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Malta

Render of rooftop pool of boutique hotel

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils plans for boutique hotel in Malta’s Mercury Tower

800 450 Hamish Kilburn

The hotel plans from Zaha Hadid Architects follow a recent 10 per cent boom in tourism in Malta…

Malta’s location at the midpoint of the Mediterranean has made the island a centre of trade and tourism. Welcoming almost 2.5 million international tourists last year with the number of visitors growing by almost 10 per cent annually, Malta’s hospitality industry employs 30 per cent of the country’s workforce and is anticipated to grow to 40 per cent of the island’s employment over the coming decade.

Located on Malta’s east coast, Paceville has developed over the past 50 years as the island’s tourist and entertainment centre, accommodating new projects that address this continued growth.

“Derelict for more than twenty years, the 9,405 sq.m. site includes the remaining façades of the old Mercury House that date from 1903.”

Established as a cluster of holiday homes in the early 20th Century and developed into a major tourist hub from the 1960’s, Paceville is at the heart of St Julian’s in Malta where many of the island’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs, casinos and marina are located, together with international hotels including the Hilton, Le Meridien, InterContinental and Westin.

The renovation and redevelopment of Mercury House, led by Zaha Hadid Architects, integrates residential apartments and boutique hotel within Malta’s most dynamic urban environment. Creating new public spaces and amenities for the island’s residents and visitors, the design responds to Paceville’s key urban challenges by investing in its civic realm and increasing its limited housing supply.

Derelict for more than twenty years, the 9,405 sq.m. site includes the remaining façades of the old Mercury House that date from 1903. Two underground vaults created during the Cold War are also within the site’s boundary.

Establishing shot of the iconic building

Working with Malta’s leading conservation architect, these heritage structures will be renovated as integral parts of the new development; restoring the old Mercury House façades and reinstating its remaining historic interiors as gathering spaces and entrance for the apartments and hotel.

Restoring the facades of the old Mercury House to their original height enables this heritage structure to be read as a whole. The new development lands behind these renovated façades, defining the original Mercury House as the focus of a new public piazza.

Including water features and fountains for children to play, as well as seating areas to relax, the new piazza will be the centre of its community by day, and one of Malta’s primary gathering places by night to suit the island’s al fresco lifestyle.

With the refurbished Mercury House at its base, the 24,500 sq.m. renovation and redevelopment incorporates civic amenities including cafes and shops surrounding the large piazza together with a new café pavilion of soft curves and a transparency that accentuates the solidity of the old Mercury House.

The 31-storey tower of residential apartments and hotel is aligned at street level to integrate with Paceville’s existing urban fabric and to reduce its footprint, maximizing civic space within the new piazza.

Conceived as two volumes stacked vertically, the tower incorporates a realignment that expresses the different functional programmes within.

The lower nine-storey volume houses apartments while the higher 19-storey volume is rotated to orientate guest rooms of the new hotel towards the Mediterranean, providing optimal views of Malta’s renowned azure sea.

Re-aligning the tower’s higher floors reduces solar gain and instils a sense of dynamism within its silhouette that changes when viewed from different directions around Paceville.

The transitioning floors (levels 10, 11 and 12) accommodate the tower’s realignment and house the dramatic public spaces of the hotel’s reception lobby as well as an outdoor pool with views to the sea.

The insulated façade, combined with limited glazing in areas of significant direct sunlight, is designed to provide shading and increase the tower’s overall thermal performance. The tower’s design also incorporates the results of local pedestrian comfort and wind climate assessments.

Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.

Image credit: All renders by VA

Luxury Bay Suite

London-based interior designer unveils ‘suite dreams’ in Malta

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

Malta continues to be a hotel design hot spot as London-based designer unveils 29 luxury suites in Malta’s The Westin Dragonara Resort

With the arrival of a Hard Rock Hotel slated to open in 2020 and Zaha Hadid Architects winning planning permission to build the 31-storey Murcury House, Malta in the Mediterranean is fast becoming a hotel design hub. Ahead of these grand plans becoming a reality, the most recent hotel renovation is that of the suites of a hotel that first opened its doors in the late ’90s.

Conceptualised by London-based interior designer, Lynne Hunt, the 29 Luxury Bay Suites offer a light and airy design that promotes relaxation, renewal and spectacular views. Taking inspiration from the extraordinary location and the hotel’s passion for wellbeing, all design details champion the natural surroundings, featuring soft hues of Maltese limestone and the turquoise tones of the Mediterranean Sea.

Working with Westin and Marriott, Huny embraced the design ethos of a Westin resort with a biophilia approach to its interiors and design reference. “Our inspiration is the limestone rock of Malta along with the beautiful surrounding Mediterranean Sea,” Hunt explained.

The centrepiece of the Master Bedroom is the award-winning Westin Heavenly® Bed, tilted at an angle to face the window. Guests are invited to relax under the soft mood lighting and recharge with the soundtrack of the soothing ocean that drifts from the connecting terrace.

Image credit: The Westin Dragonara Resort

Overlooking the bedroom and sea beyond is the spacious and elegant ensuite, built with a free-standing bath and walk-in rainfall shower. As well as featuring an open-plan ensuite bathroom, an additional guest bathroom features in the suite, complete with a range of premium White Tea Heavenly Bath toiletries.

“The refurbished Luxury Bay Suites are an extraordinary addition to The Westin Dragonara Resort. The hotel overlooks the tranquil Mediterranean and these new suites really make the most of this unique vista,” said Michael Camilleri Kamsky, General Manager of The Westin Dragonara Resort. “Every element of the suites has been considered to help guests relax and re-energise, from the spacious design, to the unique food and beverage offering. We look forward to welcoming guests to experience the Luxury Bay Suites first hand.”

Other images of the Luxury Bay suites: 

The open plan living and dining space comes complete with a functional double sofa bed, seating area and kitchenette. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead out onto a private and secluded terrace, perfect for al fresco socialising and relaxing. Three of the suites offer two bedrooms, accommodating larger families or accompanying guests.

First opened in 1997, The Westin Dragonara Resort has been at the forefront of Maltese hospitality. Its latest renovation to the 29 suites reference Maltese culture in a soft, sublte and approprate way, mainly through clever colour schemes and Mediterranean-inspired art.

 

Malta Marriott

Malta Marriott Hotel and Spa to open in St Julian’s Bay

420 281 Daniel Fountain

The Malta Tourism Authority has announced that 2018 will see the launch of the Malta Marriott Hotel and Spa, following a rebrand of the current Le Méridien property.

Originally built on the grounds of a 19th century Maltese villa, the property’s unique location, just around the corner from the vibrant nightlife of St Julian’s bay offers both the tranquillity of Balluta Bay and the proximity of St Julian’s lively atmosphere.

While Le Méridien is already classified as a five-star hotel, the redevelopment will see the hotel upgraded and refurbished with additional executive suites as well as the possibility of two additional floors.

The hotel currently has 276 rooms and suites, 14 board rooms, and 1,800 square feet of meeting space. With a meeting capacity of up to 650 guests, the hotel has always been a popular choice for corporate travel and meetings and incentive groups, as well as leisure travellers.

Peter Vella, MTA’s UK and Ireland Director says “The redevelopment and rebranding of the iconic Le Méridien hotel in St Julian’s to the hugely popular Marriott concept is very exciting, bringing another five-star brand to our shores and adding to the already exceptional range of hotels that we are able to offer travellers and conference organisers in Malta.”

The existing property will close for refurbishment at the end of 2017 before opening its doors as the Malta Marriott Hotel and Spa in 2018.