Hotels in Malta are super cheap during winter, so Joe and I are having great fun staying at different ones occasionally at the weekends. We’re talking 4 and 5 star hotels for less than €50 for the night, for both of us, usually including breakfast and use of the spa, so it’s a great time to test out these hotels and see if they’d be worth the full price during summer.
This weekend we headed up north to Mellieha and tested out the Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa. It’s a 4* hotel but has very mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, but overall has a rating of 4/5 on there too, so we figured, how bad can it be? The bad reviews were really very bad though (smell of sewage, items stolen from the rooms, money taken from cards without authorisation and rude staff) so I had pretty low expectations. I’ll say right off the bat, after reading the terrible reviews we were pleasantly surprised, however this hotel is a 2.5* at best, with the potential for a 3*, but there is no way it’s a 4* hotel and if that’s what you go there expecting, you will be sorely disappointed.
Check-in was a fairly stressful affair. As with all hotels (and I will never understand this) we had to forward them our confirmation email, then fill in a card with our names, DOBS, address, email address and all other kinds of personal information which is frankly, none of their damn business.
Plus, this isn’t the hotels fault, but it was obviously very booked up that day as the queue to check in was absolutely huge and with it taking at least 15 minutes for each customer, was not the best start.
The Smell / The Tunnel
I read a lot about ‘the smell’ and ‘the tunnel’ when reading up on this hotel. There are two parts to the Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa, one half of which is reached by going down in an elevator, then through a tunnel underground. Everyone said it stinks and yes, yes it does. It’s not a claustrophobic tunnel like you might expect, just seems like a normal hotel corridor but the smell of sewage and damp was very thick in the air, only they’d clearly read the reviews and instead of addressing the problems, had covered the walls in air freshener pumps which spew out chemical scents at set intervals and incense sticks lined each wall. The result was a horrible mix of sewage, damp, chemicals and musk.
In fact, this smell permeated pretty much the whole building and any corridor we followed in the hotel. Luckily it didn’t extend into our room. That smelled a little abandoned, like it had been empty for a while, when we first walked in but we didn’t notice it again after that.
We were on the 3rd floor in 314 and the room was absolutely huge. We paid a little extra for a deluxe room but we were still very impressed with the size. We saw a floor plan and it was the biggest room on the floor, at least twice as big as most of the others.
Most of it was wasted space, as you walked in and there was a long L shaped corridor with a sofa and a shower room, then the actual bedroom was at the end of the corridor, just passed a second bathroom, this time with a bath.
There was a huuuuge terrace filled with sunbeds and a table and chairs, which would be wonderful in summer, especially with the side sea view.
The bedroom itself didn’t have a door, so although there was a heating vent, it was hard to keep it warm and I felt cold during my entire stay at the Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa. The beds were two single beds, pushed together (which I hate anyway) but made up as single beds, so they were even more separate.
We had a toilet and shower room, plus a full bathroom with a bath, toilet and shower. The shower room looked really cool, like a rainforest wet room but wasn’t so practical. The shower head sprayed water in literally every direction except down so the walls got wet, your eyes got wet and the toilet roll got soaked, but not much washing got done. There were also NO MINIATURE TOILETRIES! There were a few tiny bars of soap, but that was it. No shower gel, shampoo, bubble bath, body lotion. In the wet room there was some kind of liquid soap dispenser on the wall but in my experience the stuff in there is always questionable and often ‘gone off’. This stuff had no scent and made no bubbles so was useless as a body wash or shampoo. Hugely shocked to see a hotel claiming to be 4* with no damn toiletries.
Maritim Antonine Indoor Pool & Spa
We didn’t have any paid for treatments, so didn’t use the spa as such but we made use of the indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. This was a really weird set up, usually these facilities are all in together so you can easily move from one to the other, but at the Maritim Antonine Hotel and Spa the indoor pool and hot tub was on one floor (next to the restaurant, ick) and the changing rooms, steam room and sauna were on another floor. You also don’t get robes or slippers so have to walk from one floor to another sopping wet in swimwear and barefoot. Very odd.
You also had to pay a €10 deposit for a locker key in the changing room. What?! Who goes down to the sauna with their purse? I had my ipad and a few bits (I hoped to get some pics but it was just too busy) so when I went in the sauna I could either leave it in the changing rooms, unlocked, or bring it in the hot sauna, or (as I chose to do) leave it just outside the sauna where I could see through the glass door. Still not exactly safe.
The steam room was out of order, so that was a no go.
There was one sauna, which was about big enough for 4 people and had hot rocks but no water bucket and spoon and it didn’t get very hot at all. It was a good size though and we actually had 5 people in there at one point, it was a bit cramped for our liking but everyone else seemed happy and had space to stretch out a little.
Indoor Pool & Jacuzzi
The indoor pool was actually very nice, the room was heated and steamy and the water was warm. The jacuzzi was big enough for one lone person, or a couple; if you were two people who didn’t know each other then it really wouldn’t work as you had to have one persons legs on top of another so it was way too small. It was also cold.
- The smell
- The €10 deposit for a locker in the changing rooms
- Pool/sauna on different levels
- No miniatures
- No robes/slippers
- To get pool towels, you are given a little business card thing saying “POOL TOWEL” which you take to reception and swap for a towel. It’s just a piece of cardboard. If you lose the card, NOT A TOWEL, you’re charged €25.
- Upon check-in we were given a leaflet/voucher for a set menu for €26.50 per person at The Arches (the hotel restaurant; a super highly rated ‘silver service’ type place). The leaflet didn’t say what the set menu was, the hotel and restaurant websites made no mention of it, I called reception and they couldn’t tell me and told me to come down to reception, when I got down they couldn’t tell me either. Just a bit weird going into a fancy restaurant, asking to see the set menu then having to walk out if you don’t like the look of it (exactly what we ended up doing!).
Not a 4*, but OK for the price IN WINTER
We paid €39 for one night bed and breakfast at the Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa (although we didn’t bother with the breakfast) which was undoubtedly a bargain. In winter, it’s a great price for a nice room in a good looking, but smelly, hotel building with a pleasant (if badly arranged) indoor pool and spa area. However there is no way it’s a 4* hotel and this rating is incredibly misleading. I don’t know the price of the rooms in summer, but it could be anything up to x10 more expensive and it would be a real waste of money when you could get a much better experience at other lovely hotels on the island.