This is part 17 in a series about my summer 2017 trip, which took me to Norway, the Netherlands, and Malta. You can read an overview of the trip here.
There are two Radisson Blu hotels on Malta – the Golden Sands and St. Julian’s. The Golden Sands has a nicer beach and is more resorty, but is in a fairly remote part of the island. The St. Julian’s, one, though, is not far from the Intercontinental in Paceville, so was a better fit for my travels. In all, the hotel was fine, and a decent use of points, but I don’t think I’d stay there again.
The Radisson Blu is about a 15-minute walk (uphill) from the Intercontinental. There’s really nothing around the hotel itself, but there are a number of restaurants at the Corinthia complex next door, and it’s a pleasant walk to the restaurants and shopping of Paceville if you don’t have luggage. There’s no beach at the property, but it is surrounded by water and has more of a “grounds” than the Intercontinental.
From check-in on, the hotel struck me as a lot less polished than the Intercontinental. Although it wasn’t busy when I checked in, there was no offer of baggage assistance or acknowledgment of my elite status at check-in. My room on the fifth floor didn’t appear to be an upgrade, or maybe was from “Deluxe” to “Deluxe Superior.” It looked over the courtyard eating area, whereas the next category up seemed to be “Sea View” – which had plenty of availability for my stay, as did “Business Class” and every suite. Oddly, the hotel website shows hardwood floors in all the rooms, but mine had carpet.
The room itself was fine, but a bit smaller than that at the IC. It seemed to have been refreshed not too long ago, but there still were insufficient outlets by the bed. Aside from a Queen size bed, there was a desk, dresser with TV, and side chair and table. There were sliding doors to the balcony, but the curtains that came across were threadbare, such that sun came through the holes.
The bathroom was very nice and modern and seemed not to match with the rest of the room. It had two small sinks, and though it had the standard cheap Radisson toiletries, it also had dental and shaving kits.
There was an unexpectedly nice welcome amenity awaiting me–something many Club Carlson properties fail at—consisting of a bottle of wine, water, fruit, nuts, dried fruit, and cookies
The property itself is fairly large. It’s 7 floors, On the floor I was on, I had to walk past a conference room that had coffee and such set up outside in the hallway, which was odd. There were several restaurants, but none seemed that inspiring. There was a buffet with dinner for 32 EUR, and then more formal and more casual options. There’s a lounge I didn’t purchase access too, and I was offered breakfast at check-in for a “discount” of 16 EUR. One thing the hotel did have was a hair salon and a dental spa, which the IC had had also and seemed weird.
After a bath and a nap, I headed down to explore the pool area. There was a big pool in the center of the hotel, with a swim-up bar, which was almost completely covered by shade. Then there was a long walkway to another pool area. On the way, there were little nooks with umbrellas, small tables, and 2 chairs – first come, first serve – looking out onto the ocean. Then finally there was a larger pool area “The Edge Beach Club”, with a range of seating, a water slide, a kiddie pool, and a bar which seemed closed. It was hard to figure out how to get a towel, but I did, and set myself in for some reading. (There was also a cove that allowed you to jump right from the rocks into the water, which I passed on.)
I read and swam and read some more. It wasn’t very beach clubby, and there were a ton of kids and loud families, but I still got some good relaxation time in. One thing that was annoying is they came and closed all the umbrellas at 6:15pm – though the sun was still bright and shining, and the pool was open. I relocated a few times to try and find natural shade, but between my Kindle and sensitive skin, gave up, went inside and changed for the gym.
There is both a gym and an indoor pool at the Radisson St. Julian’s. The gym was filthy, with the hamper overflowing with used towels, and dirty and wet floors. The room had way too much equipment, kind of crowded and some nonsensical. For example, there was a rack with 2 5kg plates, but no other plates to be found. There was also terrible pop music loudly blasting from the TVs and try as I might, I couldn’t find any way to turn it down or off. Strangely, the gym also seemed to occupy prime real estate at the hotel, as it had great views of the sunset- views no bar, lobby, or pool had.
The only truly bad experience I had was when I tried to sleep on my first night. I had an early day ahead of me as I was heading to Gozo and Comino. But there was live (bad) music being played in the courtyard outside my room. And 5 floors up it was very loud. At 11:05pm, I called down because there was no way I could sleep. They told me it would stop at 11:30pm. I can’t image I’m the only guest who wanted to go to bed before 11:30pm – particularly given how many kids were on-property. He must’ve stopped early because I called, as he ended at 11:15pm. To give you an idea of the not-so-soothing nature, this was what it was when I opened the non-soundproof sliding doors:
Part of my decision-making in adding on Malta to my between-jobs adventure was that I wouldn’t have to spend cash on hotels. With my goal of using points, and the point balances I had, one night at the Intercontinental and two nights at the Radisson Blu made sense. That being said, if I were to go to Malta again, I probably wouldn’t stay at either, mostly due to location, but also because on an island that really has wow-potential, neither hotel was wow-ing. I’m not sure which hotel was better. The IC had better service, but the grounds of the Radisson are more resortlike.