Forgotten Festaval Tourist Village in Mellieha
I never realized how many abandoned, yet beautiful buildings can one find in Malta. Here is another one to the collection of abandoned places I’ve visited – the Festaval Hotel.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s Festival, not Festaval, but the opposite is true. Even though it’s marked on GoogleMaps as Festival Hotel an some local articles named it ‘Festival Hotel’ – the full name is actually ‘Festaval Tourist Village’.
Who is ready to learn more?
This abandoned building, located just underneath the Red Tower in Mellieha, is almost entirely covered by trees and bushes. It’s hard to imagine that this neglected structure was once upon a time a successful holiday complex. It opened 1980 and functioned for about 12 years. In 1993 an application was submitted by AX Holdings to refurbish the hotel, but was withdrawn.
In 2017 and 2018 new plans were submitted, proposing a demolition and redevelopment of the abandoned hotel. The 2017 plans stated that it would turn into a holiday complex offering twelve apartments with pools, 1,600 square meter spa, recreational area, conference room etc. In 2018 the plans changed and instead it was proposed to construct 23 villas. The North West Local Plan is rather strict regarding such redevelopment. Fast forward to 2021 and nothing has changed.
Currently the building is in a very pitiful and dangerous state. Please be very cautious if you decide to give it a visit. We’ve entered from one of these windows, but it’s much safer to follow the path, which will lead you to the ground level and offers you an easy access to the site.
The author of Festaval Tourist Village is Richard England – a Maltese architect, writer, artist and academic. Just to mention a few, Richard England also designed Church of St Joseph in Mellieha, Central Bank of Malta in Valletta, Dar il-Hanin Samaritan in Santa Venera, St Francis of Assisi Church in Qawra, University of Malta, Millennium Chapel in Paceville and so much more.
If you really like England’s work or are particularly interested in the Festaval Tourist Village I would recommend you borrow this book: ‘Connections: The Architecture of Richard England, 1964-84‘ by Charles Knevitt. It’s available the University of Malta library. It features drawings, clear descriptions of the site and photos from its construction.
There was a total of 31 one-, two- and three-bedroom self-catering apartments. The roof of one level of apartments forms the terrace of the one above. On the layout plan you can also notice that there was a mini-market shop, club house & bar and a swimming pool.
If you walk though the corridors now, you will feel like in a horror movie. I don’t know about you, but I find these corridors with the light coming though the sides super creepy. The fact that it’s falling into pieces just adds to the spooky feel.
I can only imagine it during its prime time. Guests coming up those corridors and walking up the stairways chatting and laughing and in a blink of an eye there is nothing left.
The Festaval Hotel, as many other abandoned places in Malta and around the world, turned into a playground for street artists. Dozens of cool murals and countless graffiti ‘decorate’ the deteriorating walls.
While walking though the ruins one can clearly see that nature is taking back what once used belong to her. Tree branches, bushes and other wide plans are swallowing the structure. In a way, bringing it back to life. It’s just conforms that nature is the most powerful force.
The views are pretty amazing – overlooking Mellieha Bay and Ghadira Nature Reserve (both are worth visiting).
If you like street art and colourful murals, the Festaval Tourist Village is a huge outdoor gallery showcasing many talents but unfortunately also a lot of vandalism too.
Now were are entering what once used to be a clubhouse with an outside pool and terrace. I didn’t manage to find any indoor pictures of the clubhouse or the self-catering apartments. If you happen to have any, please share them with us, so we can see what it used to look like.
This is the end of our time at the Festaval Tourist Village. It’s often wrongly refereed as Festaval Hotel or even Festival Hotel. I hope you enjoyed this photo blog. If you have any information or photos that you would like to share please let me know if the comments below.