Malta is already firmly on the map as a must-visit destination for its beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine and abundance of history and culture. With improvements to inter-island transport, new hotels on the horizon and exciting festivals such as the Isle of MTV and Malta Jazz Festival, the island looks set to become even bigger and better than before.
Take a look below at the latest news and events from the Maltese archipelago:
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NEW LAUNCHES AND OPENINGS
Campbell Gray property Phoenicia Malta has reopened following an extensive €15 million refurbishment, confirming its status as one of the most luxurious and sought after hotels on the island. Located in Floriana, just outside the capital of Valletta, all 136 bedrooms and the Grand Ballroom have been upgraded, in addition to a new outdoor infinity pool and re-designed grounds and terraces across the hotel. August 2017 will see the unveiling of the new Café Phoenicia, featuring a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the Bastian Walls, Renzo Piano’s City Gate and the Triton’s Fountain, whist the health club and spa will open in late 2017.
Following on from the success of their properties in Ibiza and Tenerife, the Hard Rock Café will be opening a hotel in Malta in 2020. Nestled in the trendy hot spot of St. Julian’s, the hotel is projected to feature 370 rooms, including 110 suites with balcony views over the idyllic island paradise of St. George’s Bay. A gastronomic destination in itself, the hotel is to feature a host of premier food and beverage outlets, including a signature restaurant and a rooftop lounge with a sky bar where guests will be treated to the glittering lights of one of Malta’s most energetic corners.
Opening in 2018 is the Malta Marriott Hotel and Spa, following a rebrand of the current Le Méridien property in St. Julian’s Bay. Originally built on the grounds of a 19th century Maltese villa, the property’s unique location offers both the tranquillity of Balluta Bay and the proximity of St. Julian’s lively atmosphere. While Le Méridien is already classified as a five-star hotel, the redevelopment will see the hotel upgraded and refurbished with additional executive suites as well as the possibility of two additional floors.
The Corinthia Hotel is St. George’s Bay is inviting guests its to meet the locals with a new Villages Experience excursion. Launched in March 2017, guests of the hotel can meet local artisans in three typically Maltese villages, Safi, Kirkop and Mqabba, for a chance to discover the real Malta and Gozo through its people and culture. Locals in these three villages will share their stories, legends, cuisine, music, folklore and crafts during these small group tours.
The iconic Maċina in Senglea has received approval to be converted into a Cugó Gran hotel. Formerly the headquarters of the Labour Party, the refurbishment will see the building transformed into a 21-suite property, each with unbeatable views of the Grand Harbour. A swimming pool will be tucked away on the rooftop whilst the inside will see a bistro, bar, cafeteria and small boardroom for conferences and events. The property is expected to open in summer 2017.
Approval has been given to a new underground tunnel connecting beachside town Sliema to the Three Cities via the capital of Valletta. The 7m wide channel has been approved by UNESCO and construction is expected to be completed by summer 2018 when celebrations for Valletta as the European Capital of Culture 2018 are in full swing. The tunnel will improve traffic and make travel between the two destinations much quicker and more efficient for both tourists and locals alike, with the journey from Sliema to the Three Cities expected to take a mere 20 minutes.
SunChateaux, the new sister brand of ski tour operator ShowChateaux, has unveiled a new all-inclusive villa holiday concept on Malta’s neighbouring island Gozo. Comprised of four self-designed villas in idyllic locations across the island, visitors will experience the epitome of luxury. Each villa features an outdoor infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside, complimentary car hire, mountain bikes and tennis facilities for all guests, and all meals and beverages are included as standard.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
Spring and Summer Festivals
Taking place in three different locations across the archipelago, the Malta International Fireworks Festival is a three-night event that sees the islands come alive with colourful displays from competing countries across Europe. This year’s closing event is going to be particularly special, as apart from marking the anniversary of Malta joining the European Union, it will also form part of the celebrations to mark the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Now in its seventh year, the Malta Fashion Week brings together talented individuals from across the archipelago to celebrate the very best in fashion, style and culture. The seven-day spectacle sees the industry’s best designers, models, stylists and make-up artists showcase their expertise with a series of runway shows, industry events and parties. Iconic locations throughout the island, such as Fort Saint Angelo, are transformed into chic backdrops before the week comes to a close with the Malta Fashion Awards.
At the top of the European Rainbow Index 2017, Malta is the friendliest LGBTQ destination in the world, making Malta Pride week a spectacular affair. Island-wide events include festive flotillas, street parties and concerts into the early hours with local and international talent. Guests are encouraged to adorn their colourful clothing and come out in full force to celebrate diversity, equality and fun.
The Malta International Arts Festival brings together established and emerging Maltese talent in a series of show-stopping music performances, dances and visual installations. Now in its 11th year, the festival aims to channel the strength and beauty of ideas, so visitors can expect exceptional works across a variety of different mediums and themes. Experts will also hold several workshops and masterclasses to share tips and tricks with budding creative types.
Now in its eleventh successive year, the Isle of MTV Malta will be taking place on the June 27, 2017 at The Granaries in Floriana. Over the past few years, tens of thousands of tourists and Maltese locals have attended this spectacular concert, which has now placed itself firmly on the international events calendar. The event is the biggest free concert in Europe and attracts a line-up of top artists from around the world, with award-winning duo The Chainsmokers set to headline this year.
The annual Għanafest in Malta is a world music festival attracting both local and international talent within the folk music industry. Taken from the Maltese folk singing known as “Għana,” the traditional festival reflects the culture and heritage of Malta whilst celebrating renowned musicians from across the globe. Held at the picturesque Argotti Gardens, the event will embody traditional folk music with contemporary influencers, in keeping with the ever-changing pace of the industry.
July 2017 sees the Malta Jazz Festival, featuring a top line up of international and Maltese stars playing an eclectic mix of jazz styles. The festival gives visitors a chance to see the host city Valletta transformed into a vibrant hub of music and celebration and is a wonderful time to experience island life ahead of Valletta as the European Capital of Culture 2018. This year, American jazz artist Al Di Meola is confirmed to perform and more names are to be announced soon.
Malta has been awarded the second-best Diving Destination of the Year in the world by Diver magazine in its prestigious Diver Awards 2016. The Diver Awards are the only ceremony for the diving trade in the UK and beyond and recognise the island’s different dive sites and wrecks that are suitable for varying ages and abilities. The destination as a whole is recognised for being affordable and easily accessible for visitors.
A night of glittering awards and accolades, the annual M&IT awards was held in March 2017 and invited over 1,200 of the UK’s leading experts and industry professionals in the MICE market. Considered to be the UK Conventions industry’s premier event of the year, Conventions Malta scooped up gold in the Overseas Convention Bureau category for the very first time in its history. Voted for by 6,000 customers, the bureau beat stiff competition from Dubai Business Events, The Hague Convention Bureau, Rotterdam Partners, Monaco Tourism Authority and Business Events Canada. In addition, Nic Sancho won the Person of the year 2017 for Conventions Malta at the All About People event – a superbly planned 3-day event organised in Malta, attended by over 100 top UK event planners and international suppliers.
Valletta has long been a popular destination with cruisers and now there’s even more reason to visit. The Valletta Cruise Port has been awarded the Best Terminal Operator Award by Cruise Insight for the second consecutive year. The award is in recognition of the impeccable service delivered by all staff at the port and the continued work and investment which has ensured customer satisfaction time and time again. Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis said: “I take this occasion to congratulate Valletta Cruise Port for attaining this prestigious accolade in recognition of their firm commitment to consistently develop and expand Malta’s cruise-line industry.”
Valletta has launched a preview of its 2018 European Capital of Culture programme. A collection of artistic, cultural and community projects as well as festivals and carnivals, the island is thrilled to be showcasing its eclectic history and heritage. As part of the opening festivities, various dynamic shows will be using Valletta’s open squares. The Triton Fountain, Castille Square, St. John’s Square and St. George’s Square will host performances that will include international acrobatics company La Fura Dels Baus and ŻfinMalta dancers and feature digital projections around the city. The programme will kick off with a ceremony on January 20, 2018.
The Malta Tourism Authority and Ministry for Tourism has announced that 17 choirs from across the world are confirmed for the prestigious Malta International Choir Festival, taking place November 2-5, 2017. Now in its 23rd year, the festival sees choirs from all corners of the world, including the UK, Belgium, Israel, Indonesia and Estonia, showcase their exceptional local talent in a series of performances. Popular UK choirs the Elmbridge Mix Choir and Elmbridge Ladies are confirmed to attend and the festival has also received 60 individual entries to the second edition of the Choral Composition Competition.
Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. Comprising three main islands – Malta, Comino and Gozo – Malta is known for its history, culture and temples dating back over 7,000 years. In addition to its fortresses, megalithic temples and burial chambers, Malta is also blessed with 2,957 hours of sunshine, making its capital, Valletta, Europe’s sunniest city. The city has also been named European Capital of Culture 2018, which will see a huge programme of cultural events rolled out. Malta is also part of the EU and 100% English speaking. Malta is famous for its diving, which attracts aficionados from around the world, whilst the nightlife and music festival scene attract a younger demographic of traveller. Malta is a short three and a quarter hour flight from the UK, with daily departures from all major airports across the country. Click here for more information.