On a narrow street in the Maltese capital of Valletta, a few steps from the Grade I listed grandeur of The Manoel, Europe’s third oldest working theatre, is a stately neo-classical building, once the family home of the island’s esteemed Ellul Wines and Spirits family. Now Matthew and Andrew - the great-grandsons of the founder - who still run the business, have converted the house into an eight suite hotel.
Originally part of a group of buildings, architect Chris Briffa has smartly stitched them together to form one seamless façade, creating one singular palazzo, with three tiers of regimented balconies and Maltese galleriji that overlie the street-level shops and doorways. Inside, timber-beam ceilings, colonnaded fireplaces and traditional patterned tiles are tempered with sleek, modern furnishings.
Suite eight has a jazzed-up galleriji with a wood-panelled Jacuzzi affording sensational views over the architectural arabesques of Valetta's heritage-heaped skyline, but we suggest plumping for number five, in which the brothers’ grandmother’s piano nobly presides next to the freestanding bath.