Your love of hospitality has found fertile ground in AX Group's projects. What have been your achievements these past years?
When I was little it was all about construction and I never imagined myself staying in the family business. But when my father opened AX Sunny Coast and AX Seashells at Suncrest, I just fell in love with hospitality. There is nothing like it. I always tell the story that the receptionists at the hotels were practically my babysitters as I spent all my childhood there. From giving the keys to the guests to then many years later managing hotels, I have come to love every aspect of the hotel environment.
Today I couldn’t be prouder. We specialize in the four- and five-star segment and have seven targeted properties, each with its own identity. Our AX Sunny Coast and AX Seashells are resorts typically for families and those enjoying leisure. Then we have AX Victoria, AX The Palace and AX Palazzo Capua are our city hotels. Our latest additions are boutique and five-star properties in Valletta, with AX Saint John and Rosselli. That means that today, we manage one of the largest local chain on the island.
As the largest local hotel chain, with six properties and a seventh opening, what is your contribution to the local sector?
All of our products add value to the market, as opposed to competing on a same level to eat up more of the existing share. We strive to reach a new audience each time. Take Cheeky Monkey, for instance – today we have two outlets in Qawra and Valletta, with a creperie coming up soon. The concept is a relaxed, cheeky, maybe even a provocative brand where people feel comfortable and easy. The same goes for our revamped Luzzu – it’s a go-to place for young families with kids. Our latest project is the AX The Saint John – a boutique hotel in Valletta for the independent, smart traveller who wants everything digital and who needs everything to be ready at the tip of their fingers, just one click of a button away.
Each venture is identifying an unanswered need in the market. That is our way of adding value to the hospitality and entertainment sector.
Likewise we are reaching a new market with Rosselli. Here we want to actually go after the experiential traveller. This is the kind of traveller who visits a particular hotel – in our case, Rosselli, and not necessarily the country. We aim to provide everything the guest might need within the property itself.
With this new property, I also wanted to reintroduce good, honest hospitality
What is the concept of Rosselli?
Rosselli is located in Valletta in one of the most prestigious old palazzos on Merchant Street. For many a meaningful reference is the old PWC offices. From now on we wish it will be referred to only as Rosselli. It will be the first five-star luxury hotel in Valletta. The former house of a reputable goldsmith and outstanding philanthropist, today Rosselli pays tribute to the owner of this property by carrying his name. It’s a flawless combination between traditional and contemporary, a fusion of an eclectic collection of styles that cross boundaries between art and design.
This is a very unique property. It is a cut above the rest and we actually designed a separate category for this called AX Privilege. The service complements the offering, and this has been designed to provide the ultimate attention – we want our guests to feel privileged to stay at Rosselli.
With this new property, I also wanted to reintroduce good, honest hospitality, with complementary technology and modern processes and procedures. Hotels are removing the human element with electronic check-ins and everything managed through the internet-of-things. Even one of our hotels is designed that way. But as mentioned before we create products for particular audiences and we are always after new audiences that we can target directly.
We want to run this hotel the way the hotels were ran back in the day so with Rosselli we have introduced the butler service making personal attention the forefront of the service provided.
How important is it that Rosselli is located in Malta’s capital?
We have targeted Valletta a decade ago, and we were constantly on the lookout for the best possible property that would suit our plans. So much so that only a couple of years ago we found what we wanted. We signed two deals on the same day – one in the morning for AX The Saint John and one in the evening for Rosselli.
It’s very important that Rosselli is in Valletta, because there is no other five-star product within the city wall and we wanted to add value to our capital.
The hotel also has a restaurant on three levels. What is the concept?
It’s a three-level restaurant within our hotel. Each level will follow a different concept but it will be all under one brand. So although you would be going to the same restaurant you can experience different level of service, various cuisines and individual ambiance. All I can say is that we have a tailor in-house. The rest is for you to discover.
We open in a month and hope to see you there.
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