As the island’s first five-star hotel, the Phoenicia Malta has come to be known as one of Malta’s most iconic hotels. Garnering several accolades and recognition over the years, the team behind the hotel has worked hard to maintain its leading position, and General Manager Robyn Pratt is adamant on keeping this trend going, setting ever higher standards for 2024.

“The Phoenicia Malta opened its doors over 76 years ago, and there are many wonderful memories created in this iconic hotel,” begins Robyn, listing key landmarks in the hotel’s history, including the celebration of Malta’s Independence; Queen Elisabeth’s many visits; notable stays by celebrities and dignitaries over the years; as well as its special anniversary celebrations for its 25th, 50th and 75th years in operation.

“The addition of our beautiful spa, Phoenicia Spa and Wellness, was also an important addition, and an important aspect for travellers when considering a hotel in these times,” she continues, adding on recent recognitions as one of the best hotels in the world by Conde Nast Readers – third in Central & Southern Europe and 11th in the Rest of Europe categories – as well as making the top five per cent of Leading Hotels of the World with the hotel’s Quality results.

Delving into what it is about The Phoenicia Malta that has enabled it to retain its position as a leading luxury five-star hotel within the local hospitality sector, Robyn highlights a mixture of unique points, including its location on the doorstep to one of the world’s UNESCO sites, Valletta; the expansive gardens and open spaces surrounding the hotel; its unique history and solid reputation for caring and friendly service.

Serving as General Manager since 2021, Robyn has her own personal milestones at The Phoenicia Malta, but the most important to her is having built a solid team of dedicated individuals. “I am incredibly proud of the many, many guest testimonials that we receive daily relating to how amazed guests are in relation to the level of service they receive, and this relates to how engaged our team are in wanting to deliver the highest level of service to all guests, whether they be local or international,” she maintains.

“I feel that through our many initiatives there is a wonderful energy flowing throughout the hotel, and this is also something people comment on,” the General Manager continues, adding, “we are always focused on ‘what’s next’ in relation to elevating our guest experience, and I am happy to say that the team is behind me in wanting to always implement something new and different for our guests whilst always being mindful of combining these initiatives with the genuine service we have become known for.”

It is no surprise then, that one of the hotel’s main areas of focus is guest experience. “At the core of all that we do is the human element, and whether it be our internal team members, our international guests or locals who are coming in to dine or to attend an event, we want to offer the same feeling – we focus on this every day in so many ways,” Robyn says, affirming that, with such an ambitious goal it is crucial to be solid in their commitment to how we deliver the best experience possible.

“Every person in the hotel is aware of our goals and how we are tracking – this is a team goal, and we are all very focused on achieving our vision,” she maintains.

Linked to this is The Phoenicia Malta’s goal to be recognised as the best Urban Luxury Hotel in the Mediterranean. “The fact that we achieved third place in South Central Europe, as well as our high-quality ranking in LHW and our Forbes Four Star achievement speaks to our commitment in achieving this goal,” the General Manager says, adding, “we were incredibly honoured to be included in the Conde Nast 2023 Readers Choice Awards which are voted by readers – when we received news of our score, which was equal to or better to many of the best hotels in the world, we felt such a sense of achievement and pride as we have worked tirelessly over the past three years to reposition The Phoenicia Malta as a hotel which people choose because of our reputation and not just because we are in Malta.”

Commenting on recent local accolades too – including Top Food in the Definitely Good Guide Awards, a Bronze Award in the Malta Business Awards for Customer Excellence, the Two Silver Spoons award at The 2024 WRMC Restaurants Quality Recognition, as well as the WRMC-Malta Outstanding Top Chef award for the hotel’s Head Chef, Robyn continues, “these awards and accolades are important to help us know that we are moving in the right direction. Awards such as these are wonderful opportunities to showcase our fantastic talent and for our team to rightfully feel a great sense of pride.”

Moving forward, the team continues to strive for excellence. “We recently launched Contessa, which is the reimagining of Phoenix restaurant, and it is proving very popular. We also have more plans in place to improve our guest experience. You can never sit still – you need to always be considering how you can continue to elevate your guest experience in all areas of the hotel,” the General Manager reveals.

All of this, she emphasises, wouldn’t be possible without the people behind the hotel. “I have been in this business for over 40 years, and in that time, I have managed various people. I am very proud to know that many of them are in senior positions in the world of hospitality. Having a strong culture of service is something many people talk about but not so many achieve. It takes dedication and commitment, and it is vital that the team feel that commitment. We have many employee initiatives; however, it is not just about these initiatives but how you make these people feel when they come to work each day – that is what it is all about and this is what is important in any business. Making people happy is our business, and that does not just mean the external customer!”

This interview forms part of the Companies to Watch in 2024, a business serialisation of BusinessNow.mt, Malta’s fastest-growing, cutting-edge business news portal, aimed at companies achieving their goals, marking important milestones, or planning to announce major business news.

Want to know more? Please drop us a line at info@BusinessNow.mt

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