Tucked away on a tiny side street in the Unesco-approved city of Valletta, Casa Ellul is the sort of secret hideaway so good you almost don’t want to tell your friends about it. The historic, family-run property has been carefully restored and updated, creating a charming mix of the elegant old and the super-stylish new.
Double rooms from $199.52 (€178), excluding tax at 7 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €0.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include Continental breakfast.
In-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged on request.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: free bottled water, international adaptor, hairdryer.
Our favourite rooms
They’re all a bit wondrous (Suites 1–5 classically so, while 6–8 lean more towards modernism), but the 360-degree views from Suite 7, the penthouse, are extra magnificent, and you can lounge in the hot tub while you enjoy them. Suite 5 has the winning combination of high ceilings and a piano. If you have your heart set on a roll-top bath, opt for 2, 3 or 5.
Leave the Louboutins at home: pack for pounding the cobbled mediaeval streets of endlessly explorable Valletta. If you’re anything of a linguist, throw a Maltese phrase book in your carry-on: it’s a particularly intriguing tongue.
The breakfast room and reception are all wheelchair accessible, as is the specially adapted Suite 1, which has a wet room.
Over-12s are accepted, but the hotel’s designed much more with adults in mind.
It’s breakfast – roll out of bed and throw on whatever you fancy. Perhaps go a bit grecian if you want to fit in with the statue of Heracles looming in the lobby.
Risette is an laidback, fine dining restaurant led by Chef Andrew Borg. Having worked his way around Europe’s top kitchens, he’s got a broad knowledge of different flavours and delicacies, and is a dab hand at fine fare. With an emphasis on fresh produce, Risette’s European menu changes weekly; our former favourites include tuna tartar with a seaweed butter, and entrecôte of New Zealand beef with white onions and trompet de mort.
There’s no bar… but there is an array of drinks available in the breakfast room, and the night porter or receptionist will be happy to whip up whatever you request.
Breakfast is served 7am–10.30am (although if you have a special request for later or earlier dining staff will do their best to make it happen). Lunch is served Tuesday to Sunday, and dinner is offered Monday to Saturday.
Sandwiches, salads and so on can be delivered to your room from 7am to 7pm (and the minibar’s stocked with water, wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks and snacks).
Casa Ellul has an enviably central location within Valletta, on the east coast of the island of Malta.
You’ll land at Malta International Airport, about 20 minutes from Casa Ellul by car.
The hotel doesn’t have its own car park, but there’s a public one nearby (€8 a day). You’ll probably walk more than drive in the historic city itself (driving there isn’t fun), but a car could come in handy if you’re planning on exploring further afield.
There are ferries from Sicily, if you’re adventuring around the Med.
Worth getting out of bed for
Valletta's the archetypal World Heritage City, a pleasing mix of Rococo opulence, romantic balconettes and striking church domes on the horizon. You can easily spend your days just wandering, taking in the details or admiring sweeping vistas from the city wall. The public Upper Barrakka Gardens are the place to take your impress-your-friends Instagrams. The Grand Harbour views are incredibly, well, grand. The park, which was built in 1775, is packed with statues, too (from street urchins to Winston Churchill).
Ten minutes’ walk from Casa Ellul, the National Museum of Fine Arts has an impressive collection, all housed within a fine building dating back to the 1760s (it boasts the finest High Baroque staircase on the island, if you’re into that sort of thing). The Pjazza Teatru Rjalopen-air theatre plaza (its name means Royal Theatre Square) is set in the empty space left by the destruction of the Royal Opera House in 1942. Today, it hosts art installations, dance events, comedy performances, plays and all sorts of concerts.
A bit of an institution, waterfront Scoglittion Triq il-Lanċa is the place to go for harbour views, fresh seafood and first-class service. Chefs (and sisters) Ramona and Roberta run Palazzo Preca on Strait Street, a top choice for romantic dinners, candles and all.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in Valletta, a full account of their luxury Mediterranean break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside/postcard from Casa Ellul in Malta…
On arrival through the remarkably narrow Old Theatre Street at Casa Ellul, your temporary Maltese home, you’re greeted by Heracles, ancient Greek divine hero, leaning imperiously – all muscles and no clothes – on his wooden club and lion skin. He’s a striking sight, perhaps beaten only by the panoramic views from the penthouse rooftop.
Once you move on to your room, things take a choose-your-own-adventure turn: will you opt to continue the classical theme In one of the more traditional rooms, or go more modernist in one of the others? Each is unique – a piano here, a roll-top bath there – but all are fresh and serene, their restoration overseen by the Ellul family owners (descendants of the textile merchant who bought the historic home in 1837). The family love of the house, and of Valletta itself, is evident everywhere, including in each carefully restored original tile. Welcome home.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Casa Ellul’s Guestbook below.
The staff were some of the mosty pleasant and helpful we have ever met.