A look back on HORECA Travels: Destination London

A look back on HORECA Travels: Destination London

Back in September 2023, HORECA Travels took their game up a notch; with exciting Business Class flights to and from London via the soon to be gone, but never forgotten Air Malta. The purpose of this jet-setting? The 50 World’s Best Hotel Awards, hosted at London’s Guildhall with the effervescent Perrier holding sponsorship for the event. 

While the HORECA Team is no stranger to a glamorous 50 World’s Best Awards Ceremony; both our team and the world were in 2023 introduced to the Hotel Awards. Our experience for this 3-day trip was hosted by Ruby Hotels and we were lucky to wine and dine at Luciano by Gino D’Acampo; a prelude to Mercury’s upcoming restaurant set to open its doors in St Julian’s this coming April. 

What’s the golden thread that ties this magic together? The MTA’s constant recognition of HORECA Group’s projects and their belief in our support of the hotel, restaurant and tourism sector in the Maltese islands. Our ambition is driven by the dedication of the Authority’s investment to Malta’s exposure and ambassadorship; giving the HORECA Team a firm pillar to rely on.



A magical lunch at MICHELIN-starred HIDE in London headed by Group Chef Martin Carabott. But here’s a little more detail on each of these exciting London features as discovered through the HORECA Travels team.  

A Touch of Luxury Above the Clouds: Comfort, Class & Calm

Flying Business Class with Air Malta was a delightful prelude to our adventure in London. And it comes with the additional perk of sitting in the La Valette VIP Lounge at the MIA. Hearty morning options greeted us, with coffee calling as the most viable, logical and wise option. We played the waiting game in comfort, with access to flight details, refreshment top ups and snacks for any comfort eater in the lounge. 



Passports, boarding… the dreaded taxi, and alas our assigned vessel. AirPods at the ready, we made our way off the runway and up the stairs. Seated right at the head of the plane, you’re boarded first, seated first and sat in a roomy seat where your comfort is in no way questioned or failed. This was Business Class baby. As the plane fills, you get comfortable, recline your seat and look out through the window; when the serious bits of the flights are out of the way, you’re at whatever altitude and the bulky, yet greedily coveted flight trolley is unleashed, in Business Class might I add. Chef Joe Vella and his team put together a quality brunch for our late morning flight which featured a Caprese Salad with buffalo mozzarella, roasted artichokes, sun dried cherry tomatoes and Parma ham, topped with Parmigiano shavings; a fresh way to start your day. Followed by a light yet rewarding Asparagus and Ricotte Quiche, a Grilled Chicken Sausage and Hash Browns with a Trio of Fresh Maltese Bread. A Danish Pastry, Fresh Fruit, Cheese Platter, Yoghurt and some cheeky Mimosas might have featured as a cheeky little treat to kick off the trip in style. 



On the return journey, the stars guided our travel home, the Heathrow Airport Emirates Lounge kept us occupied on our cordial 2-hour wait; with Bloody Mary (plural) idling the time. Free-flowing local wine, beers, and cocktails, including my buddy the Bloody Mary, added a touch of luxury to the skies. A generous number of these accompanied a Beef Pastrami starter, a Veal Involtini main, bread, cheese and a Forest Fruit Cake to end the journey home on a sweet, yet simple note. 

Ruby Zoe, Notting Hill: Where Sustainability Meets Style

Our 2-night stay at the Ruby Zoe in Notting Hill was a harmony of music, carnival vibes, and urban class. Sustainability took centre stage as we opted for a cocktail at the bar in exchange for room cleanup—a delightful eco-friendly touch that would probably be very popular amongst a number of travellers. The bed was a haven of comfort, the shower a luxurious and tailored retreat – where even their shower gel has purpose; one morning boost and one night time calmer; how very clever! And of course, that quintessential London-view; I could wake up to that any day! 



The entire hotel, with its music-themed amenities, captivated our senses and really made us smile. From Marshall amps in the rooms to impromptu guitar sessions in the lobby, the attention to detail was impeccable and the elements of fun was brought back to Travel lodgings; something that is sometimes pushed aside in favour of ultra-luxury, for example. Breakfast offered healthy choices for vegans and vegetarians, along with treats for all palates; but that homey feel extended to the breakfast bars with booths, whole loaves of bread and help-yourself-family-style buffets; made by your healthy-yet-reasonable neighbourhood cafe – that’s the vibe this place gave and we loved it; especially since the rest of our London adventures were quite high-profile. 


50 World’s Best Hotel Awards: A Night of Elegance at Guildhall

The pinnacle of our journey was the 50 World’s Best Hotel Awards, a groundbreaking event that we were honoured to cover as Media guests. The Guildhall, bathed in night’s allure, hosted the unveiling of the year’s winners. Twenty-one of the award-winning properties hailed from Europe, with Passalacqua, an 18th-century villa overlooking Lake Como, crowned as the world’s best hotel. The event, graciously sponsored by Perrier, added an effervescent touch to the evening, marking it as a celebration of excellence and luxury.



During these events the class, the glamour and the sheer excellence is bouncing off the walls, it’s hard not to get lost in the glitz of it all. We got our jobs done; prepared a fancy social media video for instant local awareness and made contacts with some of the best hoteliers in the industry where new adventures await and exciting plans fuel our enthusiasm and passion for this dynamic and community-centred industry we seem comfortable enough to call home.

But it must be said, that all our efforts of 2023, could not have been possible without the constant support and dedication of the Malta Tourism Authority, who are not only our partners in HORECA Magazine, but also our HORECA Travels supporters. Here’s to the adventures of 2024 and beyond!

Review written by

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.


Share this article