I was thrilled to be invited to Iniala Harbour House & Residences to experience the luxurious accommodation and exquisite dining experience at ION-The Harbour. Following a quick and typically efficient phone call from the owner Mark Weingard, I could hardly contain my excitement. Time out on a luxury pad on St Barbara Bastions? What’s not to like? So, after affirming for 100 times that I had nothing to wear, me and my bulging suitcase found ourselves deposited at a grand old house with arguably the best view in the world.
Luxury as a mission
Iniala Harbour House & Residences is part of the Iniala Group – a group of companies focused on delivering the highest level of quality and luxury across hospitality, development and philanthropy. Iniala was born out of founder Mark Weingard’s passion for exquisite art, innovative design, and outstanding food, as well as his relentless pursuit of extraordinary service, collectively bound by a desire to always give back to society. Mr Weingard first came to Malta eight years ago and fell in love with our Capital City of Valletta, where he carefully designed this Hotel having the most majestic view of our Grand Harbour. The hotel is located just a few minutes away from the centre of the Capital where one may discover the history, shopping and heritage our Capital City has to offer and venture back to the beautifully designed room of this Hotel to truly relax in pure luxury.
Upon entering the reception area, we were greeted by friendly, warm staff who offered us some bubbly while we checked-in for the night. Like Shangri-La, Iniala seemed to be a place where time stood still.
All the Iniala rooms have airy, bright interiors and chic smart décor, all featuring air-conditioning as well as heated floors, Cable TV, telephone and wi-fi services. Every room is uniquely designed – the room we were assigned was had customised wallpaper with the beautiful image of the famous Valletta Triton Fountain. And, to continue in an artistic theme, it and also featured a dreamy balcony where one may relax and enjoy the outstanding Grand Harbour View. Truly ‘A room with a view’ designed with a love for the fine aesthetic.
A Love of Service
This quaint luxury hotel tops the competition in many ways – offering warm service, beautifully designed rooms with contemporary décor – some rooms include a private plunge pool, an excellent Spa which is planned to open in early 2021, as well as a gorgeous top-notch, fitness centre situated just behind the Hotel which will be offering an exclusive 100 memberships. The excellent service an Iniala hallmark, cocoons the visitor in a time-capsule of tenderness, rendering the outside world a distant memory.
Following some exploring around the Hotel and relaxation on our beautiful balcony, we were hosted to dinner at ION- The Harbour restaurant – a much-awaited hot-spot by many.
The restaurant is located on the top floor of the hotel enjoying the grand panorama of the distinctive Grand Harbour. The restaurant opens its doors to the public on Friday 6th November. Leading the charge is no other than Chef Andrew Borg, the culinary mastermind behind the inimitable restaurants Black Pig and Risette, both at the time dubbed by many as the best restaurants on the island. His story proves that he is the perfect fit for Iniala, being passionate, talented, and above all – dedicated to creating exceptional cuisine.
We were served a mouth-watering four-course meal paired with wines complementing each dish From the magical ambience to the service, the food to the wine pairing, everything was seamlessly integrated to provide an elevated dining experience that both surprised and delighted the senses.
Each course flowed seamlessly to the next. Each dish was impeccably presented. When we thought we had had enough came the grand finale – a beautiful, toasted buckwheat and caramel mousse, Granny Smith apple and coffee ice cream. As I write, I can still feel the lingering caramel and apple notes, teasing my palate as one of the ghosts of Valletta would tease its residents. The waiting staff and sommelier were foremost in upholding the restaurant’s luxury fine dining tag in place, and they do so with distinction. It was also impressive that whilst serving they describe each dish as if they cooked it themselves.
This level of service hints that ION – The Harbour has its sights set on a Michelin star. Of course, it is early days but there is enough talent to catch the attention of inspectors. For the moment, their focus is on piquing the interest of locals, and with one of the best-value wine pairing menus in Malta, it surely will not be long before they succeed in doing so. This restaurant will soon be making a lot of the right kind of noise.
Following a luxurious night’s rest within our Junior Suite – where the meaning of a home away from home takes on a new dimension – we enjoyed an amazing breakfast served at ION – The Harbour. As from November 6th, breakfast will be served 7 days a week between 7 am and 2 pm and can be enjoyed by one and all as children are also welcome.
There are various features that can make a hotel exceptional, from a spectacular location and a mind-blowing design to pampering service. But in my opinion, gone are the days of uninspiring continental breakfasts and the ION – The Harbour breakfast is a fantastic kick-off to any day! This super-de-luxe hotel has seized the opportunity to make a statement at dawn – with a lavish versatile mix of seasonal, regional, and international signature dishes to please all palates. Although it is impossible to definitively rank the world’s best hotel breakfasts, I hereby confirm that this was the most impressive hotel breakfast I have experienced.
Well worth it
Due to the current Covid19 pandemic, this magnificent Hotel will be offering you a taste of luxury and the opportunity to enjoy a one night’s stay for the heavily discounted price of €245 including breakfast plus an optional four-course dinner at €85 or a five-course dinner at €115 at the exquisite ION – The Harbour restaurant. This special offer will be valid till year-end.
Having thoroughly enjoyed our amazing experience, I’m not ashamed to say that I cannot wait to re-pack my bags and head to Iniala.
For further information seek https://inialamalta.com/