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Malta

Fit for a Queen – The Xara Palace

Malta has a number of fabulous hotels: from 5* hotels from the branded chains to specialist boutique hotels in converted palazzi there is something for everyone and every budget. However, there is one hotel that was the first ‘Boutique’ style offer on the island and, located as it is in the Silent City of Mdina, holds a place in the heart of everyone who visits or stays there. That hotel is The Xara Palace.

The hotel has recently undergone a refurbishment and the mix of heritage and 21st century luxury is just beautiful. As you enter through the massive doors your first impression of is of cool graciousness. A spacious reception leads into the stunning atrium and glass roofed courtyard and a spectacular marble staircase leading up to the bedrooms and roof.

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Situated in an elegant and shady square just inside the walled city, The Xara Palace reminds you of the beautiful European hotels frequented by film stars and royalty in 1960s. You can imagine Grace Kelly or Jane Birkin (both of whom were the inspiration for the famed Hermés bags) sipping a very dry Martini there.

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Even today, you have a good chance of seeing ‘someone’ as the hotel is both internationally renowned and has looked after musicians, film stars, international businesspeople, VIPs and more. The Xara Palace prides itself on its attention to detail and the delivery of perfect service to every guest and so we spent two days of bliss there.

A stunning space leading to the terrace and jacuzzi for relaxing and luxuriating with a gorgeous view of the Maltese countryside as far as the sea.

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The king-size bed, fine linen and beautiful colour schemes are a lovely hideaway from the sunshine when you come in. There is of course a full array of goodies from individually controlled A/C, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, hairdryer and a trouser press to exquisite toiletries from L’Occitane in the elegant marble bathroom. If you need to re-charge your batteries and enjoy some serene time, then this is the room for you.

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The hotel has a select range of bedrooms and suites to choose from, including the duplex Presidential Suite complete with a stone terrace and balcony overlooking the square. The hotel is mostly furnished with antiques, carefully chosen for their beauty and authenticity. The air of tranquillity and refined elegance this creates is wonderful. No detail is too small and it is this attention that makes The Xara Palace so special.

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The hotel is also famous for its restaurants. As part of Relais & Chateaux since 2001, The de Mondion Restaurant is easily world- class. Located at roof level within the bastion walls and with 180 panoramic views of unspoiled countryside, it really is a different world.

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The restaurant offers fine dining and impeccable service. With a choice of the beautiful inside dining room or the glorious terrace in the sunset, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic evening.

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Trattoria AD 1530 is located in the square outside the Xara with open air seating under a beautiful pergola as well as inside seating. This is a more casual restaurant but still with impeccable service and a gorgeous menu.

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Perfect for sitting and watching the world go by as you enjoy delicious pizza, pasta and chilled drinks.

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The Medina Restaurant is located in a separate courtyard and building and offers the lovely concept of sharing platters and fresh, locally sourced ingredients for an innovative menu to showcase the chef’s skills and imagination. Deconstructed cannoli has got to be tried!

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Last but certainly not least is the Palazzo de Piro.

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A stunning space with great views and gorgeous bistro menu as well as Afternoon Tea, the inside/outside space is perfect for coffee, breakfast, business meetings, girls’ lunch, you name it, the Palazzo de Piro is the go-to place in Mdina.

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A trip to The Xara Palace is an amazing experience. It is an international hotel in terms of its hugely professional service and very high standards but still retaining its beautiful Maltese character. Beg, borrow or steal if you have to, just make sure you go!

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Photo by Suzana Simijonovic

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