The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel
THE PHOENICIA MALTA
Malta’s best-known hotel has an attractively simple layout – its elegant Palm Court leading through original glass doors to the Phoenix restaurant and its lovely elevated terrace overlooking lush gardens. It was refurbished in 2017
and is now fresh and fashionable, but has lost none of its dignified demeanour. The hotel was built in the late 1930s by Lord Strickland, 1st Baron Strickland, fourth prime minister of Malta, and his wife Lady Margaret. The couple wanted to provide Malta with a luxury hotel
of international standards, but it was not until 1948 that the then widowed Lady Strickland finally opened the hotel,
it having been requisitioned by the RAF
during the war.
Two wings house the 137 bedrooms and suites, which overlook either
the Grand or the Marsamxett Harbour, many with balconies.
There is a clubby cocktail bar, its walls
decorated with photographs of past guests, including Nöel Coward and Winston Churchill; and in the
Palm Court, the charming scenes of Malta by artist EC Dingli are a highlight. On the floor below, the art deco ballroom is where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince
Philip used to enjoy dancing when they lived in Malta in the 1950s. In the refined Phoenix restaurant, the food is simple yet sensational:
sea urchin risotto followed by line-caught red snapper with white asparagus for dinner, say, accompanied by one
of the very drinkable Maltese wines on the list. The dreamy infinity pool overlooks the harbour, while the hotel’s recently constructed spa is a place of calm sophistication. Doubles from £196
(00 356 2291 1023; phoeniciamalta.com)