At the end of March 2019, I was kindly invited to a FAM trip to Malta by DMC Advantage/Alpine Sterling to witness the Island’s growing offering of events venues and hospitality locations. Malta is one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries with a population of over 475,000; smaller than Edinburgh, but bigger than Cardiff. The group of islands making up Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea about 58 miles south of the island of Sicily and 55 miles east of Tunisia, and North Africa.
Getting to Malta is simple, and we landed around late afternoon after a three-hour flight from London. A twenty-minute car journey later and we arrived at the five-star InterContinental, St. Julian’s in St.George’s Bay. The InterContinental has the best of both worlds; a wonderful waterfront resort completed with a private beach and a central location, ideal for shopping, entertainment and the historic sites. It has over 480 bedrooms and a meeting capacity of 15 – 1700 delegates, making it one of Malta’s largest hotels.
Next up, after dropping off our bags, we had a site visit and drinks at the Palazza Parisio, a stunning, 20th century stately home immersed in history, and a true architectural gem. This venue can be hired out for events and with a hidden back garden (with a pond of turtles) it really has a major wow factor!
After the site visit, we got whisked away in a Hummer limo as DMC Advantage wanted to show us the variety of transport Malta could offer clients, before we set out for dinner at The Villa. This fabulous 19th century villa is one of the oldest structures in the Balluta area. It offers two dining options with unparalleled views of the bay and gorgeous interior design within.
The next day we experienced a very fun and different way of viewing the Island courtesy of a Tuk-Tuk iPad Challenge. The tuk-tuks are the perfect way to experience Malta, and with it being so small, you can cover the whole island in just a few hours. The tuk-tuks can take a maximum of 6 passengers so it works well for groups that wish to explore the island in a more personal yet exciting manner. Be warned though, this challenge makes your competitive side come out!
After winning (yes, our team absolutely smashed the challenge by 100 points) the tuk-tuk challenge, we had lunch at the Bacchus Restaurant in Mdina. The restaurant dates back to the Roman times of the island and has a lot of character, and would be perfect for small groups looking to retire and relax after exploring Mdina.
Following lunch we did wonder what might next be on the itinerary. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw our transfer vehicles. Parked just outside were six vintage cars to take us to Valletta, Malta’s capital city. Valetta, the smallest of all of Europe’s capital cities is a world heritage site, and during the course of the afternoon it is clear why. Fortified ruins, imposing battle-scarred city walls, and incredible architecture, it was like walking around an open-air museum. Dotted with quaint cafes, wine bars and shops, the city is one of Malta’s main tourist attractions.
After some free time exploring the city, we went back to the hotel, and had a refresh before dinner at The Paranga. The restaurant is part of the InterContinental hotel and offers a relaxed atmosphere and amazing Mediterranean dishes, it was undoubtedly one of the best meals of the trip! The restaurant has a retractable roof and walls so in the spring/summer it’s the perfect venue for hosting welcome drinks, summer parties or BBQs.
On our final day we had a short cruise on the 180 capacity motorboat, Fernandes II, which took us in and around Valletta harbour. After a late night out in St. Julian’s this was the perfect activity to soak up more of Malta’s relaxing vibes. The beautiful Gullets can be chartered for a full day to neighboring islands, Gozo and Comino, harbour cruises like ours, or an evening sunset cruise, which I can imagine would be very romantic. With an open bar serving wine, beer, spirts and soft drinks as well as onboard catering, the day can be tailor-made according to your specifications and needs.
After the relaxing cruise, we had a few hours before our flight home. We spent this time at the Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens for lunch. As you walk to the back of the venue you are pleasantly surprised by just how outstandingly breathtaking the venue is. With our table for lunch placed next to a waterfall, streams surrounding the edges, ivy and plants covering the walls and if you looked close enough, you could see the next door neighbors pair of pet cats… which are actually lions!
With it’s amazing and consistent year round weather, good flight connections from most European cities, and wide selection of event venue and activity options, I would recommend Malta as a destination for all manner of events.
If you would like more information about hosting your next meeting, conference or exhibition in Malta, then make sure to contact us here at Zanna Events!