Valletta Vintage

Valletta, Malta Book from

Reviewed by Abigail Blasi
Design-lovers will adore these amazing architectural conversions (5 self-catering apartments sleeping 2 apiece)
Chris Briffa is the wunder-architect who’s overseen some of Valletta’s most stunning conversions of historic buildings, and this is he and his partner Anna’s personal project. They initially converted the 16th-century townhouse used to home his architectural practice into three inexpensive yet beautifully designed self-contained rooms with cooking facilities. Each is on separate floor, with a theme (Gallery, Library and Atelier). Next came Retropad, a self-catering maisonette in a quiet residential street nearby, followed by Hideout, a peaceful pied a terre in the medieval streets of Birgu on the South side of Valletta's Grand Harbour.

All are decorated with a changing selection of art by local artists; furniture includes beautiful mid-century vintage pieces. In the townhouse there's a communal kitchen and terrace upstairs, and each of the bedrooms has a private roof terrace dotted by design classics such as Verner Panton chairs. We've yet to see the latest additions but note that the eclectic maisonette has a salvaged marble-topped table acting as kitchenette plus a hexagonal tiled floor, while the pied a terre boasts a conservatory-style bathroom along with a sunny breakfast balcony. Unique.


  • For couples who appreciate art, beautiful design, meticulous attention to detail and fantastic use of colour, with a vintage twist
  • Very good value: designer looks at affordable prices
  • In charming residential streets of Unesco-listed Valletta, or the serene old fortified city of Birgu (Hideout)
  • All townhouse rooms have large south-facing roof terraces with deckchairs and glorious views across the periwinkle-blue waters of the harbour and golden-walled Fort St Elmos
  • No need for a car. The city is easy to navigate on foot, and you can bus/ferry to beaches, the Three Cities and Gozo


  • No room service and limited reception hours; you're very much left to your own devices (though some will prefer this)
  • No twin beds, and no kids under 4: this is a romantic retreat
  • Retropad has no outside space

Best time to go

June and September are the best months to visit Malta as the weather is perfect, the sea is warm enough to swim, and there are not so many crowds. July and August are hot, busy, but fun, and May and October are also lovely months to be here. Easter and Christmas are celebrated extensively, so are other good times to be here.

Our top tips

Use Valletta as a base for visiting the rest of Malta, and Gozo, the neighbouring island, as distances between places are never very far. You can easily be in the city in the morning, the beach in the afternoon, and a bar or restaurant in the evening.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 4
  • Basic self-catering (restaurants nearby)
  • 4+ year olds only (but not suited to kids)
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Communal kitchen
Room: Library


We stayed in spacious top-floor studio, Gallery. It has views over the harbour on all sides, seen through lovely picture windows, and an original patterned tiled floor, newly polished and set off to perfection by deep grey poured-concrete walls. The bathroom, with its powerful rain shower, is also concrete-coated, with zinging mustard-yellow tiles and a heated towel rail. There's a walk-in wardrobe area, plus a nook with coffee machine, fridge and kettle. Cable TV (an unobtrusive flat-screen) and a selection of DVDs and books make the space feel homey.

Since our stay, Library has been added, it has a wall of shelves filled with coffee-table art books, and a large hammock. Atelier (formerly the architect's workspace), styled as a mini workshop, was next. All rooms have the same size and layout, and are fantastically lovely. Each has a private slice of terrace on the roof with deckchairs for sunbathing.

In a residential street nearby, the unique Retropad is a one-bedroomed maisonette with the same grey walls, fabulous hexagonal floor tiles and salvaged pieces. Another latest addition is serene Hideout, in the fortified medieval town of Birgu (aka Vittoriosa) on the South side of the Grand Harbour. Formerly Chris' grandmother's home, this small townhouse has vintage and modern furniture on Maltese tiled floors, a conservatory style shower bathroom beside the brand new kitchen below, and the bedroom and breakfast balcony above.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Beach towels
  • Bose sound system
  • Cd player
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Complimentary cold drinks
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


You'll find an expresso coffee machine with Illy pods, complimentary water and juices in your fridge, and a kettle for making tea in all five spaces. In the townhouse, there's a communal kitchen upstairs for preparing food; it opens onto a terrace with great views and dining furniture. In the cupboards are all-needed appliances, like pots, pans, knives, etc, as well as salt and pepper, olive oil, and sugar. There's also a small fridge, mini oven/microwave and toaster. Retropad has a retro Smeg fridge-freezer, and a kitchen constructed atop a vintage marble-topped table with pots and pans underneath and a Belfast sink to one side. Hideout, in contrast, has a new fitted timber and marble kitchen with hot plate, toaster and kettle.

Valletta has some excellent restaurants, and Anna and Chris will give you a booklet with their personal recommendations of eateries and bars, as well as information about the best places to buy food locally if you're looking for supplies.

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Retropad
Activity: Valletta


  • If staying in the townhouse, you’re practically next door to the Fort of St Elmo with its Malta at War museum, and the rest of Valletta’s major sights are a short walk away: St John’s Co-Cathedral, the Grand Master’s Palace and Renzo Piano's new parliament building and City Gate

  • Take a harbour boat tour or ferry trips to Malta's historic Three Cities - Vittoriosa (where Hideout is found), Senglea and Cospicua

  • Laze on pretty Golden Bay beach or day trip to Gozo for the picturesque San Blas or Ramla Bay. There are wonderful places to go swimming off the coast, too (including a spot 5 minutes away from the townhouse) - plus some of the best dive sites in Europe

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming


Only children aged 4+ are accepted, but all beds are doubles and there are no extra beds, so it would only work for a solo parent travelling with an older child.

Kid Friendly: Terrace

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