The Cugó Gran Macina - A Meticulous Restoration Journey from History to Hospitality

In the heart of the picturesque town of Senglea, Malta, a remarkable piece of history stands proudly – the Cugó Gran Macina, a 16th-century gem that once played a crucial role in the maritime activities of the Knights of St. John and which today has been meticulously restored, and transformed into a luxurious boutique hotel – a testament to the dedication of those who recognized its potential and believed in preserving its historical significance.

A Vision Realized

The transformation of Macina into the boutique hotel it is today was spearheaded by Keith Pillow, the founder and creative director of DAAA Haus. Keith’s vision was not only to restore the building but to seamlessly blend its historical charm with modern comforts, creating a unique experience for guests. For seven years, Keith tirelessly worked to find investors who shared his passion, and with their support, DAAA Haus embarked on the monumental task of bringing the Macina back to life.

A Glimpse into History – The Macina’s Legacy

Originally a mast-crane known as ‘il-Maċina,’ the structure’s purpose was to raise and lower masts into galleys. Over the years, it witnessed various uses, from a semaphore signalling station to a naval law enforcement center. The dramatic demolition of its sheers in 1927 marked the end of an era, and post-World War II, the Macina area experienced a decline.

The Restoration Project

The restoration project, led by DAAA Haus and investors Mario Camilleri and Stephen Azzopardi, meticulously navigated the complexities of preserving history while introducing contemporary design elements. Working closely with authorities, the Superintend of Cultural Heritage, and previous architects, the team successfully brought the Macina back to life, respecting its historical authenticity.

Merging Past with Present

DAAA Haus approached the design with great reverence, using a palette of raw natural materials and bespoke furniture to complement the Macina’s unique architecture. Black natural stones, limed oak, marble, slate, lava stone, and Maltese hard stone were chosen to create a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. Each room and corridor received customized furniture, emphasizing the building’s character.

Gastronomy Amid History

Within the Macina’s ancient walls, The Little Bastion Restaurant pays homage to the island’s historical influences. Drawing inspiration from the Phoenician times to the present, the restaurant offers a modern representation of traditional Mediterranean culinary delights. Situated in a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site, the restaurant adds a culinary layer to the Macina’s rich tapestry.

The Macina building’s journey from a forgotten relic to a thriving boutique hotel is a testament to the passion, dedication, and collaborative effort of individuals who recognised its value. As guests now experience the seamless fusion of history and modern luxury, at the Cugó Gran Macina hotel, the Macina stands as a living legacy, inviting guests to immerse themselves in the captivating story of Senglea in Malta.