Malta’s newest luxury hotel officially launched last night, and it is unlike anything the country has yet to offer – with all the opulence of a snazzy hotel but carved inside a 16th century bastion in Senglea.
The building now housing the Cugo Gran Macina hotel was built in 1554 during the reign of Grand Master Claude de la Sengle, after whom Senglea is named. It was originally used to hoist masts and other heavy cargo onto ships docked in the Grand Harbour, and was later used as the headquarters of the Labour Party between the 1970s and the 1990s.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gave a light-hearted nod to this part of the building’s history when launching the hotel yesterday.
“I remember I was on one of my first dates with Michelle but needed to pop down to the Macina for a brief ten-minute meeting. Michelle agreed to come down with me, probably because she didn’t have a lift, but the ten-minute meeting ended up lasting an hour if not longer,” he said. “When I told my daughters this anecdote as we passed by the Macina, they asked me why I left mummy waiting inside a stuffy old room. Well, now I can tell them that I left her waiting inside a five-star hotel.”
The hotel is the work of the IBB Hotel Collection, owned by the von der Heyden business group.
“We are honoured to be part of the Macina story, which historically contributed to Senglea’s title ‘Citta Invicta’ (Unconquered City),” IBB Hotels chairman Sven von der Heyden said. “After 40,000 man hours and a multimillion euro investment on restoration and rehabilitation, it is a great feeling to see such an iconic 16th century building come to life again for people to experience and be another step closer to being a UNESCO world heritage site.”
There are only 21 rooms in the hotel, but each one has its own unique design and is moulded according to the design of the bastion. The furniture itself is mostly modern, but there are some quirky additions – such as a basin with spectacular views overlooking the Grand Harbour. Prices range from €250 to €400 a night.
Cugo Gran Macina is also the first Maltese member of Design Hotels – a select group of boutique and design-luxury driven hotels around the world