push opening drawers, a gym mat, and a shoe rack in the bottom. There were two large deep hanging areas with 6 hangers and 2 padded hangers. Two bathrobes were hanging up and there was an ironing board in here with an iron, as well as a collapsible suitcase stand. A spare pillow was on a shelf above.

Beyond this, there were 5 dark open shelves, on which were piled three bath sheets and several trays. One with a hairdryer in a bag, another with a clothes brush, shoehorn and laundry bags, and one with slippers on it.

Sink Area

The adjacent wall was taken up with a beige marble effect double sink unit with matching wall covering behind with two large rectangular mirrors. There was a black leather tissue box, two tumblers, and a white soap dish with a block of hand soap. A central black tray had two white flannels, two body milks, two bottles of mouthwash, with compliments shower cap, a sewing kit, a wooden comb, nail file, vanity set, as well as two individually packaged dental kits and two shaving kits.

There was a circular extending shaving mirror with a light high to the right and a shaver point. A large white bath mat was on the floor, with hand towels on the rail behind. There was a speaker set in the wall.

Jacuzzi Bath

A brown wooden central panel opposite the wardrobe area and the sink concealed the bath area behind. The white jacuzzi bath with a retractable shower attachment and side filling had a black marble surround with a grab rail to the side. A small white towel with a wrapped bar of soap was balanced on the side and there was a white bath mat on the floor. There was also a black 3-legged low stool with a plastic tray top by the bath.

The bath commanded a good view of the bedroom and beyond through the full-length glass window. The electronic Venetian blinds could be closed for those requiring a little more privacy whilst bathing.

The bath was slow to fill. The water was not piping hot and judging from the pale brown color, it had not been used for some time.


A rainfall shower, with an additional shower hose attachment fixed to the wall, was located in a fully tiled open wet room area opposite the bath. Larger than normal containers of Amande shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel were in a chrome wall-mounted rack. There was a rail below this, a towel rail near the entrance, as well as two hooks on the wall.


A toilet and bidet were in a whitewashed cubicle with a white door next to the shower. There was a telephone next to the toilet and a rail by the bidet with two small white towels. Toilet paper was of surprisingly poor quality.

There were several lights in the ceiling, ensuring that the whole area was well lit.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bathroom view of bedroom.Safe.Suitcase stand.Double sink.Jacuzzi bath.Walk in shower area.White-washed toilet area.
Bathroom view of bedroom.
Bathroom view of bedroom. | Source
Safe. | Source
Suitcase stand.
Suitcase stand. | Source
Double sink.
Double sink. | Source
Jacuzzi bath.
Jacuzzi bath. | Source
Walk in shower area.
Walk in shower area. | Source
White-washed toilet area.
White-washed toilet area. | Source


We went from one extreme to the other, moving from a cubby hole balcony with railings to this one on the top floor, which stretched along the length of the bedroom and lounge. Accessed through patio doors from either room, the balcony commanded impressive views over the hotel complex and the surrounding area.

The grey theme continued with the big tiled flooring and framework above. Large strips of opaque corrugated mint plastic material served as a divider. The glass barriers ensured that the view was maximized.

In addition to a planter by the divider, there was another at the far end and three cylinder ones in the middle of the balcony. We weren't sure whether their rusty appearance was a sign of wear and tear or a design feature.

The furniture consisted of a padded white chaise longue outside the bedroom, two white chairs and a small table near the lounge.

Vertical strip lights illuminated the area at night.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Top floor balcony.Rusty plant pots or design feature?Glass enclosure maximises the view.Table, chairs and chaise longue beyond.Chaise longue view.Balcony at night.
Top floor balcony.
Top floor balcony. | Source
Rusty plant pots or design feature?
Rusty plant pots or design feature? | Source
Glass enclosure maximises the view.
Glass enclosure maximises the view. | Source
Table, chairs and chaise longue beyond.
Table, chairs and chaise longue beyond. | Source
Chaise longue view.
Chaise longue view. | Source
Balcony at night.
Balcony at night. | Source

15. Pre-Dinner Drinks and Canapes in the Club Lounge

By the time we had moved into and explored our Highline Suite, it was nearly time for the early evening canapes and drinks in the Club Lounge served between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm.

A good selection of spirits and wines were laid out on the side. There were two hot options of a meat quiche and a vegetarian dish in breadcrumbs. The many small savory choices included bowls of salad with smoked salmon, cheese and biscuits, sundried tomatoes, olives, mini seafood roulade, a tuna dip, and black olives and ricotta dip. There was a selection of fruit available. The butler was on hand all the time. A few guests came and went, but the area was never busy.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Spirits and wine.Canapes.Canape selection.Dips.
Spirits and wine.
Spirits and wine. | Source
Canapes. | Source
Canape selection.
Canape selection. | Source
Dips. | Source

16. Breakfast in the Club Lounge

The Club Lounge offered an impressive range of breakfast options. There was a selection of branded cereals from Kellogs, Weetabix, and Mornflakes, dried fruit, and nuts. Skimmed milk was available near dispensers of apple, orange, and pineapple juice.

There was an impressive bakery selection of different breads, heated pastries, and tempting chocolate muffins, red velvet cake, and cookies. A selection of small jars of jams, honey, and marmalade was on each table.

The savory cold options included goats cheese, Leicestershire cheese, cured and smoked salmon, chorizo, cold meats, cherry tomatoes. salad bowls, sundried tomatoes, and olives.

There was a good choice of fresh fruit, melon, pineapple, orange segments, halved kiwi, and a fresh fruit salad.

Hot drinks were served at the table by the attentive butler. There was a menu of hot food options to order, including various egg dishes and omelets. I would highly recommend the Eggs Royale.

This was a much more relaxing breakfast experience than you would ever find in a main hotel restaurant.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bakery selection.Pastries.Cereals.Cold drinks.Cold options.Eggs Royale.
Bakery selection.
Bakery selection. | Source
Pastries. | Source
Cereals. | Source
Cold drinks.
Cold drinks. | Source
Cold options.
Cold options. | Source
Eggs Royale.
Eggs Royale. | Source

17. Building Work

It's hard to miss the many cranes and building sites around the local area of Paceville and the wider area of St. Julians, which appears to be undergoing a constant process of regeneration. As space is at a premium, there appears to be a competition going on to construct the tallest buildings.

No doubt the addition of the higher floors to InterContinental Malta in recent years contributed significantly to local disruption. But now the hotel is the victim of a situation beyond its control. You've already seen the view from the junior suite at the back of the hotel, but the Highline suites were certainly not immune from the building craze.

Our suite was immediately above one such building site, all be it in the early foundation stages and others were clearly visible nearby. By day we were aware of the constant noise of heavy machinery nearby.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The view from next door.Highrise building site towering over Skybeach.Building site below the suite.Building site from end of the balcony.
The view from next door.
The view from next door. | Source
Highrise building site towering over Skybeach.
Highrise building site towering over Skybeach. | Source
Building site below the suite.
Building site below the suite. | Source
Building site from end of the balcony.
Building site from end of the balcony. | Source

18. Our Hotel Rating

4 stars for InterContinental Malta

A Tale of Two Hotels

Rating this hotel is not an easy task. The older part, up to floor 15, is poorly designed. Many rooms, from their position, low down around the courtyard area, overlooking the back street or, as we found, stuck in a corner, have poor outlooks and a limited amount of natural light. Externally the building appears dated. The indoor pool facilities would measure up poorly in a 3-star hotel and certainly don't fit with a 5-star brand.

Step into the Club Lounge and head up to the Highline suites (floors 17 and 18) and you enter a whole new world. This is what a 5-star hotel should be like. 'Was the hotel slipping in its rating or in danger of being rebranded?' I wonder, 'So they added two luxury floors to save the star and keep the brand?'

It's tempting to give different ratings for each area, but grudgingly I have had to award 4 stars on an average basis between the two. Refurbishment of the indoor pool and lower floors needs to move on at pace.

It's telling that, whilst on Malta, we met a guest who was staying in the InterContinental, because his travel company found prices there were more reasonable than the limited-service Holiday Inn Express next door.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Contrasting building styles of upper and lower floors.Additional high floors.Choose your room with care.Shady outlook around the courtyard.Lower floors have limited natural light.
Contrasting building styles of upper and lower floors.
Contrasting building styles of upper and lower floors. | Source
Additional high floors.
Additional high floors. | Source
Choose your room with care.
Choose your room with care. | Source
Shady outlook around the courtyard.
Shady outlook around the courtyard. | Source
Lower floors have limited natural light.
Lower floors have limited natural light. | Source

19. Thoughts on Our Experience

It would be fair to say that things did not go quite to plan for us at InterContinental Malta. If we had been given the promised pool view room on a lower floor at the outset, we would have settled for it. Although the state of the indoor pool was always going to be an issue. I still look back in disbelief at the series of events in the first few hours of our stay, culminating in a move to a top floor suite.

A lot of the problems we encountered; poor design, dark rooms, the need for refurbishment were beyond the control of the staff members working with guests. Problems often arise in hotels, but what sets the best hotels apart from the rest is how they are dealt with. All the staff we met were helpful, courteous, and polite. Issues we encountered were addressed immediately and every attempt was made to resolve them so that we went away happy with our stay.

In my view, InterContinental Hotel Malta has a long way to go to achieve its 'vision of becoming the Mediterranean’s leading hotel of distinction' in its fabric and facilities, but the guest relations are working hard to keep guests happy with the service they receive. What started out as a disappointing experience ended up exceeding our expectations.

Don't forget to use the vouchers. Last drinks in the Waterbiscuit.
Don't forget to use the vouchers. Last drinks in the Waterbiscuit. | Source

20. Top Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Hotel Stay

  1. Join free hotel rewards loyalty schemes to collect points on stays and gain status. The higher you go, the better the perks.
  2. Research hotel brand credit cards to see if it's worth using one. Our free night came as a perk.
  3. Plan your trip. You might laugh, given our experience, but we chose to use this hotel because we could combine it with a points stay next door in the Holiday Inn Express.
  4. Email ahead of your stay if you have any queries. As no complimentary upgrade showed on the booking, my husband wanted to check room allocation.
  5. Check your rights as a brand loyalty scheme member before your stay. Find out what perks you are entitled to before you go. We were told we could check in at 11.00 am. Online it said 10.00 am, so we arrived then.
  6. Be prepared for a special occasion question. Some hotels appear keen to hand over complimentary bottles of wine at check-in.
  7. If drinks vouchers are offered at check-in, ask how many. The guidance generally in IHG brand hotels is one voucher per booking, but some will give two.
  8. If you are unhappy with your room, don't suffer in silence, say something. Give the hotel the opportunity to put it right.
  9. If it's not included, but it's available, consider the option of adding Club Lounge access to your booking. Do the maths, it might be worth it.
  10. Take photos if possible. Photographic proof of the poor leisure facilities helped our case.
  11. If you are unhappy about anything, be polite and reasonable. You will be surprised at how keen management often is to make amends.
  12. If management offers choices of options, weigh them up and choose what suits you best.

Enjoy your trip!

Room at the top.
Room at the top. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Liz Westwood


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    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      6 weeks ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Devika. It was certainly an overnight stay unlike any we have ever had before. I noticed recently that Malta is opening up for tourism again. I have more information about the island and hope to write another article on it when I get the chance.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      6 weeks ago

      A change indeed and such an incredible place of travel. In detail and well-researched.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Devika. For many years we did not travel and I did not even dream of staying in any hotel. Recently we have found ways of being able to use offers and deals to travel as cheaply as possible. I hope that one day you might also get the opportunity to do similar. At the moment travel is very restricted and we don't anticipate going anyehere for a long time.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      3 months ago

      It is a great experience but I know that I am far from having that. I believe that maybe one I will travel. You have shared a lot of details and a thought for a great holiday indeed.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Sherry. When I came to write the review, I was surprised how much information I had gathered. It was partly due to staying several days in the adjoining Holiday Inn Express, so we were able to use InterContinental facilities before we moved in. The large size of the hotel mase a difference too. It is very unusual to see 6 rooms, spending long enough in half of them to make detailed notes. Usually we might have breakfast in the hotel, but there were several light meals in the Club lounge. All of this added up to a much more detailed review than I originally intended.

    • Sherry H profile image

      Sherry Haynes 

      3 months ago

      Wow! Your reviews are making me want to visit places Liz. This one is very detailed. It must be very useful for people planning to stay in this hotel.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      It certainly is.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Robert. We certainly dug up a lot of information about this hotel in the short time that we were there. Although the review is specific to this hotel, I felt that it was worthwhile drawing out general tips from this experience that could be applied to any stay elsewhere.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      An excellent, detailed review of this hotel. You gave the pluses and minuses. The "Top Tips" capsule was a great addition to this article.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Farrah. At one time we thought about booking two nights in the InterContinental, but decided against it. Somehow, I doubt if we would have been given such a good upgrade for longer than one night.

    • profile image

      Farrah Young 

      3 months ago

      You must have had quite an experience exploring. I would do the same too. The pictures are quite beautiful and could make one wish for just one night stay in the bigger hotel.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Charlotte. I take so many photos, it's great to be able to make use of them in these articles.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Fran. Malta is an interesting island. I plan on writing more about it when I have the chance. This was a unique hotel experience. We've never been shown 6 different rooms before or been upgraded to a suite on the top floor.

    • Charlotte Doyle profile image

      Charlotte Doyle 

      3 months ago from Texas

      You have really amazing articles. Thank you for sharing!

    • powers41 profile image

      fran rooks 

      3 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Wow! You gave such detailed descriptions and wonderful pictures! I hope to visit someday and your details give me ideas of where to stay! And how you handle certain situations is indicative of your being polite yet informative. Great article, thank you.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Umesh. I was surprised at how much information I collected about the hotel in a short time.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      3 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Elaborate and exhaustive. Well presented.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Linda. This stay definitely didn't go to plan. I guess you could say that we got an upgrade to a suite on the basis of the poor changing facilities by the indoor pool. The following day I made use of the gym equipment in the suite rather than brave the pool again.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Peg. It's interesting to hear that based on your past experience.

      I was pleased to be able to make use of the photos I took and I hope this article is helpful for anyone thinking of staying there.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You have some interesting experiences when you travel! This is a very informative article. I enjoyed looking at your photos. Some parts of the hotel look lovely. The changing rooms for the swimming pool sound very unpleasant, though.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Having stayed in a lot of hotels during my business travel days with the airline and as a project manager, I believe you summed up the experience well with, "Problems often arise in hotels, but what sets the best hotels apart from the rest is how they are dealt with. "

      Gorgeous photos and a great rundown of hotel amenities.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Mitara. Staff at InterContinental Malta did everything they could at the time to make our stay pleasant and memorable. It is a shame that the design of the hotel, the nearby building sites and the need for refurbishment on lower floors made the stay less than perfect. But good service counts for a lot.

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      3 months ago from South Africa

      A brilliant article.

      I must say with a warm welcome asking the occasion and receiving something complimentary during the stay, is impressive. The view is spectacular and scenic, and excellent tips, I am all for hotel rewards, I sign up for those wherever I vacation.

      Enjoyed the trip with you Liz,

      Take care, keep well and be safe

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Denise. I guess we were just being nosey. The adverts made so much of the Skybeach that we were intrigued to see what it was like. On the security front, it doesn't inspire me with confidence as a guest there.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 months ago from Fresno CA

      What an adventure getting lost/locked in on the upper floors of a 5-star hotel. It sounds like something I would have done. I'm surprised too that there were no security people to come get you.



    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Eman. I hope that it will give prospective guests an insight into the hotel.

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      3 months ago from Egypt

      This is a very detailed and helpful article for everyone who wants to know information about the Intercontinental Hotel Malta.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Both videos look interesting. We once hired a small narrow boat locally for the day. I stipulated that we required a toilet on board. The bucket with chemicals in it was not quite what I anticipated! We stopped at several pubs en route to use their facilities.

      We also visited Foxton Locks a few years back. It was very impressive.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      Yep, I love being on the water (even though I’m not a strong swimmer); my wife and son are less keen on it because they don’t have sea legs.

      When I was a teen (not long left school) I hired a motor cruiser on the Norfolk Broads with a mate for a week; then a few years later took my fiancée (now wife) on a similar week’s holiday on the Norfolk Broads. About 10 years back, while spending a week’s holiday in a converted Victorian windmill (Red Mill) on Haddiscoe Island in the Norfolk Broads (the largest inland island in Britain), we hired a motor cruiser for the day and explored the River Ant:

      One thing we’ve never have done is hire a narrow boat to explore the canals in England; but we did spend a day at Foxton Locks (built in 1814) which was very relaxing watching the narrow boats navigate all the locks:

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Taking to the water must have been quite an experience. No problem with parking a car We took boat trips around the canals of Ghent and Brugge while we were there. I once had a holiday on a narrow boat with friends. It was very relaxing to travel at a slower pace.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      Usually we just nip across into Belgium in and around the Ypres area so that we are just a short drive from the Ferry Port or Euro Tunnel in Calais; some wonderful cafes in Ypres and a few good shops, Markets and Garden Centres in the area that we often visit.

      Although the one time we did explore Belgium more extensively was when we hired a motor cruiser for a week with a couple of friends (shared the hire cost) and explored Belgium via its vast array of canals and rivers; travelling from Nieuwpoort to Brugge.

      The most memorable part of the journey being our day trip to Brugge, where we visited the Chocolate factory, explored the city and buying lots of Belgium chocolate at bargain prices.

      The most bizarre moment in Belgium was meeting back up with our friends in Brugge. First thing in the morning of our first full day there, after we moored in Burgge the evening before, we went our separate ways e.g. I, my wife and son went off together to explore, and our two friends went their way. We agreed that we would phone each other at 4pm so that we could arrange to meet somewhere for a meal.

      Come 4pm, my wife stood in one shop window and phone our friend’s mobile, and while she was doing that I stepped out into the road to get a good video shot of the ‘street scene’, but as I turned around to face my wife; there she was in the shop window phoning our friend, and on the other side of a stone pillar, in the adjoining shop window, was our friend with his mobile trying to phone my wife. Unfortunately, I was taken by surprise at the ‘comedy of it’ that I forgot to turn my video camera on and film the event.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      I suspect that we are not going to see such generous reward systems in the future, as hotel groups try to turn a profit in much reduced circumstances. Over the past few years we have noticed points inflation as the redemption rate for free nights has increased.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Watching the reward system of hotels as well as airlines can truly make trips of the future a better bargain. You and your husband appear to be experts in that regard. You have even based some of your trips using those parameters, which are a smart way to utilize those perks. I'll be looking forward to hearing more about your experiences.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      3 months ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      That would be great :) Then I get to see and read what you have experienced :) Stay safe :)

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Rochelle. While we were on Malta we visited St. Paul's Bay and took a boat trip past an island where there was a statue. I hope at some stage to write an article about the trips we took on Malta.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      3 months ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      I must say that this is helpful and full of information :) I felt like I was with you through reading and the images that you have shared. I have heard of the Island through the Bible where Paul's ship got shipwrecked :) Take care and God bless you!

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      We had a great trip to Belgium a few years ago. Holiday Inn were doing a 2 nights for the price of one deal, so we based ourselves in the Holiday Inn Ghent and used the tram and train to visit Ghent, Brugges and Bruxelles. It was much easier than driving. Fitted in Antwerp and Ypres on the trip as well.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      Yep, whenever we go via Calais we always add an extra day to the holiday so that we can spend a day in Belgium before returning to England.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      The Shuttle definitely saves time and going slightly out of peak season cuts the price. Calais is not a bad option for exploring east France/Germany or Belgium.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      We would defiantly prefer to go to Cherbourg rather than from Dover as it would save considerably on driving time, especially in France. If there wasn’t so much difference in price then nipping straight over to Brittany would be our first choice. But in recent years, whenever my wife has done the bookings via Dover has always been significantly cheaper; usually by ferry from Dover, but on a couple of occasions my wife was able to get an even cheaper fair on the Euro Tunnel, which is great as half hour on the train and we’re in France.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      We’ve been lucky with Rennes so far, it’s Nantes where we’ve been stuck in heavy traffic a couple of times.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Cinescenie is definitely impressive. It was a trade off for us, when travelling to Brittany and The Vendee. It saved time compared with Calais and we had family living in Poole. Recent trips over have been on the Shuttle.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      Yep, as you've said in your comments, even within the same hotel chain, one hotel can differ from another.

      It was the ferry to Cherbourg; never tried the Condor, but it's something to consider for future trips. Albeit, in recent years we've tended to go from Dover because it's been much cheaper.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      We have memories of traffic jams near Rennes on our dash for the port on the return journey.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      That's a much better Kyriad than the ones we've stayed in before. Had I not known I would have thought that it was your dog. Did you take the Condor to St. Malo or the ferry to Cherbourg? We've taken the Condor twice. Both were memorable experiences.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      Thanks Liz, yes the wobbly cyclists were fortunate in adding to the video; when I do videos of events covering that time period I always like to make a copy in the style of the old films befitting of the era e.g. in sepia format. I wish there was a Charlie Chaplin there; that would have been a cherry moment.

      Yes it was lucky timing; and not for the first time. On another trip to the Vendee, while looking for places to see we dropped in on the local ‘Tourist Information’ Office (once they re-opened after their siesta e.g. closed from 1pm until 4pm), and they suggested ‘Puy du Fou’ (fantastic theme park); and also sold us tickets for the evening show ‘Cinéscénie’, which we were lucky to get, because the Cinéscénie is so popular that to be sure of tickets you need to book months in advance.

      In fact we loved Puy du Fou and Cinéscénie so much that we booked tickets on-line a few years later to spend a couple of days there. Cinéscénie, with over 1,000 performers, is a two hour open air show starting after dark e.g. 10:00pm; and is quite spectacular. La Cinéscénie at Puy du Fou:

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      On reviewing the video below, I did also record the hotel for our overnight stop on our return journey (towards the end of the video); Ker Lann Hotel, Rennes, which was another fantastic hotel.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      I wish I did have more material to write about our hotel experience in France, but unfortunately because we don’t start looking for one until late afternoon (for an overnight stop) by the time we settle in, it’s late and we’re tired from a day’s journey; so all we want to do is have a meal (if we can find a local café/restaurant open that we like), and go to bed. Then we’re up at the crack of dawn so that we can have breakfast by 7:30 and be away by 8:30am at the latest; so that we can aim to arrive at our holiday destination by late morning or early afternoon and make a full day of it, before we book into our holiday accommodation at 4pm.

      Therefore, unfortunately we rarely have the time and energy to photograph the hotels we stop at, and invariably, because we stopped there on spec, don’t have any booking records, and I didn’t keep a record of the names and address of the hotels.

      On a typical journey to southern France, we’d leave home Thursday evening, arrive in Dover to catch an overnight ferry in the early hours of the morning, and be on the French motorways by 7am Friday. If we put our foot down and just drove (avoiding all their toll roads) we could be at our destination within 12 hours. But we like to meander leisurely, and enjoy the scenery on the way down, stopping at quaint villages for a coffee break and to admire the local village; hence why we break the journey up.

      However I did find some video footage of the hotel with the Labrador, in Nantes; it’s not very good footage because it was filmed with an old analogue video camera and with the technology it didn’t transfer to digital well; so I’ll have to find the old DVD I made at that time and have another go at transferring it to digital using more modern technology.

      But the hotel was one of the Kyriad hotels in Nantes; we have stayed at other Kyriad hotels since, but none have been as good as that one.

      If you’re interested in seen the hotel’s grounds, and more importantly dog, who followed us around as if he/she was ours; the footage is near the start of the video below (which sometime in the future I’d like to try to remaster because it’s old footage that didn’t transfer to digital well at the time). The people in the video are my wife and son:

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Peggy. I used to think that the big global hotel brands would offer a uniform experience whatever the location. But even within these brands each hotel and location offers a different experience. No two hotel stays are ever the same. This one was certainly an unusual one with an unexpected outcome for us. You are right about the approach to problems. I think if a guest were to confront staff about issues, immediately they would go on the defensive and stand their ground. It would also be quite unpleasant. It makes for a better stay all round if issues can be handled politely on all sides.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      What I have learned from your many hotel stays, including this one, is to be polite but also express concerns. You have been rewarded with upgrades many times. Thanks for showing us your experiences in visiting and then staying at the InterContinental Hotel in Malta. You are becoming an expert in reviewing hotels. I enjoyed your many photos. Thanks!

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      I enjoyed the video, Arthur too. I was expecting Charlie Chaplin to appear at any minute. Some of the cyclists looked a little wobbly. You struck lucky being there around that time.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your interesting comment, Arthur. It sounds like you have plenty of material for an article about hotel experiences in France. We once ended up near an industrial estate near Rheims.

      We have also occasionally resorted to a salad from the local supermarket as a meal in our hotel room. Food prices in hotels can be very expensive. That was why we opted for the Club Lounge on this occasion, as it was a fixed amount, which we didn't have to pay in the end anyway.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      3 months ago from England

      Wow, what an experience. We don’t use hotels much because we always go self-catering when on holiday; except for when travelling to southern France, when rather than try to do the whole journey in one day we break it up by stopping at a hotel overnight part way down, and then do the same thing in reverse for the return journey.

      When travelling to southern France we don’t pre plan the route or have any time schedule, we just let the satnav guide us, and then head towards the next major town or city a couple of hours before we want to call it a day, to give us time to look for a hotel. So we don’t pre-book, we just take our chances; albeit a couple of times the hotels have been a little disappointing e.g. stuck in the middle of a ‘Trading Estate’, mostly we’ve been lucky.

      Doing it this way our biggest problems are that my wife refuses to stop at 3* hotels, it has to be a 4* or 5*, and that can sometimes take a bit of searching for in a large town or city that you’re not familiar with; and out of principle we refuse to pay hotel prices for the meals, so when we do get settled in we then have to try to find a local café or restaurant that does food we all like. That last point can be challenging in France for a family of fussy eaters e.g. I’m a vegetarian, my wife doesn’t like spicy food and our son is very picky over what he eats.

      In spite of these challenges, we usually do find somewhere nice to eat out, making for an enjoyable end to the day. Albeit on a couple of occasions we’ve ended up just having our bread rolls with crisps and a hot drink from the flask e.g. the travelling food my wife packs for the journey.

      Our most memorable stay was an overnight stop in a hotel in Nantes, the proprietors were very friendly, and chatty, and welcoming, and it was only 60 euros each. The grounds were luxurious with woodland and pool, because they also had their own vineyard, and their Labrador dog was very friendly.

      Our most perturbing experience was arriving in Challans in the Vendee around 7pm, and not finding any hotels open except one rather basic hotel; and even then we had to telephone to get the manager to open up and let us in because all the staff go home in the evening?

      The hotel itself was ok, the room was rather basic but fine for overnight, but when my wife and son ventured out to look for somewhere to eat while I unpacked, they returned half an hour later because in Challans everything shuts down at 8pm?

      The one good thing that came out of that chance visit to Challans (silver lining) is that once a year Challans closes it streets to traffic to celebrate 100 years of Challans, and that celebration was due that weekend, so on the Saturday we returned to Challans, as it was only 30 miles from our campsite, and joined in with the celebrations.

      This is the video I made of our return visit to Challans (A most wonderful day out):-

      Bygone Years Challans 1910 (Autrefois Challans) France: Annual Event Stepping Back 100 Years in Time:

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, FlourishAnyway. I was surprised at how varied the standards were in the hotel. Adding the suites on the top plus the Skybeach on the roof must have been a major building project. I thought we might be reliant on a mobile phone to call for assistance to get down from the roof. It seemed strange to make the Skybeach such a focus on hotel advertising when it was not in use. I hope you are keeping well.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 months ago from USA

      Go for broke! You did well for yourself in landing that room 1812 with its amenities. Your experience really is a tale of two hotels. The experience of getting stuck on the roof with no easy way down is a little scary from several perspectives.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you very much for your comment, Lorna. We've never had an experience like it. It was interesting to see so many different rooms and we certainly didn't expect to get such an upgrade. Over the years we've learnt a lot and it's good to have an opportunity to share tips with others.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      3 months ago

      An excellent article Liz with lots of detailed explanations about the Hotel. I think I would have been very frustrated by your experience, however, I imagine the upgrade did make up for the inconvenience, and the staff did their best to deal with the issues. Your Top Tips are worth noting.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Pamela. It was an interesting experience and getting to stay in a highline suite was an unexpected bonus.

      It seems a world away from where we are now. I hope you are keeping well.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This looks like a wonderful vacation. The hotel is lovely and I love all of your pictures, especially the ones looking down at the pool and the sea.

      The hotel room looks so large and he furnishings are very nice. The bathroom also looks very good. All of the amentities in the lounge look good as well. Your descriptions and pictures make this such an interesting article, Liz.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Linda. It's good to see you on Hub Pages. InterContinental Malta is not one of their best. Some parts of it are lower standard than you would expect for the brand. Adding suites and an infinity pool on the roof I think was an attempt to raise the standard. They just have to sort out the lower floors now.

      Malta is an interesting island. I hope at some stage to have time to write more about Malta.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your encouraging comment, Chitrangada. It seems a far way off now, but writing was a welcome distraction during lockdown. When we visited Malta, our temperatures were checked on arrival. Shortly after we returned to the UK restrictions on travel were tightened. I hope you are keeping well.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      3 months ago from Arizona

      Wonderful article of the Intercontinental in Malta! The images are beautiful. I've always wanted to go to Malta. The Intercontinental resorts are extremely nice.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What an interesting and extensive review of this wonderful Intercontinental Hotel Malta. I enjoyed going through the details, and the amazing pictures. It can be anyone’s dream destination.

      You have done full justice to the virtual tour of this grand hotel.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thanks for your comment, Rosina. I am pleased that you enjoyed reading this. I take a lot of photos so these articles give me opportunity to make use of them.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thanks for your comment, Eric. Grey seems to be an 'in' color at the moment. We see it a lot in the more modern hotels. My review of InterContinental Estoril/Cascais Portugal on another site a few years ago was titled "Shades of Grey".

      I think the bigger the pool, the more expensive it is to run. Space is also an issue whether it be inside or on the roof. At least the lagoon pool was a good size, but probably unheated and therefore freezing cold in March.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment, Bill De Giulio. It is certainly an interesting island. While we were there in early March there was great debate as to whether a cruise ship should be allowed to dock, having been turned away by other ports. I would imagine that you probably covered a lot in a day, as it's a relatively small island.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      3 months ago

      Great hub, Liz. All the minute descriptions, vivid pictures, your thoughts and experiences at the Intercontinental Hotel Malta help us to see everything through our own eyes in the depth.

      I am glad to know although your experience at the hotel was disappointing at first, it ended up exceeding your expectations. Really good for you!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am a hostel dude by choice. But during my paydays was a 5 Star dude as you had to impress clients. I want to go to Malta now. I did not like the gray. Yuk, I want happy. Why was the one pool so tiny? So cool you dropped into the cooking place.

      I hope you write these for a living. The tax consequences could be great. Maybe no Euro for Euro but a dent.

      Thanks for taking me away.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Nice review, Liz. We spent one day on Malta as part of a Mediterranean Cruise a few years ago. It's a beautiful little island. We would love to go back someday. If we ever do we'll check out the InterContinental. The views from your balcony were wonderful. Interesting experience you had dealing with the issues and how you ultimately wound up in the Highline Suite.

    • Eurofile profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      Thanks for your comment, Bill. I never expected to stay in places like this. If we had to pay, we probably wouldn't. So, once inside, I figured that it might be an idea to open the door for readers to take a virtual tour.

      Whilst we were on Malta, we toured around a little and learnt about how much the island suffered in World War 2. Eventually I will get around to writing more. The Maltese made a lot of sacrifices.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a lifestyle I will never experience, but it is fascinating to see it through your photos. When I think of Malta I think of World War 2, the embattled little island so important to both sides. Now look at it, the jewel of the Mediterranean. Pretty amazing, really!


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