Grand Hotel Excelsior
Travelers who head south of Sicily to the 122-square-mile island of Malta go for the mix of cafes and rocky beaches and the incredible Maltese history. The best place to stay? The Grand Hotel Excelsior, which is within walking distance of Valletta, the island’s 16th-century capital city, and the destination’s only luxury hotel. Although the city is known for its stately churches that tower over cozy street cafes, the property itself is more streamlined. The exterior is reminiscent of an all-white cruise ship, and the indoor pool and spa feel like a modern cocoon. Act like a local and forgo the hotel’s private beach in favor of the adjacent Marsamxett Harbour, the departure point for yachting excursions in the Mediterranean.