46 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Dolmen- Great hotel, Great staff, Great Diving, disappointing location.
"My fiance and I (ages 25 & 28) have just returned from the Dolmen Resort, after a 17 day stay. I was very nervous about this holiday as I would usually go to Greece for my holidays, and did not know what to expect for Malta at all. Upon arrival to the country we were quickly placed on to our air conditioned coach to take us to the hotel. Whilst driving through Malta and other resorts I started to get a little concerned. The country looked very crammed and busy, and very very dry; I couldnât spot any green lush lands at all, but that is just a personal preference for me.
We arrived at our hotel and were taken aback. It looked very large and official. Basically I thought it was going to be too posh for us! We were checked in rapidly, which was great considering the temperatures were nearing the 30s (June 5th). As we travelled through the large hotel to our room I was delighted with how clean and nice the place looked.
Before we travelled I contacted the hotel and requested a high floor, sea view room on the renovated side of the hotel. To my delight we had all apart from the sea view. The room was perfect (402), it was neat, clean, stylish, cosy, and had a flat screen TV with film channels if required. The only down side was the air-conditioning. It was free, but it was controlled by the hotel and would only get switched to proper air con at certain times of the day, therefore you could have it switched on in your room all day, but it wouldn't be blowing out cold air until they decided it was time to. I would rather pay for it for the duration and control it myself.
Moving on, we went for a walk around the hotel grounds, and were astonished by its enormity. There are four outside pools, 2 of which are next to the sea, with beautiful views (but they are salt water pools), the other 2 are closer to the hotel itself, one of which has a pool bar, these 2 pools are normal fresh water pools. We preferred the pool with the bar in it. This pool seemed to be the one that had the most fun with the hotels animation team working hard to entertain its residents. Sylvain is the main barman at the pool bar, and he is a wonderful friendly man, who makes cracking cocktails.
We were half board so had breakfast and an evening meal. I can honestly say I wasnât disappointed with the food at all. There was always a variety on offer, and was very tasty. The only negative thing about the food hall were the big groups of German tourists who reserved the tables by the windows with the sea views, and would show up at the beginning of the sitting and utilise the free wine all evening. Many of us other residents (British, although we were few and far between amongst the German & Russians), felt quite annoyed at the hotel arranging this, as we would have liked to have eaten in those spots at least once or twice. It felt very unfair.
As for Bugibba itself, It is a busy resort with a beautiful sea view. There arenât really many sandy bays in the country and its mainly rocky all around the island, so we'd recommend purchasing sea shoes to walk in to the sea. The resort doesnât really offer much nightlife, its mainly restaurants all along the sea front with a bars more inland, but due to the dates we were there they all had football on, very loud and on large screens all over the place. We would have liked to have found a bar with live music in which you could have met other couples alike and have a laugh, but Bugibba seemed to lack these, it wasn't until our last day that someone told us that we would need to go to St Julians for any of that. The resort very much had a feel that it catered more for the over 60s, and/or families, and mainly Germans/Russians/French.
The Dolmen has its own club called Amizonia- the terrace part was where we drank most evenings due to its view and friendly barmen (Angelo & Mario), only downside was that the club wasn't open at all, they claimed that this was due to the football being on.
We hired scooters for 6 days whilst out there and found some really beautiful parts of Malta, and also went over to Gozo on them via the ferry. This would be a lot of fun, we would site see for a few hours on the scooter, which was bumpy to say the least, and then stop for a bit of snorkelling (which is a must in Malta, it is beautiful water with lots of fish). The water is very salty out there so you float very easily. I would recommend going to Blue Grotto, Valetta, Sliema (Malta), Azure window & the inland sea(Gozo).
The water park in Malta is a bit of a waste of time and isnât very clean.
The trips to Blue lagoon are extremely disappointing. There were so many boat trips there that once you arrived in the tiny area you could hardly move, plus due to the winds, the water was filled with jelly fish.
We also utilised the diving club attached to the hotel and did the open water course. Alex (he is Russian but likes to call himself international due to all the languages he speaks) was great! He was an amazing instructor and never failed to make us laugh.
Although I have outlined the negative elements of our stay, and some positives, I can still say that I found the hotel amazing. My fiance got sick on the last day and was not allowed to fly and the hotel were superb, they kept us in the same room for another two nights, and a different one for the last night, and provided us with breakfast. The maid who cleaned our room was also so friendly and funny.
The hotel did everything they could possibly do to make the place a great place to stay, my negative opinions are ones that they couldnât control. Although I was disappointed that the evening entertainment seemed to commence the day after we left, which was mainly to do with football though.
If considering going to Malta I would highly recommend this hotel. If choosing a holiday and usually like Greece for its tranquillity by day, green lush mountainous land, beautiful bays, then I would reconsider Malta as a holiday. We would only go back to see the people we met out there and the hotel, not for the country itself. It seems to be a very rich country in parts, with the odd Lamborghini/Ferrari cruising around the place, and more yachts than you can imagine. It is also pretty expensive to drink/eat out there.
- Travel date: Sun 1st of July 2012
Perfect holiday / wedding destination
"When i arrived at the Dolmen i was nervous !!,I had never been to Malta before, we had booked for two weeks on a bed and breakfast basis ( we prefer to try different restaurants ) , we were also getting married at the Dolmen so i was feeling slightly apprehensive to say the least !! The staff were excellent although very busy on reception as we had other guests arriving at different times and days , the rooms they all stayed in were all clean and well presented. Our room was large , very modern and had fantastic views over the bay , Food was fantastic , could not fault it . The manager of the hotel showed us round the whole hotel and went through the whole marriage procedure, we choose where we wanted the ceremony, which restaurant we wanted our reception in ( we choose the Batabulan terrace grill ) a decked outside venue overlooking the sea , Norbert ( manager ) catered for our every need ! We were very happy with local food venues, reasonable prices, Swimming pool was great , nice cafe /bar by the pool to have coffee e.c.t or you could go in the pool with the swim up bar which was brilliant ! the spa was very nice too. In the evening you could take the 10 min stroll to the square and visit different bars, or you could try your luck in the casino at the Dolmen !Or if your feeling really brave you could get a taxi to Paceville and dance the night away , All in all a safe, wonderful place to go .. I am definitely going back . Our Party of people's ages ranged between 5 and 60 ! every single one of them wants to go back , something to do for everyone ! "
- Travel date: Thu 31st of May 2012
"Just back from a weeks holiday in this hotel. Was under the impression I had booked a room with a sea/pool view but was given a room which looked out onto 2 propane tanks and a steel shuttered door and the light was almost non-existent. Thomas Cook did not inform me that we had to upgrade when we arrived if we wanted the sea/pool view, this cost us 168 euros, which we we had not expected. The new room on the 4th floor was great, 2 double beds and a wonderful view. The staff were really nice and friendly EXCEPT for the reception staff, they were dismissive and rude. The ladies toilets in the reception area were always revolting, I will not go into detail! Everywhere else was spotless. The food was sometimes very good, sometimes ok, but never bad. The spa was wonderful as was the prices of drinks, snacks etc. Perhaps pushing it to call it a 4star, a little more effort needed here."
- Travel date: Wed 11th of April 2012
Not that impressed
"My husband and i have just returned from m
Malta staying for 28 nights at the Dolman and to be quite honest was not a very good stay.
The first room we were given on the 3rd floor was dark and didn't get any sun during the day it was very drab and needed an uplift of some sort.We asked if we could move to another room with a bit of sun which was allowed but still on the 3rd floor and still needing refurbishment.
The rooms are nothing like the adverts on the internet.We were woken most mornings at 7am to the sound of furniture scraping across the ceiling and this went on throughout the day until 5-5-30pm.We did ask the staff at the desk about it but they were not very helpful and did nothing to help.The toilet broke after first flush we were sent a handyman who said he had fixed it only to find when you flush it would not stop filling up so he had to get another handyman to fix it.The food is nothing like the adverts it is all in metal containers and most of the time not very hot.I do not understand why any of the potatoes that were cooked had to be overpowered with seasoning eg to much thyme,mustard
star annaise and cinnamon not once in all the time we were there did we just get plain potatoes,the chicken was all bones and not much meat and the beef was tough,we had to get cutlery ourselves as most tables were not set.The breakfast was not to bad although the same food every morning like most hotels..We were very annoyed on the last week we were there as there was a convention being held with over 500 people attending which meant every time we went down for breakfast or dinner there we not any room.We had to go and eat outside the hotel at our own expense.There was no organisation on behalf of the hotel while this convention was on so we had to fend for ourselves.
The location is ideal for the bus service (that is when they have sorted there service out they have just changed to arriva buses so the routes have changed.On asking for a timetable we were told that they don't know themselves as they keep changing the routes)We have stayed in other hotels in Malta with a smaller star rating and found the service better.
We will not be going back to this hotel again."
- Travel date: Sun 5th of February 2012
Staff Neglecting Duties
"Thought the hotel was a very clean and the staff pretty welcoming in my first few days
Unfortunately, their reputation was tarnished since on my last night there I was subjected to loud stereo booming from a party on the floor above me between 10pm till 4am. The occupents above were loud, abraisive, and aggresively drunk. You would expect this in Blackpool and not Malta - it was like a flippin' air raid was taking place it was so loud
Phoned reception to complain, but the operator sheepishly stuck up for them stating " they are only celebrating because they won " - after telling him I don't care what they do, just turn the noise down. This never happened. Myself and partner had to endure this nonsense from above and practically managed to muster up 2 hours kip before we had to check out
3 times I phoned reception and they did NOTHING at all. Service was a joke !! When I handed my card in morning, I was wondering why they never asked " did you enjoy your stay "
If you ever plan a trip here, make sure it's not during a pool championship "
- Travel date: Wed 2nd of March 2011
Maybe - Maybe Not
"Just arrived back from Malta and the Dolmen Hotel.
Not really impressed with it, the first room offered was on the 3rd floor but it was substandard and we insisted on a room that was in the newish 'D' block. !!!!!!
The self service evening restuarant was similar to 'jostle-as-we-go'.
The pools area were okay but with limited umbrellas.
The reception staff seemed were helpful but under a lot of pressure from other guests.
I would not call it a 4* more a 3*."
- Travel date: Sun 10th of October 2010
Good but disastrous dinner.
"Our room was very nice and clean and the facilities were good apart from weak water pressure in the shower and not a very clear TV reception. The view was nice apart from a few obstacles. The swimming pools and bars were good and it's a good location next to the beach. However, the dinner was a disaster as you only get one hour for it so everyone is rushing and you're trying to eat as quickly as possible to manage which is a very unpleasant experience."
- Travel date: Tue 7th of September 2010
"I cant understand all the negative reviews. Hubby and I loved this hotel. Found all staff helpful and polite. Bar staff really nice and friendly as was reception staff. Was there early May. hotel quiet and had practically whole pool areas to ourselves. Had a nice room. very clean with good maid service. Found the fridge in bedroom particularly useful also hairdryer. Air condition was adequate but not spectacular.
Food was really good plenty of choice and variety, never any chips, always nice roast or creamed potatoes.
Would definitely go back to this hotel, especially as it is situated right on sea in Bugibba and just round corner from bus station. Buses really regular and go all over island for about 1 euro!! Loved Malta, loved Dolmen recommend it."
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of May 2010
Excellent International Spa hotel
"As usual I have read the previous reviews and am truly surprised by the nature and the credability of those written in the negative. The Dolmen hosts significant international conferences, frequently hosted by government ministers and offers a quality of service and presentation that one would associate with such. Negative comments on malta have no place in a hotel review, nor should reviewers simply grade because they did not have the patience to pursue a problem at high season with a little reasonableness; my view is that these comments should be disregarded, the negative comments I have seen on this particular hotel frankly fail to convince as credible.
The hotel is well positioned with a sheltered garden area-housing -uniquely-one of the 25 six thousand year old stone built temples-the earliest free standing architect on the planet and for which the archipeligo of malta is truly famous. From the two pools and brasserie area there are uninterupted views of St Pauls Bay, the Selmun Palace and the Gozitan skyline. The two outdoor pools are divided by one for the use of families and one for serious swimmers-one is available in the low season, and in the internal spa area in addition to well considered beauty and pampering treatments there is another pool, two jacuzzi, well equipped gym and sauna.
Sea view rooms all share the same view as the pool areas, with excellent balcony arrangements; landward rooms have fair views and the cost differential reasonably reflects this; an upgrade can be obtained at check-in. Rooms are modern and well presented with efficient aircon, good bathroom layout, safe, flat screen tv and minibar and efficient room service and housekeeping.
The reception is an attractive open marble floored area, with ample meeting and seating points and efficient and friendly reception staff. Off this leads the main dining room, a second coffee and light meal dining area facing poolward, and a high end specialist restaurant- the sybele; there are two separate bar areas, and offices for holiday reps; above are the conference facilities which are amongst the best on malta.
The main restaurant offers a self service buffet with three servery areas; a good breakfast choice with a variety of cooked and cold elements; lunch and supper has a well rotated menu of meat fish and vegetarian choices which extend from traditional Malti through Chinese and Thai to modern cuisine with skillful control of freshness and consistency. The wine choice is reasonably priced. The Sybele offers fine dining in a more intimate restaurant format, and the brasserie will provide light meals and good coffee through the day and evening.
If you wish for evening entertainment there is much on offer-in both summer and winter season, and lots of daytime activity for adults and children. There are often special events relating to traditionl music, food and wine tasting, and an absorbing range of complimentary therapies in the spa area. There is a good mini internet cafe, and front reception staff will happily handle fax and printing processes. There are good accessability arrangements throughout the hotel.
A modern well presented and highly efficient hotel with excellent management for which I have the highest regard; I have stayed there regularly for twenty years with never a complaint other than for this year when sadly the hotel hosted an event for a scottish junior football training session whose tutors' concept of a healthy sporting lifestyle appear to comprise drinking solidly from 6pm until 2.30 am, fail miserably to gain entry to their rooms without brawling and then keep the floor awake for the remainder of the night throwing up. As I explained to the management the problem I had was not with them, but with their guests. The whole matter was dealt with swiftly, politely and effortlessly- the test of a good hotel!
- Travel date: Thu 28th of January 2010
"First time in Malta.... Was'nt impressed.... Country lovely, People lovely, Hotel! Well what can I say. Was'nt given the room i had paid for, felt as though i could'nt complain because of the rude and unhelpful staff on the reception desk. Don't accept room 204... Worst room in the building. Toilet broke twice, then continued to fill the tank for what seemed like hours on end sounding like a strangled cat. The food was good but not to my taste. On a good note though the spa was excellent. Never had such a great massage and facial. Wow could have spent hours in there."
- Travel date: Sun 15th of November 2009
4star dolmen!!?? not
"unfortunately, i have a very disappointing complaint to make. i did not spend one night at the Dolmen hotel out of our 5 night stay. upon checking in and getting the keys to our room, we found we had been given a dark and rather miserable room, not like the pictures shown on the internet, on the ground floor. i had, on booking the hotel with travel republic, specifically asked for a room on the 3rd floor and above as i was travelling with another female and ground floor rooms do not make us feel at ease. this ground floor room literally was on the ground- facing the tennis courts, which was our only view! and people could literally walk past us on our balcony and taken our towels etc if they had wished. as we stepped out on the balcony, 2 men walked past us and said something, im guessing, in maltese to us which made us feel quite intimidated. if we had stayed in that room, we would have had to have kept the curtains closed whilst we got dressed or spent any time in the room as any passer by could have had a view of us in our room. i immediately went to reception to ask for another room and to explain that as 2 female travellers we did not feel safe being so literally on the ground floor- hence asking for a room on the 3rd floor and above. i had even previously e-mailed travel republic to ask if there was any chance we could upgrade to a suite room to ensure we had a happy and relaxed holiday- to which i was informed that none were available.
i was told by the receptionist to come back the follwing day to see what they had available as there was nothing available. i was not expecting to be given another room the next day as i had previously e-mailed travel republic and asked to be upgraded and was told that the hotel had no rooms free to do this.
as there was no other option at this point, we went out. we got chatting to a member of staff in an apartment hotel up the road and asked them- in jest if they had any vacancies. They told us they did- to which they were very hospitable and showed us a vacant room on the 4th floor. they even offered us a discounted price to book the room- saving us 50 euros. After debating about what to do, we decided to pay and check into in order for us to feel secure, relaxed and able to enjoy our holiday.
on returning to the dolmen to check out- we informed the same receptionist of our intentions. she proceeded to speak to another member of staff who asked me what the problem was. i explained our situation and he asked me if we wanted him to check the availability of any rooms!! i explained that we were told earlier that there was no availability until the following day possibly and we had been told to come back then. he again asked if we wanted him to check for us and i explained that it was too late and we had decided to check into somewhere else- where we felt relaxed and safe in. he explained to me that i had already paid for the room-which i was aware of but i explained that i would rather pay somewhere else and feel safe than stay in the room we had been allocated. he could not say anymore really and at this point, we were given our key and checked out immediately.
i am extremely annoyed at having to do this but safety and welfare is of great paramount whilst holidaying in another country and especially for 2 females travelling together.i am also annoyed at the lack of concern from the female receptionist who simply told us to come back the following day and see if another room was available. We had saved for this holiday and we simply wanted to chill out and relax on our holiday. this was something we could not do at the dolmen and i am very annoyed at having to pay for the time that we did pay for. i expect that the hotel may not be too concerned about us checking out on the same day that we checked in and they may have got the room booked again( gaining more money).
we are now out of pocket for having to check into another hotel to feel safe there- something we did not feel in the dolmen. i am not they type of person to kick off and make a huge fuss anywhere- instead i prefer to try to make the situation better- even if it has to cost me financially. i would rather have the financial cost than feel uneasy in any situation.
i booked the dolmen hotel because of the pictures i have seen, compliments written about it and the fact that it was a 4 star hotel, which looked very appealing on its website. unfortunately, we do not feel that we received very good customer service and when a glimmer of it was shown, it was too late. i am looking for some kind of compensation for this inconvenience and the fact that i needed to check into another hotel to feel safe. i feel that it is very unfair that we were fobbed off at the dolmen as if our concerns, safety and welfare did not matter.
i am happy with the service i received from travel republic and have no complaints about booking another holiday with them. i will be e-mailing the hotel about this situation and hope that they understand and appreciate our concerns and annoyance at feeling that we had to move due to circumstances beyond our control
- Travel date: Sun 8th of November 2009
As expected For Malta
"This is a simple honest review of this Hotel. This is Malta and not the UK.
I am well travelled throughout the world with both work and pleasure and fed up with out of context reviews.
Having been to Malta several times 27 years ago we knew where the Dolmen was and probably what to expect. We were spot on.
We got a hotel that is typical of Malta. The attention to detail of the building and general standard of accomadation is lacking although exceptable. The same goes for virtually everything else. Quality of food was very good ( Wife in in the catering business). Presentation was good but not exceptional, food type was varied with 4 alternatives of malteses style. Not to everyones taste but your in Malta so eat Maltese food!!. Always found something we liked. Drink prices were reasonable for hotel of this type. Facilities were fine. Staff were exceptional in there helpfulness and presentation. Talk to the Maltese in the right way and they are among the friendliest in the world.
I do however agrre with one reviewer, If you arrive on a early flight your room will not be ready, this is not unusual. However no attempt to look after you is made. I have complained to both Thomas Cook and the Dolmen. I would normally expect free drinks and a room to change.
Basically if you want a well situated good value hotel and are prepared to be a bit Maltese in your food etc. This is for you. Swimming pools not good for non swimmers.
Couples who want a relaxed holiday in a good resort.
Not suitable for:-
Groups of teenagers after a wild time. ( But Malta isn't generally)
I intend to use this hotel again."
- Travel date: Wed 9th of September 2009