Designed by Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar in the mid-16th century and later extensively remodeled under Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca – who also commissioned the original warehouses that now form Valletta Waterfront – the Auberge de Castille has pride of place at Valletta’s highest spot and owns one of the most strikingly ornate Baroque façades in the city. It was built for the powerful Spanish and Portuguese members of the Knights of St John when they were constructing the fortified city of Valletta; it was customary to have separate lodging for each nationality within the order.
Following the enforced departure of the Knights of St John from Malta in 1798, the Auberge became headquarters to occupying French forces and then British troops. Symmetrical and well proportioned, the elegant façade was badly damaged during the bombing raids of WWII but has been beautifully restored; it now houses the offices of the Maltese Prime Minster, Joseph Muscat, and is beautifully floodlit at night.
The Auberge de Castille is in the pedestrianized area of Valletta, on Pjazza Kastilja just in front of Upper Barrakka Gardens and roughly five-minute walk from the main bus terminus. There are car parks outside the city’s main gateway. Apart from occasional art exhibitions, it is not generally open to the public but is much admired from outside.