We all need a good break sometimes. Those two to three days to be free of responsibility, free of chores and expectations. Malta is a great place to escape to if you’re not a local, but if you are a local, well and even if you’re not, Valletta is such a magical city to be free in. Freedom and superior quality make for the ideal combination for a relaxing break; Casa Ellul, a boutique-hotel in the heart of Valletta makes that magic happen.
Make your reservation for the expertly finished Valletta hotel, pull up on Old Mint Street, corner with OId Theatre Street and walk up your paved path to number 81 – your shelter for the night. And what a shelter!
Pry open the wrought-iron gate, as you brush your shoulder along the traditional Maltese door; your lower eye view showcasing the decorative tiles that adorn many Valletta properties. A statue in the far distance that seems to be set within an internal courtyard.
To your left, a dining room, your right, another. These styled and glimmering rooms welcome guests for breakfast and dinner – the latter masterfully presented by Head Chef Steve Scicluna at Risette; an exquisite hotel-perk we were eager to try during our one-night stay.
A few paces further took us to the reception area where guests are treated like royalty upon stepping up to the desk. Offering 9 Suites, of which luxury suites are on the top floor with exquisite views of the Manoel Theatre, steeples and Old Theatre Street and an outdoor terrace with jacuzzi.
Suite 2 was our home for the night. Open, spacious, clean and modern; the welcoming bed and inviting free-standing bathtub in the grand bathroom would make for a suitable stop during any city break.
Comfort is but an understatement at Casa Ellul, from the moment you arrive and are guided through the internal courtyard, equipped with a wood-burning stove for the colder seasons, to the easily accessible lift service that takes you right up to a private floor. Five breezy steps to your front door, takes you from traveller to guest, with instant attention from hands-on staff, who are excited to make your stay as pleasant as possible. But for the time being, running the bathtub sounds like a great idea.
An hour-long soak in the spacious and perfectly heated tub was followed by a comfort test for the sleeping area that would capture our slumber. Things looked promising.
The way that hotels, and especially boutique hotels, focus on quality is special. Every element was thought of; from the fluffiness of the pillows, to the engulfing sensation of the mattress caressing your down-time with the weight and smoothness of a freshly spread duvet. Kicking off your Casa Ellul branded slippers and stepping out of the soft-thread towel dressing gown and in for a pre-dinner siesta is tempting, but the city was calling.
Voyaging out into the city is an easy task with Casa Ellul as your base point. Old Theatre Street is a three minute stroll to Strait Street, Merchants Street or Republic Street which simply translates to the perfect options for an aperitivo pre-Risette.
As the Negroni we sipped at quickly saw dinner time approach, we took a longer scenic route back to the boutique hotel where an 8-course tasting menu at Risette was being prepared for us by Chef Steve Scicluna.
One of the best things about dining in your hotel is that you have the luxury to pop back up to your room, have a short breather, a quick refresher and get back to the action without too much fuss or extra planning. Comfort at its absolute best. Add to that level of comfort and have a drink in the lobby, the selection of spirits and wines will satisfy that pre-dinner calling.
After a moving meal, our customary stroll; this time through the empty main streets of rainy Valletta and a quick lift ride to our floor; it was time to call it a night. Or perhaps indulge in a late-night tipple from the mini-bar and pamper-sesh in that regal steamy tub. The choice is definitely yours, you’re the guest.
As morning came, a restful night is always a clear indication for a good day; but with Casa Ellul’s attention to detail, there was no doubt I would be content in the primary B of our bed and breakfast experience. That said, sleep here was good, if I had stayed longer I would have probably asked for a firmer pillow or an additional pillow, but for one-night; a pleasant change to my norm.
The room was set at a comfortable temperature, although easily adjusted with the room’s thermostat if necessary. Getting ready in Suite 2 was smooth-sailing. With a double vanity, closed off WC, free-standing bath and closed-off rainfall shower area – all within a spacious, well-lit room, was a breeze.
The towels at Casa Ellul were fluffy and soft, as they should be; another clear sign for a good day. A clear up and pack later led us to the breakfast room; our Risette table that served us comfortably the night before. With the memories of dinner rushing back; breakfast was highly anticipated.
The breads, baked goods and coffees were all enjoyable – honestly ample to curb my morning-after-restaurant meal. The cooked breakfast, notably not prepared by Risette’s team, left a lot to be desired. While there was a large selection of Eggs, Full Breakfasts, Porridge and more; the level needs to be amplified to live up to the Risette-Casa Ellul name. Not a great sign for a good day; but a trivial nick on the experience. One that can easily be flipped immediately on its head with the powerhouse experience that spews from the Casa Ellul team. A feature to be excited for on my next visit.
A nip up to our luxury room, where the select furniture in every corner speaks a story of antiquity, heritage and prestige in the Baroque wonderland that is this palazzo, I opened the robust wardrobe to fetch my winter coat, I looked around me, closed the internal courtyard windows; knowing Casa Ellul was a tick off my bucket list; a luxury overnight experience in my capital city.
Kristina Cassar Dowling
HORECA Reviews are based on the experience of the diners on their particular visit. The nature of these reviews is based on the publication’s expertise in the industry, but also highlights the reviewer’s opinions and preferences. The aim of HORECA Reviews is to showcase culinary talent, to give the hospitality industry insight on their patron’s experience and areas for improvement as well as to celebrate the strive for excellence within the sector.