If my vacation to Malta had started at the Kempinski Gozo, I wouldn’t have fractured my foot, my time on the island and subsequent travels would have been vastly changed as well as my relationships. After a nightmare Airbnb experience, we left early (FLED or ESCAPED is a better term) to the luxury hotel on the island. I called early Sunday morning about a same day reservation and the price was the same as online (sometimes calling helps, sometimes it doesn’t) and included a full breakfast. We drove from one end of the island to the other passing the limestone sameness of the streets and homes only to enter the driveway of the hotel and truly be in another world far, far away. The abundance of green landscaping against the limestone was quite welcoming.
Kempinski Gozo Location
Gozo is a small island with a plethora of villages. The hotel is in the San Lawrenz village not far from the Azure Window. The hotel name is Kempinski San Lawrenz but more easily called the Kempinski Gozo Malta. The hotel has 120 rooms in various categories as well as 60 residences in a separate wing (the residences can be rented for short and long term stays).
We used the self-park option (no charge) and entered with only our overnight bags as it would be a one night stay. My foot was so swollen from my fall the night before that I could barely walk on it. At check-in, the manager, whom I spoke with earlier on the phone, was just wonderful. He offered the name of their doctor on call and walked us to our room, which seemed to be miles away (when you can’t walk, everything seems football fields away).
We walked past the massive lobby with its high ceilings and grand stairs (leading to the breakfast area). We took the elevator down two floors and began the long walk with a turn at the sumptuous spa (you get pool towels here) which had indoor pools, two which are heated (the spa menu was divine). We turned again and halfway down the hall stopped at our room. He opened the door and it was like magic as our bad luck and gross rental memories quickly evaporated.
A Suite Surprise
The manager was able to upgrade us to a larger room with a living room and balcony overlooking the pool area (one downside was the noise from the squash courts below but it was a Sunday so the noise ended early). I booked a standard room (there are 83 rooms) and he moved us up two categories to a Junior Suite (there are 37 suites)! He walked us through the room to show us all the features and I was thrilled to have air-conditioning and a fancy bathroom. My friend was happy with the free (fast) Wi-Fi and sun from the balcony. We were getting a do-over to our first vacation together.
The Room (Junior Suite)
As you enter, the room seems massive and long. The bathroom is on the right and you walk into the bedroom area with a large desk space and closets. Further afield past the draped curtains, there is the living room with couch, minibar, table and television. It is a large space that leads to the small balcony with two chairs overlooking the pool area and garden. I was totally in my element of a luxury hotel, my friend, not accustomed to the posh life was taking it all in. He said he could get used to this type of vacation – I think we all could.
With a contemporary design, the bathroom was equipped with a sunken tub, walk in shower, two plush robes, slippers (yeah!) and pleasant (chipmunk worthy) Kempinski branded toiletries.
There was a knock at the door and I was surprised to see a delivery of a big bowl of ice for my foot. The manager had arranged this to be delivered after he left us. This was an exceptionally good start to the stay – personal attention without saying a word.
As we were still a bit shell shocked from the prior three days of bad luck (injured foot, bug bites, etc.) I ordered lunch from room service so we could sit in the sun and enjoy the view from the balcony. The delivery was quick (same guy who delivered the ice) and the presentation lovely. The burgers were just what we needed on a lazy Sunday before going for a swim.
With two chairs in the shade and room to move them to the sunny side of the balcony, we could both be happy – me in the shade, my friend in the sun. The balcony also included a railing to hang wet clothes to dry. As the hotel wasn’t crowded on a June Sunday, it was quite nice to be outside in relative quiet. If only the pool wasn’t calling our names…..
The Kempinski Gozo Pools
There are multiple pools on the property but as it was early June only one seemed in use. As the sun was starting to hide behind the clouds and the winds picked up, we were determined to go swimming on this vacation so we went to the spa for our towels (I was tempted to stay in the spa) and found two lounge chairs.
While the outside air was slightly cool, once in the water it was warm and relaxing. I was now washing away the yuckiness of this vacation to begin again as I started a lap around the big pool. We managed three laps around before the staff started closing the pool area by stacking the chairs. We laughed at our timing but even three laps was enough for us to enjoy.
There are multiple restaurants as well as a few bars (pool, lobby, wine) on the property and sadly (well part of our luck) the one we wanted, the Mediterranean one, L’Ortolan, was closed on Sunday so we dined at the Italian restaurant, Trattoria San Lawrenz. The service was attentive as it should be as there were so few tables occupied either inside or outside on the patio with us. It was a moonlit night and with wine and chocolate we were happy.
For breakfast, served in L’Ortolan, the hotel buffet goes all out with impressive array of offerings, an egg station with chef as well as hot to order service. I ate my body weight in fresh fruits, chocolate croissants and was thrilled to get a sunny side up egg! After more than a month away in Spain and Italy, finding a proper runny egg was a thrill, having a croissant to mop it up just heavenly. The breakfast was included in the room rate. The buffet also offered the local Maltese pastry, pastizzi, which I tried. It is a savoury puff pastry usually filled with ricotta or mushy peas (not sure mushy peas pairs well with fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast).
All the Stuff We Missed
I was gutted that I couldn’t use the spa during our quick one night stay. It truly looked amazing! With a range of body services, a hammam, steam baths, jacuzzi and heated pools, it offered everything I would normally try if I was traveling solo. There is a full gym, squash and tennis courts but with an injured foot, I couldn’t use them. The hotel listing of services and amenities was quite vast so there was so much more…. We did steal a few moment before checkout relaxing on the outdoor patio overlooking the property.
The Kempinski Gozo Malta was an amazing escape and allowed us to hit reset on our vacation (until we got to the parking lot and found a dead battery in the rental car but that’s another story). The staff was top notch attentive to our needs and friendly.
The hotel is its own oasis on the island which means you can’t really walk to the nearest store or town (you need a car) and frankly, there’s no need to leave if you want to splash out on a luxury resort stay, however, do leave to see these wonderful views. If we had only started our vacation here first, it would have been a totally different holiday. On my next visit to Gozo, I’m definitely going back to the Kempinski Gozo for more than one night to start my holiday off on a good note (or starting off on the right foot -haha!).