Review: The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta.
During our stay in Malta, we would end up at the best offering in the Starwood / Marriott chain; the Westin Dragonara Resort in St Julians Malta. We’d experience an excellent oceanfront stay, in a terrific resort area with access to an enjoyable executive lounge with great outdoor deck space. Our stay was complimented by excellent staff that really went the extra mile to take care of us.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Malta, Italy and Germany. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and credited to Alaska Mileage Plan and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Valetta Gozo – Malta, Venice – Italy, and Oktoberfest Munich – Germany via Air France Business Class
- Air France Business Class: Vancouver – Paris
- Air France Business Lounge: Paris Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2F
- Air France Business Class: Paris – Munich
- Lufthansa Airlines: Munich – Malta
- The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta
- Boating to Gozo and a last look at the Azure Window, Malta
- Swimming on the Island of Comino and Exploring the Coastal Caves of Malta
- Wandering in the Walled City of Valetta, Malta
- Lufthansa Airlines: Malta – Frankfurt
- Lufthansa Airlines: Frankfurt – Venice
- The Westin Regina Europa, Venice, Italy
- Getting Lost in the Streets of Venice, Italy
- Is a Gondola Ride through the Canals of Venice worth it?
- Air Dolomiti: Venice – Munich
- The Westin Grand Munich, Germany
- Drinking at the Beer Garden at Hofbrahaus, Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
- Taking in BMW World and the Alstat, Munich, Germany
- Air France / KLM Business Lounge, Munich Terminal One
- Air France Business Class: Munich – Paris
- Air France Business Lounge: Paris Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2E – Concourse L
- Air France Business Class: Paris – Vancouver
Review: The Westin Dragonara Resort, St Julians, Malta.
Booking the Trip:
I had picked the Westin Dragonara Resort thanks to its favorable reviews and it’s proximity to the marina of St Julians Bay. I booked directly through the hotel website and was able to locate a rate of 170€ ($197 USD) per night.
The Westin Dragona Resort is currently a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6, meaning that rooms are approximately between 40,000 – 60,000 a night under variable pricing, with 50,000 pints a night as standard. If you value Marriott Bonvoy points at $0.005 a point, you’d have to spend more than $250 USD to come out ahead for a 50,000 point redemption. In the high season months, this might represent a better value when the room rates climb beyond $300 USD per night. However, if you’re visiting in the off season, you’re probably better paying cash. As we were under the price point, we were better off paying cash.
I also ended up applying Suite Night Awards to this reservation, which didn’t end up clearing. However, the resort took really good care of us anyway by working a suite into our stay.
Getting to the Property:
Dragonara Road, St. Julian’s, STJ 3143 Malta
After getting off Lufthansa Airlines Munich – Malta, we picked up our bags and met our driver. The hotel had provided a meet and greet service with a black Mercedes E Class for just 25€ ($29 USD). With our bags in the car, we were over to the Westin hotel within 15 minutes. Our first impressions of Malta were that the island had a sunny and almost African feel to the place, with light coloured houses of all shapes and sizes.
We arrived at the property after navigating the tight alleys of St Julians. The hotel is a giant pink structure that doesn’t look very appealing from a first impression from the street side.
Once we arrived inside, the lobby bar was spectacular and made for a great first impression. It had nice high ceilings and live piano music on some evenings.
On check in, the property was showing completely full on our Saturday night arrival, so I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of elite upgrades. I had applied SPG (now Marriott Bonvoy) Suite Night Awards to a one bedroom suite; the only room type available in the upgrade pool. Unfortunately, they had failed to clear. I saw that the property seemed to have lots of room availability Sunday night onward and aimed to ask the front desk to see if there were any chances of switching mid stay to a nicer room for our remaining 4 nights. On arrival, they had provided us with a one category upgrade to a deluxe room on the executive floor (interpreted here as a high floor). I asked about the possibility of changing room mid stay and was promptly introduced to Katerina the operations executive. She indicated that she had a nice room available for us on the next day and that she would reach out the next morning around 10 AM.
The Room: An Executive Club Room
2 Queen, Sea View, Balcony
On our first night, we were assigned room 742, which was an excellent room with a double queen bed. It was excellent because it had a larger deck, terrific view of the pool and ocean, and was one floor and three rooms away from the Executive Lounge. The room was nicely appointed and had been recently refreshed as everything looked new and inviting.
The bathroom included a combination shower and bath tub. The bathroom offered a single vanity.
I had written the hotel in advance and indicated we were staying on the celebration of our wedding anniversary and the hotel was kind enough to offer a complimentary bottle of Italian Prosecco chilled on ice waiting for us in the room.
The view from the large Executive Room deck was one of my most favourite things about this particular room.
The Room: Luxury 1 Bedroom Bay Suite,
1 King, Sofa bed, Bathrooms: 2, Sea view, Balcony
As promised, the hotel contacted us at around 3 PM after the Saturday night and had our new room ready. We were assigned a Luxury 1 Bedroom Bay Suite #230. The Bay Suites are in a separate “older” part of the hotel and not in the main towers. The room was quite large at 1,026 sq feet; much larger than my wife’s first Vancouver apartment. The Bay Suites had a direct and immediate view of the ocean. The room bedroom, bathroom, and entrance way had a partial refresh and appeared to have new flooring.
There was a mini bar and a kitchen stocked with pots and pans for those nights in. We didn’t have any.
The bedroom was close to the sea and had direct windows out to the water.
The Ensuite featured a double vanity.
There was a second full bathroom off the living room that featured a full shower.
The room offered a smaller deck than the executive suite. Despite this, it was much closer to the water and much more private. The views were also nice and serene. The deck area was a bit darker than the executive suite due to the trees and the configuration of the building.
Around the Property:
Outdoor Pool and Resort Area:
The day after our arrival, we spent the day around the property taking in the wonderful heat. The property offered a nice pool and a pleasant setting to lounge around in.
There was also an area of day loungers, with an adults only area. It’s worth noting that there is no “beach” at this area. There is access to the water via ladders and the shore line right up against the resort is quite rocky; large ones that you can’t easily walk on. You need to be a bit of a swimmer to get out far enough from the shore to avoid any knee scrapes on the nearby rocks. I doubt that my twelve year old would have done it without assistance, although I could have probably towed him out myself without any problems.
We had a water view of the property with the “Bay Suites” (where we were eventually upgraded to) behind the two palm trees in the short two story building.
The shore line was great place to sack out with Tom Clancy “Commander in Chief” with nice waterway views.
On Property Gym:
We situated ourselves and got to know the resort. The property had one of the largest gyms I had ever seen for a hotel property. It had treadmills that faced the sea.
Being a runner, they also provided some local running maps. It would be more challenging to run these routes during the heat of the day and also the traffic of the day when the city got going. The routes run through local streets, requiring stops for traffic and other pedestrians.
The Executive Lounge:
We were pretty knackered from our flights but being young at heart, on the date of our arrival we headed up to the Executive Club Lounge on the 18th floor. The club lounge access was complimentary due to our SPG Platinum / Marriott Bonvoy level status.
The Westin Executive Lounge had a nice outdoor deck with great views over the harbour. It was plenty hot out at 6:30 PM when we made it up there; about 24 degrees according to the iPhone weather app. We were a bit grubby from the overseas flights and two intra-Europe segments but the gin and tonics sure helped calm the nerves and ease us into the European Time Zone. It was a really scenic setting and a great way to relax after a long journey.
There were a reasonable amount of snacks available and an open self pour bar with basic level spirits (Gordon’s Gin). Several kinds of wine were on offer, including domestic Maltese Wine and Italian Sparkling. I’m sad to report that the Maltese Wine was not terrific, but it was a neat experience getting the opportunity to taste it.
We also enjoyed breakfast in the lounge during our stay. The breakfast offering was substantial and enough to take us through the day.
Around the Property:
After a day of relaxing and adjusting to the new time zone on the resort property, we walked down to the harbor area a few blocks from the hotel. St Julian’s is chock full of restaurants; some looked like legitimate tourist traps, whereas others looked more interesting.
We ended up at the Cuba restaurant on an outside patio with a view over the harbour.
The Bottom Line: The Westin Dragonara Resort
We really enjoyed the Westin Dragonara Resort and Spa. The treatment that we received as SPG Platinum’s was terrific. The resort really went out of their way to accommodate us and make a special visit all that more special. The Executive Lounge was one of the nicer ones that I’ve found in the system, made special by the outdoor deck where you can take in a sunset with a nice view. The building or amenities are that extravagant but otherwise the setting is pretty good (save the fact that there is no proper beach). We would easily return.