Advantages Excellent facilities, good food, good accommodation
Disadvantages Um, not 5 star!
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
I went on holiday to Malta this summer with three friends and booked a package type deal. We had actually booked to stay in the Bella Vista hotel (review to follow). We decided on this Qawra/Bugibba area as it looked like it had quite a good nightlife and was on the sea.When we arrived at the Bella Vista they informed us that they had overbooked (this seems to be quite common) and we had been moved for 4 nights to the Dolmen Hotel. I was really annoyed as we didn't know what the Dolmen was going to be like, but when we arrived at the Dolmen, we knew we'd done alright for ourselves!
LOCATION:The hotel is located in Bugibba (but is sometimes given as St. Paul on some sites). It is a 2 minute walk to the bus station which connects to all the main places in Malta, including Valetta. It is about 5 minute walk to the centre of Bugibba. There are plenty of tourist shops, grocery shops, bars and clubs, within easy walking distance.
The word 'dolmen' is a name for a neolithic tomb and the hotel was built around one of these - a hotel with its own tomb - I couldn't believe my luck (no, honestly, I'm not being sarcastic, tombs fascinate me!).PRICES:
I don't know how much this hotel would have cost us as it was part of a package deal, but looking at their website the cost ranges from about £30 - £60, depending on the room and the board.RECEPTION
The receptionist staff were extremely helpful and friendly. They made sure that everything was dealt with as quickly as possible. Many of them spoke more than one langauge and this was indicated by little flags on their uniform.ACCOMMODATION:
When we arrived on the first night we were put into the first available rooms. These weren't the greatest and are not a true reflection of the hotel. Firstly they were both double rooms and we'd asked for twins. The air conditioning did not work in our room and there was an awful smell in both the rooms. We complained to reception straight away and were told that they were full for that night but that they would rectify this first thing in the morning.The following morning we had our room changed and by the time we got in from sunning ourselves, our luggage had been moved to the new rooms. These were much better. The airconditioning worked and no nasty smells!
The rooms weren't five-star luxury but they were pretty much a standard hotel room. The beds were comfortable and we all slept well. The room was clean, as was the bathroom. In the room was air-conditioning, television with programmes in English, fridge and telephone. The bathroom provided the usual selection of toiletries and a bath with a shower over it.FACITILIES
The facilities at the hotel were really excellent. There were five swimming pools, including a children's pool and an indoor pool. The pools all had loungers around them but these tended to get full early on. We decided to do the whole German bit and claim our loungers before breakfast.You could either sit by one of the pools or you could sit by the sea. There was a tunnel under the road from the hotel and then there were two of the pools and a bar and restaurant right by the sea. We grabbed loungers here every day so that we could swim in the sea. It was really nice to be able to go straight into the sea but be warned if you're not that steady on your feet it was very slippery on the rocks. It was also very windy for a couple of the days and this made the sea too dangerous to swim in.
The pools never seemed too busy to swim in even though there were so many people sitting around them (this amazed me as I am a complete water baby and couldn't cope with having a pool in front of me and not using it!).There was also a spa at the hotel, where you could have treatments, but we didn't use this so I can't comment on how good it was. Other facilities that we did not use included tennis courts, a water sports centre (where you could book to go on a banana boat or hire a jet ski) and the casino. We saw lots of people using the water sports centre and it always looked like they were having a really good time.
FOOD AND DRINKThe hotel had three bars, five restaurants and a nightclub. The main restaurant was located just off the lobby. This was a buffet style restaurant. We ate breakfast here every day. This consisted of a huge selection of cereal, bread, yoghurt, fruit, cooked (including sausages, bacon, eggs and beans) tea, coffee and juice. It was all very tasty and we all made sure we filled up every morning. We also managed to make ourselves a roll for lunch each morning (I know, I know, you're not meant to do this!). We were half board so we also ate dinner in this restaurant every evening. It was again a buffet. There was a selection of three starters, with one usually being soup. Some of the starters were like main courses on their own. There was a selection of main courses with a choice of vegetables and salad to go with it. Dessert was again from a wide selection although I was more impressed with the rest of the food. The food wasn't gormet but for a buffet it was really nice and we certainly didn't go hungry.
The waiting staff were very efficient about clearing places and bringing our drinks when we ordered them. The restaurant was very clean.We visited all of the bars (Welsh girls on holiday together - who would have thought it!). We would head to the Temple Bar at 6 every evening as they did two for one on cocktails. All the staff were very friendly and there was a good atmosphere in the bars. We did head to the nightclub one night although I left early due to a migraine. The others assured me that the music did get better but it was pretty poor before I left. The club was also full of teenagers but apparently once they had left it improved. The club is right by the sea so there is no noise from it which reaches the hotel.
VERDICTI was really impressed by this hotel, I think because I wasn't expecting very much from the hotel we had originally chosen. The hotel had excellent facilities, the food was good and the rooms were clean. Its not the most luxurious hotel that I've ever stayed in but for the money and the location I think its a good deal. Definitely recommended.
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