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The Xara Palace, Mdina, Malta
Like staying in a grand aristocratic family home, but with a totally relaxed atmosphere, Xara Palace is in a brilliant position in the historic walls of Malta's medieval former capital, Mdina. In fact it was its very first five-star hotel. Originally built in the 17th century, the palace has changed hands only a few times, and its current owners are a local family who bought the property in 1998, and have spent lots of time and care renovating it to its former glory. Previously there were 32 rooms, but these have been expanded so that now there are just 17 spacious suites, arranged around an airy, indoor courtyard. There are two restaurants on-site - one, the fine-dining de Mondion, was the first restaurant on Malta to be awarded a Michelin star, while the other, Trattoria 1530, is a more relaxed, casual affair.
After soaking up the history and walking along the ancient walls, don't miss sitting down for a well-earned rest with a huge slab of cake and cup of tea at Fontanella Tea Garden, a Mdina institution.
The hotel is set into the city walls of Mdina and within walking distance of many of the city's historic sites.
By plane: flights to Malta from London take 3 hours 15 mins; flights from Manchester take 3 hours 35 mins. The hotel is a 25-minute drive from the airport. Free public parking nearby. skyscanner.net
Style & Character
The Xara Palace is erfect for couples and older travellers who appreciate art and antiques, it feels cosy and romantic. You get a lovely sense of serenity on walking through the front door, where the noise of the citadel is left behind, and the ambience feels timeless.
Service & Facilities
You really feel the staff's dedication to making sure all their guests are comfortable and enjoying their stay, it's a reassuring experience.
- Swimming pool
- Fitness centre
- Free public parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The Deluxe Rooms with a panoramic porch - offering sweeping views out across Malta - are set on top of the terrace and overlook the glass-roofed courtyard. We love the sense that you're a guest in someone's home, rather than in an impersonal, cookie-cutter hotel suite - that's what makes a stay here special.
Duplex Room, Deluxe Room, Duplex Suite, Deluxe Suite, Executive Suite, Deluxe Suite, Executive Duplex Suite, Presidential Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom, free toiletries, bathrobe and slippers, hairdryer, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
Neither restaurant feels stuffy, and both celebrate local ingredients and recipes. The roasted chicken breast with wild mushroom, cream and wholegrain mustard sauce at Trattoria 1530 is particularly delicious.
de Mondion: fine dining, Michelin star. Dishes include pigeon with beetroot and pearl onion tarte tatin. Open Fri & Sat for lunch and Tues-Sat for dinner. Mains from €33.
Trattoria AD1530: pasta, pizza, risotto, meat and fish, soups, salads. Open Thurs-Mon from noon, Tues & Weds 12-3pm. Mains from €15.95.