Get away from it all in a little piece of heaven at the Paradise Bay Resort.
There is no better way to get away from it all than by retreating to a little paradise tucked away at the furthest edge of a Mediterranean island. With views of the delightfully azure Paradise Bay on one side and Gozo and Comino islands on the other, welcome to a taste of the exotic.
This is the setting of the Paradise Bay resort, a family-owned hotel since the early '70s. Since then, it’s grown from a small hotel of 40 rooms to 277 rooms in a full-fledged resort. Transferred to one of the partners in late 2017, the resort is presently seeing new management, service upgrades and refurbishment.
As my companion and I enter a newly refurbished hotel lobby, we are greeted with lots of space, plenty of light and friendly faces behind the front desk. Despite missing some finishing touches to the new entrance by the onsite parking, the new lease of life that comes with fresh inspiration and new enthusiasm instils curiosity in the unfinished process rather than discomfort. I could already see that the result is set to be contemporary, chic and comfortable all at once.
The hotel is gloriously set on the tip of a peninsula at the northernmost edge of Malta, a stone’s throw from the Gozo and Comino ferries with the sun setting over the horizon in the west. A pretty little cove just south of the peninsula features cliffs and vegetation running down to a small white beach. Crystal blue waters turning a light azure colour stretch between the hotel and the beach aptly named Paradise Bay. The area around the hotel and the bay is undeveloped, unspoilt and displays natural Mediterranean beauty in its full glory.
Apart from the stunning natural surroundings, you can also explore the sea. The hotel’s in-house PADI certified diving centre can introduce you to diving or take seasoned divers out to the P29 wreck, one of Malta’s top dive sites just nearby. Several watersports are also available at the resort.
Opening the door to our room, the first thing we noticed was the ample space and welcoming view. Next, we realised we had a wonderful corner bath and hot towel rail in a bathroom that is just as spacious. Filled with excitement, I ran to the balcony, just noticing the flowers strewn on the bed and the mini-fridge. The view from our bay view room extended across the resort pools to Paradise Bay, framing the perfect picture.
On spending more time in our room, we noticed just how comfortable it was, served with all amenities. Apart from air-conditioning and central heating, the room had a ceiling fan, which is perfect since I personally don’t enjoy air-conditioning! We also had a large satellite TV, telephone, free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, a safety deposit box and a hairdryer. We particularly enjoyed our south-facing room, however, for allowing a blissful bask in the evening sunshine.
Shortly after checking in, we went to the Cockerel bar by the lobby for a coffee while taking in our new surroundings. There are three restaurants and five bars at this resort, and from where we sat, we could see two of the restaurants. Disconnecting from the free WiFi, we put our phones away to fully relish our environment as we explored the surroundings.
We went for a wander around the hotel to get acquainted with the large expanse belonging to the resort. Down one level, we investigated the convenience shop, to discover that it sells anything from sun lotion and swimwear to snacks and souvenirs. We passed a games room and stopped to enjoy a group of adult men playing right alongside the kids in the padded children’s playground area by the Kid’s Club. Coming to another restaurant and snack bar, we took a tunnel crossing beneath the road to the resort's private beach, where there is also a bar, diving centre and a lovely platform for outdoor events.
Back through the tunnel, we reemerged by the main pool, passed three pool areas, and settled on a high sunbathing platform to while a few hours away. In the late evening, we debated whether to go for a swim in the warm indoor pool adjacent to the shallower pool near us, and peeked into the fitness room, sauna and whirlpool. Despite the temptation, the evening sun felt more attractive at this time of year, so we took a quick dip outside before enjoying a beautiful sunset.
My companion and I both being vegetarian, reviewing a restaurant is interesting. In my opinion, if the vegetarian food is tasty, the chef is a talented one all around. In this case, we were impressed by the offering at K Lounge, the a la carte restaurant we chose for our dinner. K Lounge offers harbour views, and we were impressed by the selection of food at reasonable prices.
The caprese salad as a starter was simple and delightful as it should be. But, we couldn’t help but wonder what secret in its preparation made the garganelli dish so delicious. How can such a simple plate of pasta with peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, cream and grana cheese taste so moreish? We also thought the pizza would make for a good test to go by (apart from being partial to a slice or two, naturally). We went for a vegetarian pizza that included mozzarella, tomato sauce, mushrooms, mixed peppers, peas, sweetcorn, artichoke hearts, onions, black olives, fresh basil and oregano. Nothing could prepare us for the sheer quantity of the ingredients on the pizza, yet the flavours blended well and the combination with a thicker pastry was delightful.
Prior to taking our seat by the large glass windows overlooking the sea at K lounge, we had taken a peek around Il-Merill restaurant, where a buffet is served to guests. There was a wonderful variety of food to delight meat and fish lovers and, although there was no main vegetarian dish, there were plenty of side dishes and salads to make up an interesting plate. And the sweets … we almost gave up on the idea of dinner when we saw the sweets! The staff at K Lounge were kind enough to indulge us on a special request for the chocolate toffee pecan sticky pudding we had seen, which we ate warm with vanilla ice cream!
In the morning, we decided to keep it light after completely stuffing ourselves with pizza, pasta and sticky pudding the night before. The huge selection of salads, cold cuts and cheeses, cooked options (including sausages, bacon and eggs) and cereals, as well as a selection of juices and tea and coffee, made that hard to do. Easy-going and light-hearted, with a window-side view of the main pool, the ambience gently prepared us for a day of leisure.
Leisure in good measure
With four seawater outdoor pools, an indoor pool with sauna and whirlpool, and a private sandy beach, there are plenty of options for a change of scenery when you’re busy doing nothing. Had we been feeling active, we’d forgo the fitness room for the water sports and scuba diving available. There’s also a tennis court, a multipurpose court for futsal, basketball or netball (with equipment available for hire) and even a boules pitch! That’s not to mention the surrounding area of Mellieha, with all its wonderful nature for trekking and several more beaches to explore, such as Armier Bay and Mellieha Bay. Apart from this, an animation team is daily on location at the resort, as well as entertainment in the evenings.
Still, if leisure isn't the (only) thing you're after, there are also two conference halls and two meeting rooms available. The largest can host up to 300 people, and events range from business presentations to weddings. I'm also told that destination weddings in Malta are commonplace at the Paradise Bay Resort's private beach, which is a blue flag beach.
Just as any resort should be, the Paradise Bay Resort allows guests to be and do as they please. We just can’t wait to see its new look completed!