Jerma Palace Hotel was once a four-star hotel in Marsaskala, Malta. The hotel was very prestigious, as it was the largest in the south of the island, and was known to be very luxurious.
Jerma Palace Hotel was constructed on a headland named il-Ħamrija, just across the street from Fort Saint Thomas. In 1976, the land was sold to the Libyan Foreign Investment Company, who constructed the hotel and opened it in 1982.
As the Libyan Foreign Investment Company built it, the ex-leader of Libya had his own presidential suite in the hotel.
With the opening of the biggest hotel in the south of Malta, the coast, and especially Marsaskala, were completely transformed. With each year since its opening, what was once a small traditional fishing village began to look and feel more and more like a tourist resort.
However, the prosperity came to an end very suddenly in 2007, when the hotel closed its rooms and suites for guests. The closure was supposed to be temporary. The next year, the hotel was sold to contractors Peter and Jeffrey Montebello from Jefpet Limited for a sum of $21 million.
They had plans for extensive renovations and a grand reopening that were never made a reality. Their next idea in 2009 was to transform the hotel into a luxurious apartment building, add another 5-star hotel to the premises, and build a great yacht marina. The name was to be “Portmaso of the south.” Needless to say, these ideas were also unfruitful.
Today, the state of the once-shining Jerma Palace Hotel is more than sad. It stands derelict and neglected, some parts have collapsed and other parts await their turn to crumble. The insides have been completely stripped of anything of value. There are no carpets, no marble floors, and no stair handles left; even the tiles and bricks have been removed by looters.
Most of the walls have been extensively covered in graffiti, which ranges from simple tags to full-scale works of art. Several police reports state that on many occasions squatters have been chased out of the hotel, and it is no secret that the site is a popular meeting place for drug addicts.
On top of this, the hotel is littered with huge amounts of garbage. Jerma Palace has become a big illegal dumping ground. Locals are disposing of their garbage, debris, and other needless things around and even inside the hotel. Several fires have damaged the hotel in the last few years, caused by the rubbish catching fire.
Just two years ago, new plans for redevelopment of the site were made. The plans included two residential buildings, one 32 and the other 44 stories high, with an additional 22-story hotel in the vicinity.
However, the plans were not passed by the Marsaskala local council, who said, “the council is opposed to any application which includes the development of apartments.” Following their decision, the Planning Authority ordered the owners of the hotel to demolish what was left of it. The same day the order was given, another fire broke out and demolition was put on hold.
The site of Jerma Palace Hotel is valued at $24 million and was intended to be sold by a judicial auction at the end of 2016. Alternatively, the cost of demolishing the buildings was estimated at around $1.8 million.
Neither path was successful yet again. The most recent idea for the site, which is supported by the local council, is for a 13-story hotel with an additional apartment complex. The plans would include a 12,558 sq yard public park around the iconic Saint Thomas Tower.