Maltese Treasure

Writer Danielle Parla | May 5, 2017

In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, a honey-coloured limestone archipelago has been resurrected over centuries to form breathtaking monuments, churches and palaces. Malta and Gozo are the largest inhabited islands in the Republic of Malta and bear the influence of a succession of foreign rulers who left an indelible mark on the language, cuisine and culture. The legacy of more than 160 years of British rule can be seen to varied degrees in the Maltese laws, education and business, not to mention driving on the left, English as a joint official language, red phone boxes and a penchant for beer.

One of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries, the Maltese seem almost apologetic about the size of their country. Even though an astounding 95 per cent of Malta’s 316 km² is deemed urban area, an incredible 7,000 years of habitation has left the profoundly rich historical and architectural heritage that with careful development will continue to lure travellers for years to come.


Malta is the largest island and gateway to the Republic. Witness limestone arches and windows carved from wind and water, sheer cliffs that meet the sea, and rock, sand and man-made beaches along the coastline. History lovers will be awed by the Megalithic Temples of Malta that give a unique testimony to bygone eras. Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra, and the underground Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni are both on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Palace

The towns along the northeast coast melt seamlessly into each other, and yet each has its own distinctive offerings. Built in 2007, The Palace is one of Malta’s newer five-star properties, conveniently situated minutes from the promenade and shopping Mecca, Sliema. Guests seeking quirky design will appreciate the six innovative designer suites themed: Texture, Light, Flavours, View, Music and Fragrance. Rooftop restaurant, TemptAsian, offers eight Asian cuisines with Sliema and Valletta’s harbours as backdrop.

Within The Palace is one of Malta’s most established names in spa, Marion Mizzi Wellness Centre. With a comprehensive menu incorporating Ayurveda, facials, body treatments and beauty services, the Spa connects to a gym and indoor pool area with loungers, dry sauna and steam room.

The Xara Palace Hotel

The Xara Palace is a charming family-run boutique hotel located within the medieval city walls of the World Heritage Site and ‘Silent City’, Mdina. Originally a noble family residence, history was restored with the 1996 restoration of the 17th-century palazzo. Discover enchanting spaces as you stroll past noble limestone arches, French blue walls and a vast collection of antiques. Each of the 17 rooms features a distinct layout and furnishings, with a luxurious marble bathroom with bathtub in every suite.

The cobbled streets of Mdina are a photographer’s dream at sunset as the limestone turn a rich rose gold colour. St Paul’s Cathedral and Catacombs in Rabat are a short walk beyond the city walls and offer a fascinating insight into the region’s history. From its hilltop vantage, discerning diners can enjoy tantalising dishes from the award-winning fine dining restaurant, de Mondion. From May until October, guests dining al fresco will be captivated by the distant display of fireworks as the towns and villages below celebrate their patron saint during festa.

Palazzo Prince D’Orange

The restored mid-17th-century luxury suites at Palazzo Prince d’Orange offer a central stay that marries history with modern amenities. All five suites have access to a common library space, a small gym facility, sauna, and massage therapy room.

Poised majestically on a hilltop overlooking the Three Cities, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and capital of Malta oozes Old World charm. Once home to the Knights of St John, one of Valletta’s most spectacular attractions is St John’s Co-Cathedral built in honour of St John the Baptist, the patron saint of the Order. Completed in 1577, it is also home to two masterpieces by Caravaggio.

From the Upper Barrakka Gardens, relish the exceptional views of the Three Cities before boating across the Grand Harbour to the first home to the Knights of St John and the Inquisitor’s Palace. The International Baroque Festival is one of many festivals held in Valletta that celebrate the 16th-century city of baroque.

Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay

Like the ancient watchtower on the grounds of the Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay, most of the 249 rooms have a beautiful sea view. Guests can choose from three spacious pools as well as complimentary activities like yoga and guided coastline walks. There’s even an opportunity to make your own jewellery with third generation master artist Gaetano Saliba who showcases his work and is dedicated to preserving the intricate tradition of Maltese filigree.

The intimate six-room Apollo Day Spa has a dry sauna and divine signature treatments including an Aromatic Anti-stress Massage and Carita Facial – the ultimate anti-ageing luxury treatment. Richard Geres, personal trainer and nutritional coach, offers guests integrative and holistic programmes as well as ongoing support once you are home with his personal training app.

Smaller and quieter than Malta, it is easy to be enchanted by the nature, hospitality and sites of Gozo