This bastion of Maltese luxury – which is no accidental choice of words, as the hotel does actually have a bastion – is located in a 17th-century palazzo, complete with antiquities and classical artwork. The Xara Palace Relais & Chateau, once home to nobility in Malta’s old capital of Mdina, offers up a step back in time that is like no other.
Our stay at the Xara Palace Relais & Chateau put us OutThere explorers at the very heart of Malta‘s old citadel, free to roam this beautiful and mystical ‘Silent City’ (population 230 and two cloistered nuns) with its rich and interesting history, at our leisure. And just beyond the city walls, we also got to explore the chilled-out, relatively more modern Rabat with trendy cafes and small boutiques. We loved that the Xara Palace offered up such a contrast of experiences.
Carefully preserved and delicately renovated to suit the modern traveller, the Xara Palace’s just 17 rooms and suites provide for a truly experiential, OutThere stay, yet it leans towards the old-world hospitality and storytelling that we sometimes seek on our travels.
Opening the large double doors to our suite on the hotel’s first floor, we entered a quirky and cavernous space, whose focal points were a large, inviting bed complete with reclaimed bedhead and a raised, roll-top bath that offered fortress-guard-like views out the windows and over the countryside. Other, more premium accommodation at the Xara Palace continues the theme of grandeur, coming with terraces that boast hot tubs. Its Presidential Suite has hosted top-name royalty and dignitaries over the years; and at the time of press had just completed a recent make-over, adding much-welcomed pops of colour to what was a rather regal suite. But fear not, heritage buffs; like the rest of the hotel, the modern updates made here have not compromised the Xara Palace’s historical character.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
If dining on the rooftop bastion at one of Malta’s just five Michelin-starred restaurants doesn’t provide enough wow-factor for you, then ask the GM about private dining at de Mondion’s chef table, by special request. It’s an unbeatable, gastronomical experience and available only to those in the know. Well, now you know!
The attentive staff at the property is what made our stay; and the family who owns the hotel are very much part of the everyday proceedings, various members making themselves known to us each day to enquire if there was anything more they can do to make our stay more comfortable. We liked that personal touch.
The highlight though is of course the Michelin-starred, rooftop de Mondion restaurant, where an haute cuisine tasting menu is made all the more theatrical by a stunning view from the bastion walls, both of the island, but also of the rooftops and awe-inspiring architecture of Mdina. If like us, you timed your stay with a feast day, you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary firework display as well. Breakfast is also served here and if you cannot bag a reservation at de Mondion for any reason, the much-talked-about Trattoria AD1530 serves up more down-to-earth (the restaurant is on the ground floor) Maltese-Italian cuisine, with alfresco dining also available in a charming little square.