It’s hard not to be impressed by the love for luxury hospitality and the attention to detail that has gone into Iniala Harbour House, possibly Malta’s most luxurious design hotel, if not the most talked about.
From the moment we arrived on the tree-strewn driveway of the Iniala Harbour House, overlooking the Grand Harbour and saw the azure-blue shuttered façade of four restored and re-loved old Valletta townhouses, we knew that this was going to be a special place.
The magic and Iniala-branded storytelling crescendos indoors, accented by a super-friendly and charismatic, international team and management (not to mention a global brand ambassador, on-site to greet us). With just 23 luxurious, hideaway suites, Iniala may easily be pigeon-holed as a boutique hotel, but it punches high to redefine luxury hospitality in the country and will give Malta’s grande-dames, international superstars and newer, more hipster concept hotels alike, a serious run for their money. For us, it certainly cashes out as a winner for OutThere travellers.
The Iniala Harbour House weaves what seems like decades of high-luxury hospitality know-how (despite it being a newer kid on the block) with a contemporary design – with an eye trained firmly on the needs to exceed the expectations of a modern traveller. It takes its aesthetic influences and prowess from a number of different international design houses – but the most striking is by Turkish designers Autoban – melding one-off furnishings, fabrics and textures to dramatic effect, embodying the spirit of experiential travel without ever being overpowering. Yet, our suite oozed in sense of place, with its rooftop balcony opening up to the sea and Malta’s ancient and storied Three Cities.
Others have large gallarijas (cantilevered Maltese alcove windows), most offering the same, stupendous views that bring the island’s 16th-century storytelling and merge it with 21st-century comforts. And while every room is luxurious, no two rooms are twinned… in line with the workarounds required due to the strict restoration and historic preservation rules for the building. So, our advice is not to look for room categories when researching your stay here; rather, Iniala Harbour House soon-to-be residents should really choose a favourite suite layout.
|Perfect for||Fly into||Right on time|
|The Sophisticate||MLA||GMT +1|
|While you’re Out There|
|Iniala Harbour House’s sense of place is as much about the sea and the historic Grand Harbour, as it is about old Valletta, so do ask the team there to arrange a day trip to the oceanic wonderland around Comino and Gozo (if you love scuba-diving, you’re in for a treat). Board the hotel’s own private yacht – the Iniala Spirit – a 44ft Riva pleasure-craft for an excursion that will blow your mind, but maybe also your budget. Though in any case, we can assure you it’ll be worth it.|
When we return, we’ll opt for the hotel’s grandest accommodation, the Presidential Suite, an enormous, jaw-dropping place to stay, with no stone left unturned, coming with its own private plunge pool.
Residency comes with some fab, ‘members-only’ perks. After a long day of exploring Valletta (all the main sites are just a short walk from the hotel), we returned back to its gorgeous subterranean spa, a split-level escape with an indoor pool and a number of travel-weary soothing treatments. The Vault bar is also a chic, designer space that encourages much raconteuring with other Iniala Harbour House guests.
As for dining, foodies need not wander far – the globally-acclaimed, Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant ION – The Harbour was awarded a prestigious one-star rating just a few months into its opening. Breakfast is served in the same top-floor space, albeit a much more casual and laid-back affair.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. And especially for LGBTQIA+ OutThere travellers, the team has gone the distance to demonstrate its inclusivity, with its participation in many travel events and forums to celebrate and ensure greater diversity in its guest base.
Iniala Harbour House has made an indelible mark on luxury in Malta. Others would be foolish not to follow in their footsteps.
Photography courtesy of Iniala Harbour House