Cugo Gran Macina Grand Harbour

Senglea, Malta Book from Book from £150 per night

Malta's rich cultural history meets modern hospitality at this boutique hotel on the Grand Harbour in Senglea, one of the Three Cities
Malta's history stretches back thousands of years, to the days of the Knights of Saint John, Phoenicians, even the Vikings. The Cugo Gran Macina can't trace its own history back quite back that far, but it's still definitely on the 'impressively old' side. Set in the pretty fortified town of Senglea, the hotel is housed in a 500-year-old very tall building once used to repair sailboat masts. While the building itself is ancient, the interior has been completely refurbished and the atmosphere and service is totally modern, as is the stunning rooftop pool.

There are 21 enormous suites, all with unobstructed views of the Grand Harbour and its surrounding marina. Outside, golden-walled streets are lined with boat-building shops and sites (Senglea is still a working area of the local nautical industry), but great restaurants too; this is an up-and-coming area. Staying here is a peaceful retreat from Malta's crowds, and allows you to explore the Three Cities - a real slice of authentic local life. Then you can dip back into the action at your leisure: Valletta and Gozo are a quick ferry ride away.

Highs

  • Though contemporary in design, the hotel retains lots of traditional Maltese charm and character
  • Amazing views of the Grand Harbour from every top-spec suite and the rooftop pool
  • Less than 5 miles from the airport
  • Hammett's, the excellent fine-dining restaurant and cocktail bar, plus great local restaurants
  • Kind staff offer personalised service

Lows

  • Some would say it's off the beaten track, away from the main tourist areas (though this was actually a High for us)
  • Breakfast isn't included in the rates and is expensive; room service meals are small
  • A very pricey minibar
  • No twin rooms; all beds are doubles
  • Constant dust fell from the limestone ceiling in our bedroom, onto our bed

Best time to go

Any time from April to October - of course, June, July and August are hottest (and least likely to bring any rain).

Our top tips

This is a perfect hideaway hotel for anyone who wants the charm and heat of Malta without the crowds of tourists which can be found in some other parts of the island. You get the history without the hordes!

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 21
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 21 suites are spacious and very modern. On the one hand, this is great because they're slick and attractive, with all the bells and whistles one would expect – a widescreen TV, coffee machine, remote-controlled curtains, polished concrete floors, and a luxurious slate bathroom with a walk-in shower. On the other hand, you could be anywhere in the world. This is true international décor, with wingback chairs and geometric patterned rugs – beautiful, yes, but we didn't feel any of it was especially Maltese or even "of the Mediterranean". That said, exposed limestone walls and barrel-vaulted ceilings gave us a sense of the building's old character.

We especially liked the light-filled Corner Suites with Harbour Views, whose lovely terraces look onto crumbling fortress walls and have outdoor dining areas and alfresco sofas. If you're travelling with kids, several of the rooms have mezzanine sofa areas, which can be set up as second bedrooms. All but the Fortress Suites have kitchenettes and dining tables, which are useful for whipping up snacks. The Macina Suite is the only room with a bathtub.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast (not included) was a boutique version of what you might expect at a larger 4- or 5-star hotel - top quality and imaginative offerings, but all prepared by hand. In bigger hotels, you can often feel as though you're being herded in and out of the breakfast room; here you get personal attention from the waiters, who make tea, coffee and juices to order. We enjoyed our scrambled eggs and smoked salmon; banana short stacks, Full English, and parma ham and cheese omelettes were also on the menu.

Hammett's restaurant is quite small but more than adequate since the hotel itself doesn't accommodate too many guests. In the evenings, you can choose from a tasting menu or a la carte. We didn't eat here but the food sounds fantastic: seared tuna with prickly pear, fattoush salad and margarita jelly; lamb rump with smoked aubergine puree; crushed lemon pie with basil ice cream.

The area is full of great restaurants; ask staff for recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Hob or stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Senglea is one of Malta's Three Cities, the fortified harbour inlets. The oldest, Birgu, dates back to the Middle Ages; don't miss a visit to Fort St Angelo. Senglea and Cospicua were both founded by the Order of St John in the 16th and 17th centuries. Wander around all 3 and admire historical churches and bastions
  • A short ferry ride away is the golden-walled Fort St Elmo, which now houses the National War Museum
  • Malta's beautiful capital Valletta is a ferry ride away, where you can visit the Grand Master's Palace and magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral
  • Day trip to Gozo for the picturesque San Blas or Ramla Bay
  • Bask in the sun on the rooftop terrace, with its magnificent views and lovely pool

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

Cugo Gran Macina is certainly family friendly: the staff seem to love kids, the atmosphere is convivial rather than at all stuffy, and the rooms are huge. We visited with our 11-year-old son who was a big fan of the high-tech side of the hotel (good WiFi, big TV).

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can fit 1-2 children in baby cots or extra beds. The Macina Suite is the only room with a bathtub.

Kids Activities on site:

Rooftop pool

Kids Activities nearby:

Boat trips, incredible history

Families Should Know:

There are a lot of stairs, which you might want to take into account if you have a inquisitive toddler!

Distances:

  • Airport: 6.5km (Luqa)
  • Shop:: 0.2km
  • Hospital: 10km
Kid Friendly: Corner Suite

Location

Cugo Gran Macina is in Senglea, one of the Three Cities in the Grand Harbour area of southeast Malta.

By Air:
Fly into Luqa Airport (6.5km). It's a 15-minute drive to the hotel but you don't need to hire a car (Cugo Gran can organise a transfer, or just jump in a taxi). That said, car hire is cheap for when you want to explore elsewhere on the island and you can park for free on the streets. Otherwise there's a network of local buses around Malta.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.

Airports:

  • Malta International Airport (Luqa) 6.5 km MLA

Other:

  • Beach 2.0 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
8/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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