About 100 kilometres off the southern coast of Sicily, surrounded by azure tepid waters of the Mediterranean Sea, lies the island of Malta. Languishing in golden sunshine, the island is surrounded by terraced hills, and has a coastline that is rugged with steep cliffs on the western side and numerous natural harbours, creeks and coves. Malta is truly an island in the sun.
Blessed with crystal clear waters and idyllic beaches, Malta has emerged as a prime tourist destination, greatly favoured by the holiday makers from northern Europe, who can’t seem to get enough of the island’s rich history and its unique melange of cultures and entertainment options. It offers the serious tourist, a pleasant mix of the cultural tourism found in European countries and a great seaside holiday more characteristic of warmer climates. There ain’t no place better than Malta to appreciate good wine, and regard the grandiosity of the architecture while dunking your toes in the salty froth of the Mediterranean Sea.
The capital city of Valetta, is the smallest capital city of an EU nation. A walk around the gently sloping streets of the city is enough to infer that the island’s history and architecture have been deeply influenced by the renaissance period. Built sometime in the 16th century, the buildings, which are essentially Baroque in character, are awe inspiring with their grandeur in sculpture, motifs and design, and have been well preserved despite the bombing of World War II. In 1980 the city of Valetta was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Positioned between the island’s capital Valletta and Mdina, the picturesque medieval silent city that is inhabited till date, is the Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa. A mark of sheer opulence and luxury the property is located close to the Presidential Palace and adjacent to the impeccably formal San Anton Gardens. The public gardens of San Anton, open since 1882, are laced with graceful walkways, sculptures, ornamental ponds, families of ducks and swans, and a small aviary. The garden boasts of a variety of trees from around the world, like cypress, jacarandas, araucarias and other exotic plants, some of which are over three centuries old.
Over the last 46 years, the ‘Grand Lady’ of Corinthia Hotels has not only remained, but also proudly retained its upper class status. It has been host to many heads of states and other top dignitaries, as also world celebrities including Greta Garbo, Roger Moore, Rossano Brazzi and Elton John. With 150 luxurious rooms including nine superb suites, all with balconies, the hotel provides excellent all round facilities in tranquil and homely surroundings. It offers exquisite dining options in a lovingly restored 100 year old villa representing warmth, personal attention and traditional elegance. Everything is classy and discreet.
If the grandeur and history of the property is not enough to render you speechless, head to the Athenaeum Spa, a centre designed for the harmonisation of mind and body, by enveloping the guest in an atmosphere ripe with holistic and natural healing as well as beauty and general well-being. The Spa is set in the midst of the impeccably kept gardens that conceal a set of distinctively styled pools. The Athenaeum Spa offers a wonderful compliment of facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool, a unique sauna garden, Jacuzzi, Turkish steam bath, tennis and squash courts.
Maltese cuisine is the result of a long relationship between the islanders and the many civilisations who occupied the Maltese Islands over the centuries. This marriage of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. The Corinthia Room, has represented the epitome of elegance since its opening way back in 1962, even before the hotel itself was built. The splendid décor and cuisine has earned its recognition as one of Malta’s favourite restaurants among those specialising in continental cuisine.
Things to do:
The plus side of holidaying in an archipelago, is that there is no room for boredom! In just 48 hours and in a kilometre or two you can try a new sport, laze on the upper deck and soak in the sunshine on a cruise, quench your thirst for history and culture and still have time to explore the nightlife! And when you’re done with all of that, just hop on to a ferry and head to the sister islands of Gozo and Comino.