The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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A reputation for delivering quality requires a constant commitment to challenge yourself – and other

Monday, 12 February 2024, 16:20 Last update: about 19 days ago

Robyn Pratt

The Phoenicia Malta has long held a vision to be recognised as the best urban luxury hotel in the Mediterranean. Throughout the hotel's history - to date, over three quarters of a century long - we have understood that achieving this vision requires commitment and dedication from all team members, as well as a never-ending focus on reimagining and elevating the overall guest journey.

The guest experience for visitors to Malta is also a national priority, with the Malta Tourism Authority repeatedly stating its own focus on improving standards.

A great initiative was the introduction of the Forbes Star Programme for hotels and restaurants, which provides operators with a detailed list of standards to reach, if one wants to be included in the exclusive Forbes list of star-rated properties across the globe. The programme includes an annual audit, in which the score a hotel or restaurant achieves translates to its respective Star award. It is extremely challenging to achieve five stars in this programme - making it all the more exciting when the results are received.

In developing the standards, the programme follows the complete journey of a guest, from the time they may go online to search for a property, via reservations and right through until departure. Every touchpoint matters!

These types of programmes are incredibly important for properties such as The Phoenicia Malta, particularly considering our ultimate goal. We realise this goal is a formidable one. The Forbes Audit, together with other audits we have in place - and many other significant milestones - help us gauge the results of our efforts and define where we need to work harder. One such exciting milestone was the 2023 Conde Nast Readers' Choice awards, in which we were voted one of the 15 top hotels in their Rest of Europe section and the third best in South Central Europe.

It was with this vision firmly in mind that our team made the commitment to reimagine The Phoenicia Malta's iconic Phoenix Restaurant into the newly-launched Contessa. Our guests have always loved the views of the beautiful bastions and gardens from our terrace. Thus, Contessa was transformed into a year-round dining destination within a stunning new conservatory, in which guests can dine in style and comfort and take in the panoramic vista by day or by night, 365 days a year, whatever the weather.

Sustainability is another huge trend within the hospitality industry and a daily point of focus at The Phoenicia Malta. Making full use of the hotel's extensive grounds and beautifully kept gardens, our chefs closely collaborate with our gardeners to plan the seasonal crops they can use when preparing dishes. At Contessa, the menu will change with the seasons, incorporating fresh produce picked daily from The Phoenicia Kitchen Garden.

Contessa is now in her second month of being open and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our guests - both international and local - has been testament to the many hours of consideration and thought that went into creating the entire guest journey.

Our team, throughout a planning process that lasted more than 12 months, did not want to simply change Phoenix with updated décor. Our goal instead was to create a fresh experience for guests, while being mindful of the importance of protecting the wonderful heritage and beauty of such a prestigious hotel that has become an icon for hospitality in Malta.

We knew we wanted to create something special. We touched upon every touchpoint, from branding and specially-designed uniforms, to updated menus for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Many of our guests travel frequently and globally, staying at the best hotels and dining at the best restaurants in the world. To meet and exceed their exceptionally high expectations, we constantly challenged our own perspectives to consider how each change might be perceived through their eyes.

While future Forbes auditors and other evaluators will check Contessa and reflect on the team's performance against the ambitious standards developed by these programmes, we maintain our commitment to challenge ourselves to be the best we can be, every single moment of every day. We have learnt that if we act upon the treasured feedback of both programmes and valued guests, we can be sure that we are delivering the highest level of consistency and quality in every detail.

Indeed, an unwavering focus on quality is key, as we shape the future of Malta's hospitality and tourism industries. Improving the quality of the visitor experience is a crucial step in building the global reputation of Malta as a destination for luxury travellers. It is not an easy goal, but one that everyone within the industry should embrace - not just for our international travellers, but for every person who is a guest or diner.

To create a consistently high quality guest experience, we must not be afraid to ask for feedback and, most importantly, we must learn from it and change course if necessary, always seeking to reimagine and innovate with the guest in mind. After all, delivering extraordinary hospitality is not about what we like, but what our guest is looking for.

Discover more about The Phoenicia Malta at www.phoeniciamalta.com and the newly-launched Contessa at www.phoeniciamalta.com/contessa

 

Robyn Pratt is general manager at The Phoenicia Malta

 


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