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A peek inside the Phoenicia Hotel following its €15m refurbishment

'Renovation work done will take the hotel through at least another 25 years.'

The refurbished lobby area of The Phoenicia Malta. Photos: Mark Zammit Cordina

The refurbished lobby area of The Phoenicia Malta. Photos: Mark Zammit Cordina

The Phoenicia Malta has reopened its doors for business under new management and after an impressive €15 million refurbishment.

Gordon Campbell Gray, chairman of Campell Gray Hotels, which manages the hotel, told The Sunday Times of Malta: “The Phoenicia is a grand hotel of the island which is open to all, inclusive and accessible. It’s a hotel for today with a fresh design.  The extensive renovation work done will take the hotel through at least another 25 years.

“Our aim has been to restore The Phoenicia to its original grandeur yet implement improvements that will appeal to a discerning modern-day guest. We want not only to welcome tourists but also Maltese who feel at home here and can try out our great restaurants or just come over for a cup of tea or a drink.”

The Phoenicia, he says, has a super chef and super food which he prefers not to call fine dining. “Eating out is fun, it is not a serious occasion. If diners say ‘It was fun’, we have won,” he explains. 

The Phoenicia Malta is now aligned with other Campbell Gray properties, including Le Gray Beirut, Campbell Gray Hotel & Resi­dences, Amman and The Machrie Hotel and Golf Links on the Isle of Islay in Scotland (the latter two scheduled to open in 2018). 

Gordon Campbell Gray: “At The Phoenicia we want not only to welcome tourists but also Maltese who feel at home here”.Gordon Campbell Gray: “At The Phoenicia we want not only to welcome tourists but also Maltese who feel at home here”.

Campbell Gray Hotels is an international hotel management company focused on creating and de­signing a collection of highly individual hotels around the world.  Mr Campbell Gray stresses that his hotels look like “cousins”, not “bro­thers and sisters”, and that each hotel has its own individuality.

He believes Malta “is on the up” and that there is a lot to be positive about, stressing that The Phoenicia will promote Malta, which he calls “exciting and interesting”.

“Mdina, Valletta and Gozo are all spectacular and I know so many people who when visiting Malta for the first time are really very impressed by the place. We will market Malta and The Phoenicia in the international press,” he says, adding that the German, Swiss, US, and UK press have already written about the hotel.

The Phoenicia Malta has reopened under new management after an impressive €15 million refurbishment

The hotel reopened on Easter Saturday, April 15, almost a year later than it was targeted to open.

“We found things we didn’t expect to find,” Mr Campbell Gray says, referring to the discovery of a potentially ancient section of the bastion wall when the renovation was taking place, which led to a short delay in the works.

The Phoenicia was fully booked from day one of its re-opening, he points out, adding that as a Campbell Gray hotel, it is a member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’, one of the largest luxury hotel collections in the world consisting of more than 375 hotels in 75 countries.

To be considered for inclusion in ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’ a hotel must be in the luxury category and meet the most demanding standards with respect to accommodation, service, cuisine, em­ployee behaviour and facilities.

The refurbishment of the hotel is indeed impressive. The hotel’s 136 rooms have been upgraded and given a fresh, classic modern look; a fabulous new outdoor infinity pool has been built overlooking the harbour – which one gets to by strolling through a lush, 7.5-acre garden; the Grand Ballroom, restaurants and lobby area have been refurbished, and The Phoenicia’s classic façade has been restored.

The hotel’s grounds and terraces have also been re-landscaped and a new Health Club and Spa offering eight treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool should be completed by the end of the year.

Mr Campbell Gray stresses that all the hotel’s staff, who are “very proud employees” were kept on, even when the hotel was closed for refurbishment. These employees, he says, are very loyal to the hotel and very positive, and contribute to making The Phoenicia the special place that it is.

The Phoenicia is now targeting a more diversified client base, and many guests now come also come from continental Europe, the US and Australia. However, the hotel’s loyal UK clients are still returning, Mr Campbell Gray says, adding that general manager Charles Azzo­pardi “has kept in touch with them” and done a fantastic job of making it known to them that they are still very welcome at The Phoenicia.

Built in 1939, The Phoenicia was Malta’s first luxury hotel, giving it a wealth of history and a unique charm standing proudly on the doorstep of Valletta.

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