- Malta truly has something for everyone
- The island is steeped in history
- Malta remains good value for money
Don’t be mistaken by any misconceptions that Malta is simply for an older demographic. Until a recent fam trip organised by Pearl Representation I had no idea of the history, culture and utter magic of this fantastic place. I can safely say that I was completely hooked after my very recent first visit and can’t wait to return.
Malta truly has something for everyone. The hotels are first-class, there are endless activities and adventures abound. It is clean, it is safe. The coastline, beaches and water are pristine. Dining options range from traditional family-run restaurants to sleek modern restaurants – farm-to-table is a way of life here and you will be spoilt for choice. The nightlife of St. Julian’s is a vibrant pulse that brings the masses to the streets for some first-class bar and club hopping.
This island is steeped in history from the noble Knights of St. John to the pivotal role the island played during the Second World War. The Maltese are deservedly proud of their history and rich cultural heritage.
I was fortunate to stay at the Western Dragonara where the design of the rooms reflects the glorious panoramic sea views. The hotel is perfectly located for experiencing the very best that Malta has to offer.
Our first full day saw us head out to sea on a speedboat which gave us an up-close view of some of the spectacular sea caves en route to the island of Gozo. On arrival we de-camped into Jeeps for a self-driven tour of this gem of an island which many say is exactly how Malta was 40 years ago. At every turn the scenery was a delight to the senses – jaw-dropping views of crystal-clear bays and twisty roads with very little traffic offering an insight into how the locals live. It’s impossible to get lost on this island and Game of Thrones fans will be treated to some of the best-known filming locations from the series.
Once the driving tour was over, we took a tender to our catamaran where after a short sail we dropped anchor for lunch and a spot of swimming. This is a popular way to spend an afternoon in Malta, so our skipper took us to some further spots (some of which were very popular with the party-set!) before we settled on a location a comfortable distance from a full-on Ibiza-style party-hard yacht!
That evening we were treated to a sneak peek of the all new Marriott Hotel & Spa in St Julian’s which is set to open in October. With hard hats and high-viz jackets donned, we looked at the completed show rooms of this €30m refurbishment (the hotel was previously Le Merdien) before dining at the hotel’s signature contemporary restaurant, Taro.
The hotel is located metres from Balluta beach – a more tranquil seafront promenade within the bustle of St. Julian’s town. Once complete we are sure this will make another great superb hotel option!
On the second day we took to the streets of the main island for a tour of the Three Cities – the harbourside towns of Malta – Birgu, Senglea and Bormla. Birgu is the oldest and most popular town due to its historical and cultural wealth and is situated across Grand Harbour.
With over 11,000 inhabitants combined, the Three Cities are regaining their past popularity, which has also attracted the tourism industry, with boutique hotels, restaurants and wine bars popping up along the narrow winding streets and alleys of the Three Cities. The Birgu Waterfront project, which includes a magnificently restored fort, museums, a yacht marina and several places for entertainment and fine dining has proved to be a great success with the Maltese and visitors alike.
We crossed the Grand Harbour by motorised gondola – and given that it was the hottest June day for 24 years, being on the water again was greatly appreciated! After a traditional Maltese lunch of rabbit stew one of the country’s most popular dishes, we were treated to a fabulous iPad challenge that weaved its way through the numerous sights, sounds and iconic landmarks of the island. This is a fun activity for a group to soak up the rich cultural heritage and history of the island.
Our final night involved an open-top vintage car transfer to the medieval walled city of Mdina, one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture. After a walk around this incredible city we dined under the stars on a terrace of the Xara Palace Relais & Chateau Hotel.
I was seriously impressed by the hotels, dining and activity options that I experienced across the two days. The possibilities are endless, and Malta remains incredibly good value for money. There is a huge variety of options for holding functions and gala dinners – with wow factor a-plenty.
Malta is a great location for a conference or incentive group so should be strongly considered when reviewing European options.