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Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands
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Reviewed May 18, 2009

My partner and i arrived at this huge hotel which reminded me a little of a cruise ship.On a promo deal,We had a sea view and the kitchen was very handy as the resort is a little expensive but you expect that,i would recommend car hire as the resort is out of the way but has a great beach and is very peaceful,however there is a bus service which is pretty good.This was our first time in Malta and a refreshing,relaxing change from other holidays we have taken,we are well experienced travelers and have had some bad experiences in the past with standards not being as per the brochure.We attended a well informed presentation of a holiday club system which took about three hours but the sales lady was very polite and attentive and we did not feel pressured,prices vary depending on what you want and how you travel and yes we did join at a reasonable price that we did haggle for.We met a couple of managers who went over the figures with us however this is not my department more my husband as he is a financial advisor i just choose the holidays we take.There are maintenance fees to pay each year but they are capped and since coming home we have passed our contract to a friend who is in the legal sector for a look over and appears all is fine so we are not worried.All in all we had a great time and also attended a gala evening which gave us a chance to speak to other owners in the system.Thank you to all at the Radisson .

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled on business
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2  Thank chessy33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 12, 2009

Just got back from Radisson SAS Golden Bay Resort and Spa. Early May 2009. We paid £50 for one week on a 'timeshare promotion deal' for room only basis. With Easy Jet flights the holiday cost £320. plus 1 week car hire for £100 from the airport.

First the good points:
Weather was great for the time of year but there can be a chill wind now and again.
The hotel is excellent in fixtures and furnishings and very high standard, good quality specification throughout, reasonable entertainment at night etc, but more 4* than 5*.
The resort is much better than St. Pauls Bay and Buggiba and probably located on the best part of the island for scenery and quietness. St. Pauls and Bugibba are 15 minutes drive away from Golden Bay and in my opinion are not even worth a visit at all! Tacky and dead at the same time, (day and night). Both resorts have seen far better days and seem on their 'last legs!'
The location in the north is the best part of the island with Mellieha Bay, Comino / Gozo - gorgeous aquamarine water/white sand /blue grotto area on Comino. Well worth a visit by speedboat. 15 euros each. And Mdina, silent medievel city not far away further south is another definite 'must'. All these places are easily reached by car while still avoiding the busy traffic around the urban area surrounding Valetta. Valetta should also be on your list of places to see. Very historic, lots about WWII. My advice is to spend half a day here but go on the local bus even if you have a car and enjoy a couple of pints and lunch over looking the Grand Harbour in Valetta. If you don't drive you can still get around by bus and its cheap, but a car saves loads of time and apart from a few dodgy roads and road signs is no problem at all!

Now the bad points:

Timeshare! Timeshare! Timeshare!
The hotel has a very strange atmosphere with 'SUITS' seemingly outnumbering guests by two to one! You can be lying around the pool sunning yourself and all you see are these 'suits' with punters, it dosn't feel like a holiday hotel at all, too corporate by far! More like a sort of 'executive' club than a 'fun hotel' but OK at the same time.Be prepared for a four hour ordeal even if you tell the Rep straight away that you are not interested in timeshare as you are possibly going to be made redundant!!! You enter these double doors into another world that resembles the stock exchange or something like that with all these desks and computers / phones etc with suits and 'execs' buzzing all over the place. "Welcome to my parlour said the spider to the fly!" The 'spider' by the way is your best friend and has lived 'just down the road from you most of his/her life'

I'm not knocking timeshare really, it may be great for some people but for me the figures did not add up. In a nutshell the cheapest deal (bronze, one week / studio) was £12 - £13K for 1 weeks holiday per year for 36 years, then add £270 - £300 maintenance per year. This goes up in price each year by the way. Add to this your flights. So by my reckoning you get one week in April or Nov anywhere in Europe for about £600 - £700 including cheap easyjey/ryanair flights. That can be easily matched by travel agents etc, so you are giving them £12K at least for nothing!! Well thats how I see it!!
I can understand wanting top quality and so on, so if its for you and you have the money... fair enough! However the attitude of the salesmen 'left a lot to be desired'. One even said he set a "trap' for the cleaner". The cleaner missed his 'trap' and was promptly fired....according to the salemen "Standards need to be maintained" he said. ....I though "What a great company to buy into... they treat their staff really well!!!" What a good selling point! I'll have some of that....NOT!!!! The same salesmen said the company would be getting rid of the maltese staff?? Why?? "because they're lazy!!" I found them to be very nice and polite, no problem at all.
The salesmen on the first presentation said he could keep me here for seven hours if he felt like when I said after 4 hours enough is enough..Oh the power!!... Oh the weasel!! He also said "he 'll be OK because he'll be selling resales at half the cost in two years time!! What a great advert for buying into timeshare in the first place!!

Anyway, enough of that. If you can put up with 4 hours of hard sell the holiday is fine and well worth the hassle because you get good quality at a bargain price if on the 'promo' deal.If you want timeshare/good quality hotel it may suit your requirements??.. By the way if you say no they hit you with Option B on another day under the 'guise' of a quality questionnaire...don't be fooled by this one!! Option B - about £3000 is actually not a bad deal if you holiday more than twice a year! I'll not go into that one here, ask about it at the first presentation. I know i have gone on but don't be put off if you are going on a 'promo deal' its worth the money. If you are going on a holiday here and are paying full price of £1350 pppw...DON'T!!!! thats definetly a rip off!!

Top tips:
Ask for a room with a little kitchenette as the restaurants are quite expensive. The cheapest restaurant meal will typically cost £50 for two. For that you get just a main course each and a horrible tasting bottle of house red.
Hire a car for the whole week and drive to and from the airport to save taxi fare which is expensive.
Drink your own soft drinks/beer around the pool. The rooms have a fridge. Typical cost for a pint of lager is Euro 4.70 or £4.70 as the euro is the same as £.
Don't use the Spa tratments...all too expensive.
Drive around the roundabouts if you don't see a sign you need, don't just drive straight on. Quite often the destination you need cannot be seen on entry of the roundabout.

Golden Bay is good if you like a quiet beach resort surrounded by hills. Thereis only two beach snack bars and a very poor quality bar at the top off the hill where bikers gather on a Sunday morning, but this is not a problem! The beach has a bit of seaweed and can at times have a little litter. I found the longer beach at Mellieha Bay cleaner and a bit warmer for some reason? This beach is also very quiet.
Mdina/Mellieha church/village/beach/ Valetta and Comino by speed boat at all a 'must' One week is enough to see all and still relax.
Lastly...HIRE A CAR!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Globeblogger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 9, 2009

We went to this Hotel in early May after 'winning' a Timeshare deal for £129 - this included only the room for the week but not flights.

The Hotel is described as 5 Star and there are some reviews that doubt this grading. The problem with some reviews is that one persons opinion of what is 5 Star may be completely different to another’s - clearly, if you are well rehearsed in staying in true 5 Star Hotels then you would compare this place with them. But, if like us, you rarely get chance to sample such luxury, then you would be impressed by this Hotel.

Some have commented that the Hotel is in need of some repairs - that was not our experience and the condition was absolutely first class, although some points detailed here will explain why we would drop the Star Rating to probably 4 or 4.5!

We arrived as a party of 2 adults and a 6 year old child expecting a Family room or similar. We were allocated a room with 2 x single beds and a soda bed in the lounge. We immediately complained, stating that we were a couple and required a double bed - in any case our 6 yr old would probably stay with us in our bed.

The solution we were given was to push the 2 single beds together and then put a much smaller double mattress on top - I have to say this was not the sort of service I would expect from a '5 Star Hotel' and I had the worst 7 nights of sleep I can ever remember.

The weather was good, the facilities at the Hotel are excellent and the opportunity to relax is superb, although children aren't allowed in the indoor pool after 12 noon which does rather limit your options if you have kids.

The location for views is superb but the choice for eating and shopping is very limited indeed. Unless you want to simply lay by the pool for your Holiday YOU NEED A CAR! The nearest Town is a good 10 minute drive away. The Restaurants in the Hotel are good but very expensive - if you don't have deep pockets I would suggest driving to either St Paul's Bay or Buggiba to eat - much, much cheaper.

As far as the car is concerned, DON'T go with 'Drifter' who are represented at the Hotel - they are expensive, even after one of their 'special rates'. I used Marvic Car Hire and they were cheaper for 5 days with Airport drop off than Drifter were for 3 days without. In addition, Drifter wanted to charge me extra for tyre insurance as it is not automatically included - when you see the state of Maltese roads you will understand why!

Finally, the Timeshare 'presentation'.

We never had any intention of buying a Timeshare but clearly did not disclose this. The presentation took 4 hours but was delivered in a polite, friendly and not at all pushy way by a lady from Wales called 'Mandy'. At the end however, the 'Manager' called Kelvin appeared and he was the most cocky, arrogant and rude person I have met in a long time - even Mandy was shocked at his response when we continued to say 'NO'.

All in all, having to endure a 4 hour chat for what was a cheap break was no problem - if you can deal with the timeshare lot without any problems then grab one of these deals if offered.

If anyone wants any further info you can get me at [--]

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank PaulGWUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 29, 2009

Just returned from a promotional trip. This was our first trip to the area but 5th to Malta. As we normally go to Sliema we thought we would try out the quieter side of the island. The hotel attracted us as there were good self catering facilities-possibly an option to bring grand children in future. Unfortunately the weather was poor -wet , windy or chilly on the cliff top most of the week.
Good points :friendly helpful staff-even the timeshare presentation did not seem over pushy -we were able to say no to the offers without any unpleasantness.
Lovely clean well equipped one bed apartment with sea view-a bargain for £99 for the week. Agliolio Italian type Brasserie provided good servive and food -fish pasta chicken etc. and scrummy deserts - I found the starter portions were more than ample as a main. We didn't get to the fine dining option -menu wasn't to our taste and pricey 100Eur for 2 . Buffet looked good when we walked through -worth it if you can eat for England as some we met did! Afternoon tea and cakes good value for 14 Eur for 2 in Mokka bar.We also used the deli for breakfast items for the room-fresh bread etc. the nearest shop is a mile away uphill so they have a captive audience!The indoor pool ,jacuzzi and steam /sauna were fine although out of order on mens side on one day.Much needed courtesy bus took us to St Julians in the evening and also shorter day trips-no problem booking or timing.Taxi transfers good and efficient through Drifter.
Downside- Situation-bleak if not sunny-not much to do apart from cliff walk, beach (rubbish strewn) , only one reasonable evening entertainment out of 6 . Lots of corporate guests were staying and seemed to take over facilities.Easy to spend a fortune in bar like all 5 star establishments. Strange arrangement with 2 reception areas one of which was dead in evening-a waste of space.Thought the timeshare deals were an extortianate price compared with the one we have in Malta already.Surprised anyone was sucked in! A free internet terminal in reception would have been useful for checking return flight as it was rescheduled without our knowledge which meant long wait at airport!
Personally we wouldn,t return here but obviously plenty do-if you want to chill it is a comfortable place to stay if you can secure a good deal.We needed a bit more life and accessible places to visit so will stick to Valetta /Sliema in future.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank EnglandKentexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 25, 2009

The hotel is not a 5 star it is a standard 4 star in need of some updating in the rooms. The pool area is nice, the reception area and so are the restaurants and staff, we arrived there for a week on one of the promotions for £149- never again, The holiday was ruined by the afternoon spent for approx 4 hours with the timeshare rep who had a hard sell approach with the timeshare, before we arrived we debated buying a timeshare, however the sales rep was so abrupt and direct in his selling we were left feeling very shocked by the unprofessional attitude he showed when we explained we wanted to think about it, he then told us if we left before 4 hours we would be charged £1500 for the week.At the end of the holiday we were told it is a requirement to go back and have to go through a survey on how it went, don't be mistaken it is just another attempt to try and sell, also i noticed he filled out the form without even asking some of the questions like what star would i give the hotel and i noticed he ticked 5 star without even asking me, even though he was alot better than the 4 hour ordeal with the rep the previous day as i was with him for only about half hour. Malta though is quiet but nice, its worth going to the blue grotto and also the silent city mdina, also there is a great large supermarket in Qormi called Pavi.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank starman10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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