Celeb spotting in a not-so-grand Grand

1043 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type



Date of travel

September, 2023

Product name

The Grand

Product country


Product city


Travelled with


Reasons for trip


Let’s start with the most outstanding feature of The Grand, which is without doubt, its location overlooking Gozo’s Mgarr Harbour. Despite being a tiny island there is a huge volume of shipping activity with many tourists flocking over on day trips from neighbouring Malta. From our balcony we spent hours watching three large car ferries arrive and depart, along with the fast passenger ferry, and numerous other smaller boats. We also had a great view of the Church of the Madonna of Lourdes and Fort Chambray, both high on a hill overlooking the harbour.

However, this is where the four-star Grand stops being ‘grand’ and becomes, in my mind, a mediocre three-star hotel. The hotel is divided into two sections with a third being developed. Our standard room was in the older, original part, and it showed. The room was badly configured with the slightly outdated furniture creating a narrow corridor and a large empty space. In addition, on arrival, there were a series of housekeeping/maintenance issues which required attention, including a red wine stain on the duvet, malfunctioning plug point, and drawer knob which fell off in my hand.

The dated bathroom was in serious need of refurbishment and the shower over a small bath had a head so low, my husband had to duck under it, and the shower curtain was grim. The basin was huge, but the water pressure poor. However, having asked us to preserve water and hang towels for reuse, this was abided by, unlike many hotels who automatically change regardless.

Having asked generally about the different room types, we were shown to an alternative room in the newer section. However, this had the outdoor pool right in front of the balcony, and although it was slightly larger, the bathroom was still as old-fashioned.

On our second day, the two bottles of complimentary water had not been replaced, and having been told it was because we were in a standard room, I wrote a rather scathing Trip Advisor review. This generated daily offers of alternative rooms, the provision of slippers and robes, and a huge stack of toiletries (I’d checked whether the water issue applied to these as well). Needless to say, water was provided thereafter. Wi-Fi was complimentary but frustratingly slow and erratic although the air conditioning was good.

Breakfast was reasonable and served in a rather formal ground-floor restaurant. There were two juices, a small selection of cut fruit and cereals, pots of yoghurt, cold meats, cheese and salads along with a buffet of all the elements of a full English including fried and scrambled eggs. Rolls and warm bread were available along with Danish pastries. Coffee machines dispensed speciality coffees, with what we found to be rather sweet milk and so we opted for ‘cold cereal milk’ in our drinks.

Having just had two weeks chilling in Malta, we didn’t use either the indoor or outdoor swimming pools, particularly as the loungers round the latter were particularly ‘nipped in’.

Whilst we enjoyed excellent, good-value sandwich lunches on the hotel’s front terrace, we only ate in once – where pub style meals were served in the bar. There was a fancy fine dining restaurant on the 9th floor which had a happy hour where we enjoyed beautifully served cocktails at €12 each: 2-4-1 with complimentary canapes. The 8th floor restaurant had a daily schedule of a set menu, Grand BBQ or a tasting menu of seven courses for €65 or nine for €85. Bearing in mind there were a plethora of restaurants within a 10-to-15-minute walk where we could eat comfortably with a bottle of wine for around €50, it seemed a little overpriced.

I suspect experiences depend on the type of room you pay for, and where in the maze and labyrinth of the hotel it is located. Having got out of the lift at the third floor, we then had to negotiate our luggage up a flight of four steps and then a curved set of 11 marble steps with no offer of help.

However, one of the most fun things about the hotel was ‘celeb spotting’ as the cast of the Channel Five comedy drama, The Madam Blanc Mysteries were staying in the hotel whilst filming in Gozo. This included, Sally Lindsay (the barmaid in Corrie), Robin Askwith (Confessions of a Window Cleaner, who still sports a magnificent hairstyle), Sue Holderness (a memorable Marlene in Only Fools and Horses), and the diminutive Tony Robinson. We look forward to seeing the series when it is broadcast in 2024.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.