Cavalieri Art Hotel, St Julian’s
North of Valletta, along the coast, is St Julian’s and the Cavalieri Art Hotel. They regularly hold exhibitions of work by various artists, mainly but not only Maltese artists, and this time there was a wide range of sculptures on display.
It is a 4* hotel with lovely indoor pool at 28ᵒ in the water and air temperature 30ᵒ. There is an outdoor pool, plus access to the sea if you really prefer, and a very pleasant terrace area. They are still working on some refurbishments, but overall the rooms are comfortable. It is away from the busy main road with all the noise of traffic and bars, but the street is very uneven and would be difficult if you have limited mobility.
St Julian’s is not our favourite part of Malta, but there are lots of bars and restaurants (a bit expensive generally) to choose from and it is on the main bus route to and from Valletta and the north of the island. We tried the Sardinella restaurant in the main street, nice atmosphere, good menu choice and lovely presentation of the food. Prices are good and we just had a half-bottle of (good) Maltese wine at €7.25 so a pleasant evening.
Meridiana wine tasting
We cannot have a trip without a wine tasting so we went to the Meridiana Wine Estate at Ta’ Qali (near to the Craft Village is easiest way to locate it on the map). This is a small winery producing 140,000 bottles a year so considered to be a bit bigger than a ‘boutique’ winery. They have been going for 20 years and have the backing of famous Italian company Antinori, producing excellent quality wines, just 9 labels, but more than 95% sold in Malta. It doesn’t leave much for export, of course, but after tasting their reds, you can see that it would be very popular as export if they had the capacity. They are happy to show groups of guests around, with wine tasting of three wines, so your hotel should be able to organise this. We were using public transport, but it does involve some walking distance so better to have a taxi.
Dolmen Resort Hotel
We spent our final two nights at the Dolmen Resort Hotel in Bugibba, a recently refurbished high end 4* hotel. It was a warm welcome and tour of the facilities – a lot has been refurbished since this time last year and all to a very high standard. The spa, outdoor pools and beachside areas are really well laid out and from May onwards, there are tables, chairs and sun loungers set out for guests (although it was warm and sunny when we were there so some guests were already out on the loungers). We were surprised at how big the site is, including a cafe area and large buffet restaurant.
We had a ‘snack’ lunch in the Delos Coffee Shop that was much more substantial than we thought it would be! The Maltese platter contained meat, cheese, olives and breads and I had just two side dishes, a bowl of potato wedges and a side salad. We could have had one or the other between us for a snack lunch! It was a tasty mix of flavours and textures, excellent presentation and good value.
We had a splendid bathroom and bedroom with great views across the pool, the grounds and St Paul’s Bay. Main meals are taken in the buffet restaurant with a wide choice of hot dishes, pasta, cold salads and desserts plus unlimited wine or soft drinks. It is a big room so a buzzing, lively atmosphere yet food quality and presentation is the best we have experienced from a buffet system – especially hot food that is actually hot.
The hotel hosts lots of conferences and events over the year, still busy in November, but it is definitely worth considering late or early months of the year even though the outdoor facilities are only open between May and October. The hotel is in a perfect location for the busy sea-side part of Bugibba and the shops, has its own casino, and is near to the bus terminus. You can get a bus here back to Valetta or north to Mellieha, the famous Popeye Village, or the ferry terminal to Gozo. We caught an early bus at 7.00am direct to the airport so it is an ideal point to end, or start, a visit to Malta.
You may also enjoy reading:
- Gozo: an island with the lightest touch, Headwater
- 3 Day Stay in Gozo, Malta
- Malta, travel to a touch of England in the Med
- Mellieha, Malta
- Things to do and attractions in Gozo
- Things to do and attractions in Malta
- Travelling around Malta by bus, on foot and visiting Comino