For our time visit to Malta, we opted to stay in the central area of St Julian’s for easy access to the entire island. This really is the best place to stay in terms of location! Just outside of St Julian’s marina, a newly opened hotel (June 2018) caught our eye…The Urban Valley Resort and Spa. Read on for our review of the hotel and a guide to all of the facilities, bars and restaurants.
JUMP TO: Location | First impressions | Grounds and common areas | Rooms | Restaurants | Bars | Swimming pools & Spa | Kid’s activities | Tennis courts & gardens | Events | Getting there | Nearby places to visit | Nearby facilities | Our top tips | Our review | Booking the hotel
The Urban Valley Resort and Spa is located a 5-minute drive from St Julian’s Centre, but it is far away enough to have peace and quiet away from the party scene of Paceville.
We found it excellent value compared to other hotels in the area and it’s close to a central motorway for easy access to north and south Malta. However, we would recommend renting a car whilst staying here as the bus stops aren’t very close. Alternatively, a Taxify taxi (an app similar to Uber) will cost you around 7 euros one way to most areas of St Julian’s.
It’s worth noting that there are two entrances to the hotel. The main reception entrance at the front and multiple rear entrances to the apartment buildings (easy access – you’ll need your key card).
For a newly opened four-star hotel and that had already received some excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, our expectations were very high. On arrival at the hotel, we were greeted by a modern reception that looked brand new (as it was). The reception staff were helpful and showed us to our room, pointing out facilities and restaurant opening hours on the way.
The reception, bar area and pool area were very neatly designed, and the hotel had a luxurious feel to it. Overall, our first impressions and the cleanliness and tidiness of the communal areas of the hotel was very good.
Rather than the standard hotel design, the various buildings of the resort looked and felt much like an apartment complex, with several apartment buildings disconnecting to the facilities and reception areas.
We also noticed that there were a lot of business men and women in the main reception area, causing a bit of congestion and overcrowding of the toilet facilities. We imagine that this is fairly common on weekdays as the hotel hosts company events.
The grounds and common areas
All common areas and the outdoor pools have a trendy but simple design. Everything is very clean and new. We particularly liked the white and grey colour scheme and the many trees and plants surrounding the pool area.
The rooms were the highlight of the hotel. We opted for a corner suite and were greeted with a spacious apartments, with a large, fully stocked kitchen, spacious dining room and plenty of storage space. The living and dining room area featured a breakfast bar with stools, flat screen TV and sofa.
Our favourite feature of the room was the balcony terrace with a table and chairs, which gave an excellent view of the pool area below. Enjoy dinner or lunch here in the hot Maltese sun.
The bathroom in the room was also modern in design, featured dual robes with slippers a large sink and a bath/shower combination. A Body lotion, shower cap, bath gel and shampoo were replenished each day. The only negative point we noted about the bathroom is the lack of a wall-clip for the shower head. Instead, it was attached to the tap, meaning you had to hold it whilst taking a shower.
There’s a selection of rooms options at the hotel and each have a similar décor but vary in size, views and facilities.
Here’s a summary of each room type:
An excellent standard room with lots of space, a nice bathroom, TV, safe and mini fridge. There’s also a terrace or balcony so we’d recommend asking for a nice view of the pool (as opposed to the road at the back of the hotel). Occupancy per room is 2 people.
Junior suite – The smaller of the suite options but an upgrade from the superior room, this larger room has a master bedroom and added living area with a sofa bed, meaning it can easily accommodate a family of two adults and two kids. It has two TV’s, a mini fridge and balcony, but no kitchen.
Corner suite – This is the room type that we stayed in and it was excellent. There’s a large bathroom with connecting bathroom and a lounge area with adjoined dining room and kitchen. There’s plenty of facilities in this apartment and you could spend weeks here. A balcony, fridge, freezer and other amenities are also included.
Two-bedroom suite – Similar to the corner suite but with two bedrooms, this room type is designed for families. It has two large bedrooms, a spacious kitchen and living room area and all the amenities of the corner suite. It also has a balcony.
Presidential penthouse – The best room type available at the Urban Valley Resort is the presidential penthouse, located on the rooves of the apartment buildings. This pricier but very large room type has two variations – Penthouse and Junior Penthouse, varying only in size and style. They have all the amenities of a large suite, but with the addition of sun loungers on the spacious rooftop balcony. Each penthouse option has one master bedroom and a sofa bed in the living area.
Room service is available in all rooms, offering full steak meals to simple pizzas and snacks. Menus are available in the room and orders can be placed via the in-room phone.
Silver Heron – Breakfast and dinner
Directly opposite the main swimming pool is a spacious restaurant called Silver Heron. Open on a morning and evening for buffet breakfast and dinner, it has a modern interior and selection of tables with umbrellas outside if you wish you dine ‘al fresco’.
Opening hours – 7:00 – 10:00 & 18:00 – 21:30
Breakfast – A buffet of hot and cold options with fresh juices and tea/coffee. It’s everything you’d expect for a four-star buffet breakfast and has enough options to satisfy everyone. We thought it was very good, although the orange juice could have been better. There’s a good range of healthy snacks, fruits and yoghurts or all the usual English Breakfast goodness if you fancy something to power you through the day ahead.
Dinner – On an evening, dishes include grilled fish and meats, several side options and a plentiful supply of desserts. The options are quite varied, so you’re bound to find something you like. We found the food quality to be very good.
Tri – Lunch
Opening hours – 10:00 – 18:00
A quick-service restaurant designed for lunches by the pool or in the cool shade of the restaurant, Tri has a variety of sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, salads and other lunch meals. Prices are a little expensive but it’s very convenient if you’re relaxing in the hotel and need a bite to eat.
Mea (opens soon)
Opening hours – 18:00 – 21:30
The hotel’s main ‘a la carte’ restaurant is designed for fancy evenings and delicious Mediterranean food with a twist. Check back soon for more information on what food you can find at this brand-new restaurant.
Opening hours – 09:00 – 22:00
The small bar is in the main reception area, accompanied by pull up stools and several ornately designed tables with drinks menu’s.
We didn’t see much use of the actual bar area during our stay as many people opted to get takeaway drinks for the pool, however the drinks we chose were particularly good and the menu is varied, although a little expensive.
Stop by the bar on an evening before you head to dinner or order a welcome cocktail on arrival! It’s worth noting that the rooms have fridges so feel free to bring your own drinks for the pool, although ensure you buy cans or plastic cups as glass isn’t allowed.
Viento Cocktail Bar
Opening hours – 17:00 – 22:00
Perfect for after dinner drinks in a classy environment, Viento Cocktail bar is a good place to meet for drinks before heading out or catching up on some work. It’s only open on an evening and the drinks menu is quite varied.
The swimming pools & Spa
There are two large, outdoor swimming pools overlooking the ‘Wied Għollieqa’ Nature Reserve. Each has a selection of sun loungers and umbrellas surrounding the pools and you can choose to sit in the shade or catch some rays.
During our stay, the pool area was quiet and relaxing, with only a handful of people using this area. We found it a nice environment to go for a swim or enjoy a poolside drink. The surrounding trees create shade is some areas of the pool so there’s always an area to cool down if you’re too hot.
Here are a few of pool rules that we noticed:
- No inflatables allowed
- No glass bottles/cups allowed
- Sun loungers cannot be reserved with a towel or personal belongings – we particularly liked this one
Overall, both swimming pools offer a luxurious and spacious area to relax in the sun!
Indoor pool & SPA
Although we couldn’t enjoy both facilities as they weren’t open during our stay, the heated indoor pool is ideal if you’re visiting the hotel in the winter months or want a relaxing swim after indulging in a spa treatment.
Here are the opening times, taken from the hotels’ website:
Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays: 06:00hrs – 21:00hrs
Children under the age of 16 years may use the pool from 10:00hrs – 12:00hrs and 15:00hrs – 17:00hrs accompanied by an adult.
As its name suggests and probably one of the main attractions of the hotel, the Urban Valley Resort and Spa has a brand-new spa facility. Stop by for a relaxing massage or facial in an ambient environment or go for a dip in the indoor pool.
Kid’s activities – Leela’s Hut
In addition to the two large outdoor swimming pools, there’s a miniature playground next to the smaller of the two pools. Known as Leela’s Hut, this small but action-packed play area has swings, a climbing frame, slide and a few other rides and activities. It’s a good way to keep the kid’s entertained whilst you relax by the pool (with plain sight of the playground).
According to the hotel’s website, “Leela’s Hut is open for children between 4 and 12 years. Children aged 3 or under are also welcome, under the supervision of a guardian.”
Tennis courts and gardens
Walk down a set of steps near the pool area to an open garden area, which is a nice place to relax and read a book. Right next to it are 2 tennis courts, which can be booked at reception. Spend your morning strolling around the garden or playing tennis with picturesque views of the valley.
Events at the Urban Valley hotel
Although the hotel is still in development, they plan on offering a diverse private events programme. Looking at their website, these include:
- Business meetings
- Afternoon tea
- Children’s events
- Parties / functions
Getting to and from the hotel
Address: Triq Wied Ghollieqa, San Ġwann, Malta Google Maps directions
The hotel is in a residential area called San Ġwann, just outside of St Julian’s. We highly recommend renting a car if you’re staying here. Free parking is readily available and right outside the apartment blocks, plus it’s close to a main road, meaning you can access all corners of Malta with ease.
If you don’t plan on doing much exploring in Malta and just want to relax and stay in the St Julian’s area, catching taxi’s is another option. A cab from the airport will cost €20 one-way. To reach St Julian’s marina, the cost is €7 from the hotel. Use an app called Taxify for quick, reliable service and low-cost prices.
There are 3 bus options for reaching the hotel from St Julian’s and vice-versa, however some bus stops are still a 15-minute walk from the hotel entrance. The best bus stop (Longo) is located a 7-minute walk away. Catching the number 120 bus from here takes 12 minutes to get to St Julian’s marina and it costs the following per person:
- Winter one-way ticket – €1.50
- Summer one-way ticket – €2
- Night service one-way ticket – €3
Personally, for the time and cost of the bus, we recommend just catching a taxi using the Taxify app. It’s quick and cheap! If you do plan on travelling around Malta by bus to the various corners of the country, the official public transport website has an excellent journey planner tool here.
The hotel operates a complimentary shuttle bus twice a day to the seaside town of Silema and back. This short trip gives you access to a selection of excellent bars and restaurants on the Silema promenade and you save on taxi costs. This was a very handy hotel feature!
Must-see places nearby
We’ve already mentioned the excellent location of the Urban Valley Resort and Spa. As it’s centrally located on the island, you can reach many areas of Malta within a half an hour drive and the airport is only 20-minutes away. Here’s a selection of the top things to see and do near the hotel.
St Julian’s Marina – St Julian’s Marina is an upmarket area with luxury yachts, casino’s, bars and a variety of excellent restaurants. You can reach the marina, known as Spinola Bay, within a 7-minute drive of the hotel.
Paceville nightlife – Also in St Julian’s, the infamous Paceville strip is an area packed with bars and clubs. It’s the area of choice for the younger crowd and regarded as the best place for nightlife in Malta. If you prefer a more relaxed nightlife scene, the suave cocktail and live music bars of St George’s beach front is the place to go.
Mdina old town – Emerge through the castle walls of Malta’s amazing old town of Mdina into a labyrinth of narrow streets and amazing architecture. You can dine in a dungeon, visit the cathedral or get lost in what is one of the prettiest towns we’ve ever been to. This is a must-see!
Distance from the hotel: 23-minute drive.
Valletta – Voted the European capital of culture in 2018, Valletta is the most populated area of the island and the city is jam packed with history. Wander the old, narrow streets and come across numerous sightseeing opportunities, including fortresses, museums, old churches and an amazing view of the boats in Valletta harbour.
Distance from the hotel: 15-minute drive.
Silema – Just south of St Julian’s is the waterfront town of Silema. The long promenade is beautiful to stroll along and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to try. It’s also home of an 18th century fort called Fort Tigne, a historic tower and baroque inspired church. The highlight of any trip to this town is a harbour boat tour, taking you around the Silema and Valletta docks to see these stunning cityscapes from the shoreline.
Distance from the hotel: 9-minute drive (The hotel offers a free transfer service to Silema)
Bugibba – Located half an hour’s drive north of the Urban Valley Resort is Bugibba, a popular tourist resort with beaches, pubs, clubs and a casino. It also has a superb selection of boat trips on offer that will take you to the islands of Comino and Gozo to the north, including the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’.
Distance from the hotel: 20-minute drive
As the Urban Valley Resort and Spa is in a residential area, there isn’t a lot around, however you have good road access to many shops, bars and restaurant in the wider area. Here are some handy facilities that we found within walking distance.
LIDL supermarket – A 10-minute walk away from the hotel, this large LIDL is an excellent place to stock up on supplies for your holiday. It sells both food, drinks, personal hygiene items and clothing/accessories. View on map.
Down Town Bar – A cheap and simple bar/restaurant just up the road from the hotel. Stop here for some lunch or a drink before heading to St Julian’s. It’s located only a 5-minute walk up the hill from the hotel. View on map.
Pharmacy – Walk a little further into San Gwann (13-minutes) and you’ll find a local pharmacy, ideal for stocking up on medication or sun cream. View on map.
Nearby shops – An 8-minute walk up the road, central San Gwann has several sports shops, salons, convenience stores and clothing/apparel boutiques. Wander around the area on a rainy afternoon or as a break from the sun.
Top tips for visiting the Urban Valley Resort and Spa
- We’ve already said it but rent a car! It’s the best way to get around and the parking/ease of access to the main road is excellent. You’ll thank us once you’ve took the long walk to the local bus stop.
- The Urban Valley Resort and Spa rooms are well equipped for cooking and have plenty of refrigerator and freezer space. Pop to the supermarket and stock up on supplies. It’ll save you time and money.
- If you’re staying on a weekday, the hotel tends to attract a lot of business customers. Go for a later breakfast to skip the business crowd.
- If you plan on making a lot of use of the hotel, we recommend choosing a suite with a kitchen. It’s spacious and you’ll save lots of money cooking your own lunches and the occasional dinner. The balcony is a romantic place to dine, with views of the pool and valley.
- The staff at the hotel are very helpful and will go out of their way to service you. Ask them any questions you have, they’re happy to help make your stay better!
- If you’re on holiday and visiting the hotel for a special occasion, be sure to let the front desk know in advance. You may be surprised with a complimentary upgrade or gift in your room.
Our Urban Valley Resort and Spa Review
Overall, we really liked the Urban Valley Resort and Spa. We visited in October 2018 for 4 days. It’s a new hotel that’s still in development (due to be completed November 2018) so there were still some unfinished areas and closed facilities. Once these have opened, we see a lot of potential for this hotel. It’s luxurious, in a good location and the rooms are spacious with plenty of amenities. Although there were a few minor issues during our stay, the staff were helpful, making the Urban Valley Resort and Spa an excellent place to stay when visiting Malta.
- Modern surroundings, cleanliness and range of facilities
- Excellent selection of rooms
- Good complimentary breakfast
- Parking and location is very good if you have a car
- Good value
- Seems to attract a lot of business customers
- Inconvenient location for those without a car
- No shower head hook
- Food and drink is a little expensive
- On-going development works
Booking the Urban Valley Resort and Spa
There are multiple ways to book this hotel and it’s available through most of the big holiday websites (Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia).
We personally use Hotels.com as they often have discounts and a ‘free night’ loyalty scheme.
For advice on booking your hotel, check out our hotel booking guide here.
Thanks for reading our ultimate guide to the Urban Valley Resort and Spa, Malta. We hoped we helped you decide on choosing a hotel for your Malta holiday and we’re confident you’ll love both the hotel and island. We’ll be back for sure! If you have any questions about the hotel or spending your holiday in Malta, get in touch!