Entrance (access to a sunbed and umbrella): – €18 for adults and €12 for kids between 3 and 12; €7 for adults and €5 for kids after 3pm
Average spend (for umbrella, sunbed, two drinks and one course): €50
Free access: No
Table (sunbed) service: Yes
Access to the sea: Yes
Pool: Only available to residents of the hotel
Parking: Free parking
Best for: Quiet afternoons away from the crowds, even at the weekend
Stay away if: You’re looking for a party venue
With a population of pretty close to 500,000 and temperatures reaching 35C and beyond, it’s no wonder the beaches are crowded all the time. The only place that seems bearable is indoors with the ACs on full or in the water. However sharing a bathing spot with hundreds of people doesn’t always seem like the relaxing outing you imagined.
Having said that, there are a few spots that still offer some respite from both the crowd and the heat. They usually come at a price though. Either a hefty financial one or a sweaty trek that takes you somewhere few tourists or locals care to venture. The Reef Club at The Westin Dragonara falls in the former category, offering a five-star beach destination to its hotel residents along with day members.
You certainly do get what you pay for at this beach club though. A frazzled search for a parking spot in St Julian’s isn’t the way you’d like to start a relaxing day at the beach and a day at The Reef Club doesn’t have to start like that as a membership entitles you to free parking.
From the minute you step through the gates, you’re greeted with the five-star quality you’d expect from a Westin chain. Smart sun beds and white umbrellas adorn the coast and there are small sheltered alcoves that are perfect if you’re looking after small children or when the days are windy and the sea isn’t perfect for open water swimming.
Though expensive entrance fees may seem like a disadvantage, this keeps the crowds away, ensures you find a bed and keeps the beach quite quiet. Waiters walk around the beach so it’s pretty easy to get drinks or food all the way to your sunbed. You can even check out their menu online and text your order straight to the bar which will then be delivered to your sun bed. If your idea of a great afternoon is one of minimal effort then this is the place to be.
Their menu is pretty basic, offering a selection of fresh salads, sandwiches, burgers, fresh fruit and a kids’ menu. Should you want something a little more sophisticated, Palio’s restaurant overlooks the beach and is frequented by many beach guests. If you’re intending on spending the whole day at the beach then lunch in the shade at the restaurant gives your skin a good break from the intense sunshine.
Cocktails are available and delivered right to your sun bed, however the clientele are not really huge drinkers and with no music to fuel the fire, this isn’t really the kind of place you’d go if you’re planning a party. If you want to feel like you’ve stepped outside of the chaos of the island for an afternoon then this is the place to be.
Address: The Westin Dragonara Resort, Dragonara Road, St Julian’s
Facebook: The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta
Written by Rachel Zammit Cutajar who was too busy doing handstands and having ‘F’ it Fridays to load herself.