Grumpy Camel


Staying at Palazzo Bettina in Birgu

Are you looking for hotels in Birgu?

Palazzo Bettina is a four-star boutique hotel housed in a 17th-century building. My husband and I spent a couple of days here, and we loved it. And I think you would, too.

So, I thought I’d write a feature about Palazzo Bettina, highlighting the best features of the hotel – with plenty of photos!

Note: I was not paid to write this review, or compensated in any other way. Our stay at Palazzo Bettina was actually a birthday present from my husband – we love playing tourists in our home country.

Some interesting facts about Palazzo Bettina

Palazzo Bettina is a boutique hotel that opened in 2023. It’s located in the heart of Birgu, right next to the Church of St. Lawrence.

The hotel is housed in a 17th-century palace, with bare limestone walls, high beamed ceilings, and an inner courtyard.

The palace was once owned by a lady-in-waiting to the queen of Naples: Elizabeth Dorell, known as Lady Bettina.

After her death in 1829, the palace was given to St Emily de Vialar who turned it into a convent.

In the second half of the 19th century, the palace served as a British military hospital. It was later used by Dun Ġorġ Preca, Malta’s first saint, as the seat for the Society of Christian Doctrine.

Before World War II, the building was split into tenements. It was severely damaged during the war, but it remained inhabited up until the 1980s.

After that, the palace fell into ruin.

In 2017, it was finally bought by a family with experience in renovating old buildings, and soon Palazzo Bettina became the eighth hotel in the IBB Hotel Collection portfolio.

What we loved about Palazzo Bettina

We stayed at Palazzo Bettina in mid-January, so the hotel was very quiet. Even Birgu was peaceful – in fact, if you want to avoid the crowds, January is the best time to visit Malta.

So, if you’re looking for Birgu Malta hotels, here’s what makes Palazzo Bettina an amazing option.

The room

The owners of the palace did a great job at retaining the building’s original features, while incorporating modern commodities.

The rooms feature bare stone walls and high ceilings with wooden beams. Depending on the room you book, you might get a wee balcony and views of the harbour.

Our room came with a closet, a wee bathroom, and a mini bar. The bed was big and comfy, and despite the high ceiling, we didn’t feel cold at night.

The courtyard

Like many 17th century palaces, Palazzo Bettina has an inner courtyard, with chambers built around it.

The courtyard is sheltered, so if you’re visiting in summer, you can cool off in the shade of the stone walls.

There are small tables and chairs, as well as a cozy lounge area.

The courtyard is lit up at night, so you can enjoy a romantic meal and drink.

The rooftop pool and jacuzzi

Our favourite thing about Palazzo Bettina has to be the rooftop area. You get stunning views over the harbour and neighbouring Isla.

Palazzo Bettina Birgu view from roof
The view from the Palazzo Bettina’s rooftop area. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

The rooftop has a pool and jacuzzi, with sunbeds and chairs. Towels are also available.

The pool isn’t heated, but the jacuzzi is. And if you’re visiting in winter, you can still enjoy the rooftop on a nice warm day.

The location

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Malta, Birgu is one of them.

Known also as Vittoriosa, Birgu is an old harbour city that played a key role in the great siege of 1565 against the Ottomans, and later in the Second World War.

Fort St. Angelo and the Grand Harbour.
Fort St. Angelo and the Grand Harbour. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

It’s one of the Three Cities, the other two being Isla (Senglea) and Bormla (Cospicua).

Palazzo Bettina is embedded in the charming streetscape of Birgu. It’s right next to the Church of St. Lawrence, which is one of the oldest parishes in Malta.

The main square is a corner away, and the waterfront is on the other side of the road.

Birgu Main Square
Birgu’s main square. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Birgu is quite a compact city, so every attraction is just a few corners away. You’ll also find several cafes in the surrounding streets.

One of the best things to do in Birgu is to simply wander the streets. Also, make sure to check out the Inquisitor’s Palace and Fort St. Angelo.

A few tips about staying at Palazzo Bettina Birgu

Finally, I wanted to share some tips about staying at Palazzo Bettina.


The hotel is located in an alley with steps. If you have mobility issues, it might be a little difficult to get to.

However, the hotel does have a lift, and if you’re getting taxi, it can drop you off at the bottom of the steps. The receptionists are very helpful, so they may be able to make arrangements for you.


Palazzo Bettina does a buffet breakfast. At the time of writing, this costs around 18 EUR per person.

Unless you have a large appetite in the morning, this can be a little pricey. In fact, I opted out of the breakfast as a coffee is usually enough for me.

If you’d rather have breakfast elsewhere, you can head to one of the cafes on the square. There’s also Cafe Riche, just outside the main city gate.

They have a lovely courtyard and serve variety of snacks, including bagels, salads, and traditional English breakfast.

Visiting in summer

Summer is festa season in Malta. Every parish church celebrates its patron saint with fireworks, marching bands, and other events.

Palazzo Bettina is located right next to the Church of St. Lawrence, which celebrates its feast in August. If you’re staying at the hotel during festa week, expect a lot of loud bangs and music.

Palazzo Bettina

This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission on any purchases made through the links in the post at no extra cost to you.

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