Updated: Feb 13, 2018
Exclusive interview with Dirk Hili, Co-Director of La Falconeria Hotel, Valletta. Malta
Malta has always been on the bucket list of the world’s adventurers: while it may be inappropriate to suggest the Knights of St John were ‘tourists’, much of what they built still stands today and draws in visitors and admirers alike to our beautiful islands. From Mdina to Valletta, and many areas in between, history is living side by side with modern life.
The wide range of visitors to Malta - with many different needs, tastes, requirements and expectations - has led Maltese entrepreneurs to tailor their offers to the discerning traveller. And if that describes you, then you need to meet Dirk Hili and experience La Falconeria in all its beauty and grace.
October is a beautiful month in Malta and in the chic and sophisticated courtyard of ‘La Falconeria’, TEMPLE magazine had the opportunity to meet Dirk and find out more. Charming and enthusiastic – it’s easy to see the passion Dirk has for his hotel, (alongside his sister and fellow director Bianca Anastasi), and why he is so excited about the prospect of a new and discerning visitor to Valletta.
Visitors are looking for an ‘experience’: they expect comfort and luxury in a boutique offer. Little touches that differentiate the hotel from its competitors are key. In addition to the beautiful bedrooms, guest can enjoy a highly acclaimed restaurant, a state of the art fitness room and an underground tranquil pool. Style, design, quality and service are givens: but add the magic that makes a place special and feel like it was built for you - this is how La Falconeria emerged onto the Valletta scene and why it attracts aspirational and discerning clientele.
Being based in Valletta, says Dirk, is certainly an advantage. His guests are cultured travellers who prefer small, chic and cool rather than the cookie cutter option. La Falconeria also tends to attract business travellers who find that being in the heart of the city has obvious advantages.
Dirk clearly loves Valletta. He’s proud of his beautiful hotel and how it has played an important part in the regeneration of the city in recent years.
He references Kraków, a Polish city known for its well-preserved medieval core and remnants of its city walls:
‘This city could be a benchmark for Valletta’, he says. ‘. Lots of small niche hotels, a beautifully renovated old town, fully pedestrianised and 21st century technology’. . He believes that with the foresight, effort and regeneration created for Valletta European City of Culture 2018, that this is happening right now.
To Dirk, the cultural and historical offerings of Malta are huge draws.
‘Valletta, Mdina and our prehistoric temples are world renowned sites and should be celebrated as such. ‘Placing ‘La Falconeria Hotel’ in the centre of Valletta was inevitable’’ he comments. In addition, our theatre, music, arts, culture and upmarket shopping outlets are all worthy of a 21st century capital and continue to develop all the time. The improvement in variety, style and quality of dining in the last five years is staggering.
For example, L'Artiglio, Dirk's restaurant, run by head chef Janine Camilleri, is in new style and already a hit with both locals and visitors who rave about it online.
Ever the entrepreneur, Dirk is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to grow his business. For him Malta’s potential lies in exploring niche tourism even further. Dirk’s latest project is developing a new super-luxury boutique hotel - ‘Palais Le Brun’; a 28-room hotel in a magnificent building in Old Bakery Street which will open to the public in April 2018. With this hotel comes the very best of the Baroque. It is in every way ‘Valletta’, it is also, as it happens, ‘in every way’ Dirk Hili! Thank you Dirk and we wish you the very best with your future projects.
62, Melita Street, Valletta, Malta
+356 2247 6600
Published TEMPLE Magazine 2017/18
Copyright: Temple Concierge Ltd.
Images: Brian Grech and La Falconeria