The St George’s Bay and St Julian’s area of Malta is like a Rubik’s Cube, with narrow winding streets and buildings that seem to wrap around each other. A highly impressive luxury business hotel, InterContinental Malta – above – is more or less anchor of this high-density complex. A ziggurat formation gave the original 2003-vintage building substantial end terraces on all its 15 floors, but in 2006 the owners, the De Cesare family’s Eden Leisure Group, wanted more. They added two more floors, which gives also a stunning 19th floor rooftop, with infinity pool, all reserved for those staying in the 30 ultra-luxe suites on the17th and 18th floors.
I was in one of these new suites, #1716, a full 140-metre walk from the elevators. Get to the suite and, as the video below shows, all-wall windows open to a long terrace and strategic views of the locale. I had more exercise using the Technogym jogger which came, with an elliptical, a fuchsia yoga mat and dayglo green two-kilo dumbbells, in my private gym area, and then I thoroughly enjoyed a simple salmon salad from the room service menu (I added the avocado). With these new suites, by the way, the hotel has a total of 481 rooms and suites. Unemployment is Malta is, thanks to a large extent to the gaming sector, virtually zero and in summer the winter-long headcount of 300 is boosted, by seasonal workers, up to 800.
In summer the hotel’s private beach, ten minutes’ walk down one of those twisting roads, comes into play, along with its Paranga beach-set restaurant that will, as of this summer, have an additional upper floor, serving pizzas and pastas (yes, the De Cesares do tend to think vertically). In addition, the 19th floor rooftop has an outdoor restaurant that anyone can go to, with reservations, and on Sundays anyone can buy access to that infinity pool and its surrounding deck and cabanas. The year-round indoor pool is one of the links in the Rubik’s Cube. From the spa on the hotel’s fifth floor you put on blue shower caps, to cover your shoes, to walk round the indoor pool to get through to Cynergi fitness. Wow, this Eden Leisure facility, not part of the hotel but guests can use it, is sensational. This is where Malta’s Beautiful Bodies work out, and network.
I wanted to see where its main entrance was and, having gone down a wooden spiral staircase, I emerged in the entrance to an indoor and underground carpark next to a Holiday Inn Express, which is also Eden-owned. Dinner was with Martin van Kan, boss of this luxury hotel – we met up first in the 15th floor Club Lounge and I learned about local artist Stephanie Borg’s most appealing art, featuring traditional Maltese doors and tiles. We talked history, and the incredible arts events, over 400 in all, that are being featured Valletta’s current tenure as European Capital of Culture. And then, as post-prandial balance, Martin van Kan showed off InterContinental Malta’s futuristic conference centre, the largest venue in town. NOW TOUR SUITE 1716 (WHICH ALSO HAS A KITCHENETTE AND GYM)