Public exhibition of vision for new Comino Hotel and Bungalows

HV Hospitality, the hospitality subsidiary of Hili Ventures, is holding an exhibition of its plans for the new Comino Hotel and Bungalows to share its conscientious vision for the project from April 22 to May 9, 2023.

The exhibition, entitled ‘Comino Hotel Reimagined – A Sustainable Vision’ is open to the public at the Girolamo Cassar Hall at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The new hotel and bungalows have been designed for visitors to experience Comino in total harmony with the island,” Lead Architect Antonio Belvedere says. “Before embarking on the design, we built our consciousness. Sustainability is a true moral obligation that drives the project’s journey – from careful demolition to low impact construction to the choice of the material palette. The project is about regeneration. This exhibition aims to give greater insight into our vision for this unique project.”

Having been already approved by the Environment and Resources Authority, the new Comino Hotel and Bungalows are currently awaiting the green light from the Planning Authority.

The footprint of the proposed project will be 5,122 square metres smaller than the current built site and some parts of the built footprint will be regenerated into garigue land. The project itself will be receded from the foreshore.

The exhibition outlines all of these aspects of the proposed development, as well as the project’s Natura 2000 obligations, which are taken very seriously and will include the removal of invasive and alien species in favour of endemic and native plants.

The hotel and bungalows will accommodate fewer guests, to further reduce the impact of the site, and will be managed as one touristic offering by a best-in-class hospitality brand.

The €100 million investment being made entirely by HV Hospitality will take two and a half years to complete once planning permission is obtained.


Antonio Belvedere - Lead Architect

Antonio Belvedere is founder-principal of Belvedere Architecture. He graduated in Architecture from the University of Florence before joining the Renzo Piano Building Workshop office in Paris in 1999. In 2019, drawing on the experience of a 20-year journey as one of Renzo Piano’s closest partners and as board member at RPBW, Antonio founded his own architectural firm Belvedere Architecture, an international practice with a strong environmental and multidisciplinary vocation.
His work ranges from the urban scale to the construction detail, from institutional and cultural buildings to private, commercial and hospitality projects. His strong commitment to environmental issues allowed Belvedere Architecture to be selected for the reconstruction of the new Comino Hotel and Bungalows on Comino, a Natura 2000 protected site in the Maltese archipelago. Other ongoing projects are the CUE Hub for the Milton courthouse in Ontario, Canada; the reconversion of Udarnik Cinema in Moscow; the Welcome Pavillon at the CERN Prévéssin site entrance, France; a 1,000-seat open-air theatre in an olive grove in Fossacesia, Italy; and the Bishop Ranch one mile “mood facade” along the Fwy 680 in San Ramon, California.

In collaboration with RPBW, Antonio continued to lead the GES-2 House of Contemporary Culture in Moscow till its completion in 2021. Recently Belvedere Architecture obtained the fourth place out of 15 finalists in the international competition for the Design of the European Parliament in Brussels. Earlier projects include the construction of the cultural Centre Dagron, Auneau, France; and, as winner of the international competition launched by RFI, the overall design concept and guidelines for the reconstruction of 2000 small railway stations across the whole Italian territory.

During his experience at Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Antonio oversaw the Fiat Lingotto factory conversion project, including the Pinacoteca Agnelli. He was subsequently lead architect on the masterplan for Columbia University’s Manhattanville development in New York, before leading, as associate in charge, the 1.4 million m² masterplan for the ex-Falck area in Milan. He became a partner at RPBW in 2010 and co-director in 2014. In the role of partner in charge, he completed several important projects including the Valletta City Gate and Parliament building in Malta; the City Centre Bishop Ranch project in San Ramon, California, the transformation of a power plant GES2 into a House of Contemporary Culture in Moscow; the New Toronto Courthouse, Canada; and the CERN Science Gateway in Geneva.

Franck Franjou - Lighting Designer

Award-winning lighting consultant Franck Franjou has completed more than 300 lighting projects for museums, theatres, palaces, hotels and parks all over the world. His lighting designs illuminate the Hotel de Crillon, the Hotel Hilton Opera, and Le Pavillon Royal in Paris, and Veuve Cliquot’s historic cellars in Reims, among many others. He was consultant for the new lighting system of the Eiffel Tower and Valletta’s City Gate. In Malta, he has also been entrusted with the lighting for the Barrakka Lift, the Mosta Basilica Sanctuary, the Xewkija Rotunda Museum, and the Hotel Phoenicia Spa. He has offices in France and Malta.

Edward Clarke - Building Services Project Director

Edward Clarke is an Associate Director at Arup, the Arup Hotels and Leisure Leader, and the Arup Public Health Leader for the London region. He has worked extensively on mixed use and high-rise developments, hotels and public buildings, and the sensitive modernisation and sustainable improvement of historic and important buildings. He has designed projects with exemplar sustainable credentials around the world, from The Crystal – the first building in the world to achieve LEED Platinum and BREEAM Outstanding for both new build and refurbishment – to the Oman Botanic Garden where not a drop of water is wasted. Working as a public health engineer, his areas of expertise include water efficiency, alternative water sources, fire suppression, green roofs and complex roof geometry. Edward has delivered award-winning projects with recognition from RIBA, BCIA, Building Service Journal, Environment Agency Water Efficiency, and the UK Prime Minister’s Better Public Building. He is currently leading the design team at Lambeth Palace.

Eman Calleja - Ecologist

Eman Calleja is an ecologist with more than 25 years’ experience in environmental conservation, restoration and the management of Mediterranean ecosystems and landscapes. He has a PhD in Plant and Environmental Sciences from the University of Warwick, a Master’s in Environmental Management and Conservation from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Greece, and a BSc in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Malta.

Dr Calleja is a published author of numerous papers on environmental science in international peer review journals. He is a specialised practitioner in ecological restoration, and a member of the International Society for Ecological Restoration, with experience in restoration ecology of river valleys in the Mediterranean. He has written more than 50 studies, restoration plans and baseline ecological studies, many of which for major national projects in Malta.

Dr Calleja has been a member of the Management Committee of an EU-funded research project titled SMIRES which focused on the ‘Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Streams’. Through this project, he was part of the editorial board tasked to develop the European Guidelines for the Management and Restoration of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams. These guidelines were distributed to practitioners and land use managers tasked with integrated river basin management throughout Europe.

Dr Calleja was also the lead ecologist in charge of the restoration of one of the most important river valley systems in Malta, the Fiddien Catchment area. Through his work he has built extensive contacts throughout the sector including the agricultural sector, which is a key player in influencing the management and ecohydrology of Maltese river basins. In one of these projects Dr Calleja was part of a team that built management plans for some of the most important river valleys in the country, including the Wied il-Lunzjata and Xlendi valley systems. Through their work, the team integrated sound environmental management principles with sustainable agricultural practices to bring about the harmonised management of the water resources of these valleys.