(Almost) Grand Hotel Excelsior, Valletta, Island of Malta
I have had plenty of time to ponder writing a review for this property and I promise to be as objective as possible. I will gauge my appreciation for the property using the retail price for the package, since the LL auction price is as low as a three star hotel in the area.
We both arrived with high expectations, excited that the hotel confirmed our requested New Yearís dates. As we pulled up, we immediately observed the awkward design of the hotel, the lobby was a few floors down from the street level. To walk to the property one needs to walk down a few flights of stairs, this might be an issue with those who have reduced mobility or after a long day of exploring Malta.
We walked in and were greeted by a very friendly bell boy, who quickly offered us some chilled juice. The receptionist, who seemed like she was having a bad day, suggested we sit down at the bar for about the 20 minutes and she will walk the keys over after the room, that she stated was clean, is double-checked. During our wait we had ample time to observe the lobby that looked like it was grand a long, long time ago, only to find out that the hotel has been running for much less time than expected for the level of ware and tear.
After an hour we decided it was time to see if we were simply forgotten. Sure enough, after I asked if the room was ready, she just pulled out a key from a drawer and handed it to us. At this point we were just looking forward to settling in.
As we walked into the room, we immediately noticed the staining on the beige carpet that everyone writes about on Tripadvisor. There was a lampshade on the table and the TV did not work. We were not impressed with the room to say the least. The view did make up for any shortcomings and we found ourselves spending plenty of time outside.
While we were unpacking, a waiter knocks on the door and delivers the included fruit basket. Nice touch right? Wrong. It was addressed to Capt. Z something or other, and though I might think so, Iím not a captain. Nice gestures like a fruit basket, all of a sudden fall flat.
Our room service experience was interesting. After placing our order, I called back to make sure they included ketchup with our midnight fries. Five minutes later, a waitress shows up with a little dish of ketchup, 30 minutes short of our food. We found that quite comical. . .
The executive lounge that was included in our package was very intimate. There were only two other guests present during our entire stay. The breakfast was decent but could be better for this caliber of property. The hors d'oeuvre selection was really two different types of mini pin wheels that werenít worth eating. A varied bar service was offered and served with a smile by the executive lounge staff.
We had booked our dinner a few weeks in advance to make sure we get a good table at the Admiralís Landing restaurant that has the beautiful bay windows overlooking the bay. We reconfirmed the reservation during our check in. Five minutes before our reservation time, we went downstairs at said restaurant, only to find our names on a sign saying that we should proceed to a different restaurant (I donít recall the name) in the hotel. We obliged and walked over to the other restaurant. They knew nothing of our reservation and told us that we will only be able to dine an hour later, when they are scheduled to open. She did however mention that we could go back and dine at the Admiralís Landing. Really?!
During check out we requested that they arrange a car transfer to the airport. They suggested that we wait, since the hotel car was taking a customer to Valletta and would return shortly. Without giving me a ETA, I requested that he call a cab. He seemed upset that I would even insist on cab and requested that I pay him in full. The car pulled up, it was a car from a local auto service, that was subcontracted by the hotel for overflow transfers. Kind of shady....oh well, we were on our way out.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! All in all, I still think the LL package is a good deal. I couldnít fathom accepting this level of service at retail pricing. Not the experience one would come to expect with LL properties.
On the other hand, it was holiday, high season. Your experience might be much better! Feel free to comeback with your perspective, I hope it is much better than ours!