Ultimate Hotel Review: The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux

Mdina in Malta, known as “The Silent City”, has a timeline dating over 4,000 years. The city served as the island’s capital until the Medieval period. It then became a hotspot for the Maltese nobility, who built impressive buildings and lofty palaces within the walled city. A timeless reminder of this history is The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, a 17th-century palazzo where the Maltese nobility assembled to elect its committee of privileges. Forming part of the honey-coloured Bastion walls, the Xara Palace in Mdina has been converted into a luxurious 5-star hotel. With its many award-winning restaurants, period-style bedrooms with modern amenities, and spacious lounge areas, it is the best place to stay for a holiday in Malta.

Initial Thoughts on The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux

The first thing you’ll notice about The Xara Palace in Mdina is that it’s a stately home worthy of a king. Its entrance sports giant doors bordered by immaculately cut trees, ornate balconies, and spectacular window carvings. Sparkling with all the glitz, glamour, and prestige of a 17th-century palazzo, the Xara Palace will make you go “WOW,” and it’s the place to be if you enjoy the finer things in life. There are also great room rates and deals here, so check out the website for affordable luxury travel.

The Xara Palace sits within the centre of Mdina’s ancient walls, making it ideal for exploring the city on foot. It’s close to public transport, so you can day trip to Valletta and beyond, and the hotel is happy to accommodate children if requested. Sounds perfect, right? Well, it gets better. The staff is highly attentive, and the out-of-the-way reception makes it feel more like a home away from home than a hotel. 

Check-in at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux

Immediately upon entering the hotel’s double doors – held open by a gentleman dressed in a clean-cut, polished uniform who always has a polite welcome at the ready – you’ll be whisked to the lounge. Along the way, you’ll see antique-filled corridors, walls decorated with original artworks, and palatial-esque furnishings, such as gold-plated tables and Italian-style armchairs. Your luggage is safely stored away and will reappear in your room, and check-in is done over a welcome drink and snacks. From champagne to water, the choice is entirely yours. The staff will get it to you within seconds, along with a map of the city, which they will highlight with personal recommendations for things to do in Mdina. 

                                • Check-in time: 3 pm
                                • Check-out time: 12 noon

Rooms at The Xara Palace

As you’d expect from a historic palazzo, The Xara Palace’s 17 rooms and suites are spacious, lofty, and richly decorated with upmarket tea- and coffee-making facilities. You’ll also find a fully stocked mini-bar, a writing desk, and, depending on your preference, a countryside or street view. Each room at The Xara Palace in Mdina has a king-size bed or twin beds, Parisian fabrics and antiques, and vibrant paintings of the city’s cobblestone streets. There’s also a selection of chocolates that I can guarantee you’ll devour within minutes. While the rooms reflect the building’s aristocratic origins, there’s also a homely feel with a personable touch, such as a welcome message on the back of a postcard, books and magazines, and an enormous plasma TV. 

Deluxe Suite with Panoramic View

I stayed in one of the Deluxe Suite rooms with Panoramic Views. Many staff members told me this was their favourite room, and I can easily see why. There is a nine-foot double door opening to a lounge with a country-chic aesthetic and a high ceiling. The space exudes an air of refined opulence, with marble floors and muted walls providing a serene backdrop for vibrant pops of colour. A turquoise couch, a bohemian-style rug, and a gold-framed mirror that could easily rival the size of my entire bedroom at home create a captivating focal point. Through an archway, twin beds with a regal gold headboard and a sumptuous blue and gold blanket are extremely cosy. Three Turkish-inspired rugs form a cosy U-shape around the beds, inviting you to sink into their plush embrace.

To the right of the beds, a light curtain partitions off an in-room bathtub, offering a private sanctuary for indulgent soaks. Two windows frame uninterrupted views of the Maltese island, allowing the natural beauty to blend seamlessly with the interior splendour. Through another door lies an additional stylish bathroom, with a rainfall shower, luxury bathroom products, and cosy bath robes, ensuring that every aspect of your stay is a luxurious experience.

Dining at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux

1. Restaurants at The Xara Palace

There are several restaurants at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux that you can try during your holiday in Malta. For one, Trattoria AD1530, is on the hotel’s ground floor, with seats under umbrellas opposite the entrance doors. It serves traditional cuisine like pizzas, salads, pasta, and more. There’s also The Mondion, a Michelin-starred restaurant with a menu containing “soul-nourishing cuisine.” 

But my favourite is the award-winning Medina Restaurant, tucked away on a narrow street just off Cathedral Square. Originally an 11th-century Norman residence, it has been lovingly transformed into a captivating dining experience. As you step inside, an exposed courtyard unfolds; its honey-coloured stone walls and patterned iron balcony create a warm, inviting ambience. The tiled flooring and long, dark green bar add charm, while indoor plants and courtyard formations transport you to the romantic eras of ancient Greece and Rome.

The tables are thoughtfully spaced, ensuring guests have ample room to savour their meals, yet all are within view of the bar and its skilled mixologist. The extensive menu celebrates local flavours and fresh produce. The house risotto, made with bell peppers, lemon brine, and sautéed peppers, is a testament to the chef’s ingenuity. And for a sweet finale, the Helwa tat-Tork—an almond praline with Xwejni salt and honey—is a delightful representation of Malta’s culinary heritage.

2. Breakfast at The Xara Palace

As the morning sun casts its warm glow, the breakfast service at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateux promises an unforgettable start to the day. Ordering is an experience, as you’re presented with a two-sided menu that unfurls a tempting array of cooked and Continental options, complemented by an extensive selection of refreshing beverages. The meal is served on the top floor, a penthouse-like setting that exudes an air of exclusivity. There are large windows and a terrace offering panoramic views of Malta’s picturesque countryside and stunning coastline. 

Savour the tangy sweetness of freshly squeezed orange juice, perfectly paired with a delightful combination of ham and poached eggs atop a fluffy muffin. For those with a penchant for fresh fruits, the meticulously arranged platter showcases a vibrant medley of strawberries, oranges, apples, passionfruit, and juicy peaches. And what would a breakfast be without the irresistible allure of light and fluffy croissants? These buttery delights will surely melt in your mouth, leaving you craving more.

Facilities at The Xara Palace in Mdina

Regarding downtime, Mdina’s Xara Palace knows how to put you into a stress-free, relaxed mode during your holiday in Malta. Inspired by a Moroccan riad, the hotel’s atrium is ideal for a quiet afternoon with a cocktail or two. During the summer, guests also have exclusive access to the outdoor swimming pool at The Xara Lodge. 

Things to do in Mdina

During your holiday in Mdina, there is much to do, starting with exploring St Paul’s Cathedral, which has exquisite painted ceilings. Its neighbouring museum houses important religious artefacts, and nearby Palazzo Falson, a beautiful medieval house, has collections of armour, Oriental rugs, jewellery, and more. Mesquita Square—a Game of Thrones filming location—has Don Mesquita. This is a quaint café, where a prerequisite for having a good time is ordering wine and salads and relaxing for hours.

Should you stay at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux?

I have stayed in many luxury hotels around the world, but Mdina’s Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux is my favourite so far. The staff are lovely, the hotel is spacious, and it has every amenity you need. The food (especially breakfast) is phenomenal. It’s also a great place to easily explore Mdina and the rest of Malta. So, should you stay at this affordable luxury hotel? Absolutely!

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