Valletta five-star hotel mixes modern and 17th-century touches

The bedroom of a Don Pietro Executive Room at the Rosselli hotel in Valletta.
The bedroom of a Don Pietro Executive Room at the Rosselli hotel in Valletta. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Hotel Rosselli

For a city with as much history as Valletta, Malta, it seems fitting that the Rosselli, a boutique luxury hotel located within the city walls, is steeped in history, as well.

Set in the 17th-century home of goldsmith and Knight of Malta Pietro Rosselli, the hotel is a love letter to the original owners. 

"We really wanted to pay homage to the Rosselli family through the different room types," said Andy Tanti, director of sales for the AX Hotel Group.

The hotel group took over the property five years ago and spent the next three years restoring and refitting the building to be used as a hotel, one of two five-star hotels in Valletta.

As the building is listed as a Malta heritage site, the group was restricted from renovating the outside of the structure, which still features the traditional enclosed Maltese balconies. The interior, however, was completely redone, with marble staircases, a rooftop deck and 25 guestrooms. 

For a small hotel, there is quite a variety of room types, and as Tanti noted, they all pay homage to the Rosselli family. 

Examples include the Don Pietro Executive Rooms, which feature a wellness indoor terrace, a sauna and a rainfall shower, and the Herons Junior Suites, which are named after the herons in the Pietro family crest and feature two-level living quarters with a spiral staircase and a private lounge area.

And while the historical nature of the hotel is evident throughout the building, there is one space that feels completely modern: the rooftop deck. The open-air deck has a bar and lounge seating throughout as well as a splash pool. 

What really stands out about the space are the views of the rooftops of surrounding historical buildings and churches as well as the deep blue of the Mediterranean past the island's shores. It's a very peaceful space, and one that visitors use to unwind after a day of sightseeing, Tanti said.

"Our guests can come up here and relax and really switch off from what's happening outside," he said.

As far as the location, the hotel is situated on one of Valletta's main drags, Merchant Street, home to numerous outdoor cafes, restaurants and shops.

And while there are many nearby dining options, guests might be hard pressed to find a better meal than at the hotel's Under Grain restaurant, one of only a handful of Michelin-starred establishments in Malta.

Housed in the stylish cellar of the hotel with original stone archways, the restaurant serves modern Mediterranean dishes featuring farm-to-table meats and poultry. 

Between the roof deck, the elegant rooms and the top-tier restaurant, it would be easy to spend a weekend without leaving the hotel. But with its eminently walkable streets, fascinating history and beautiful architecture, it would be a shame to miss out on all Valletta has to offer.

As Tanti noted, "To really enjoy Valletta, you really need to get out and walk the streets."

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