As Malta prepares to reopen its borders to British travellers on 15 July, it’s time to remind ourselves why this Mediterranean gem was one of the most searched-for destinations on micebook last year and what it has to offer meeting and incentive groups….
A raft of new boutique properties over the past couple of years have boosted Malta’s appeal for smaller high-end incentives. These include the luxurious Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour, offering 21 suites and rooftop pool with stunning views, in a historic building in the fortified city of Senglea. For celebratory events, the Sheer Bastion roof terrace provides panoramic views of the Grand Harbour and across to Valetta, accommodating up to 1,000 guests for a reception or 300 seated.
Located in the island’s stunning capital city Valletta, Domus Zamittello offers 21 luxurious rooms and suites housed in a beautiful 16th-century restored palazzo. Another gorgeous new property is Iniala Harbour House, which is spread over four Maltese townhouses and several ancient vaults and offers 23 rooms and suites.
Malta’s little sister island of Gozo is a popular and stunning spot for 4×4 jeep safaris for adventurous groups. For an authentic experience, ECMeetings will transfer your group from Malta to Gozo via a 30-minute speedboat ride. Once there, delegates are given the task to prepare their own lunch with a lot of local interaction, from bread baking, to salt picking and also to milking the sheep that gives us the cheese Gozo is renowned for.
Head to Meridiana Wine Estate, one of Malta’s first established wineries, to taste a tipple or two and drink in the stunning scenery. The estate, located scenically below Malta’s ancient, walled capital of Mdina, provides tastings and tours around its 19-hectare site.
Comino, the smallest island in the archipelago is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. The island’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon, a sheltered inlet of shimmering aquamarine water over white sand.
AGL Alliance, a Global DMC Partner, can organise an exclusive Gullet Cruise to this idyllic spot, including on-board bar and buffer lunch, and a range of activities such as snorkelling, jet skis, Comino Caves discovery by Kayaks and paragliding.
State-of-the-art conference hotels or venues are available for any size of event and include the 16th century Mediterranean Conference Centre. The historic venue has ten large conference rooms, with the largest hall accommodating up to 2,500 people standing. Malta Fairs & Convention Centre (MFCC), the island’s largest venue can host everything from gala dinners to concerts, trade fairs, fashion shows and conferences with capacity for 10,000 people seated or 22,000 standing.
Meanwhile, several hotels offer their own conference facilities: InterContinental Arena Conference Centre has capacity for 10 to 17,000 delegates; the Oracle Conference Centre, housed in the Dolmen Resort Hotel, can host up to 1,200; while the Hilton Malta Conference Centre can accommodate up to 1,330 delegates.
The Maltese Islands offer a variety of magnificent castles, palazzos and forts packed full of heritage to wow your delegates. The gardens at Upper Barrakka on the city’s bastions are the perfect setting for a stunning al fresco gala dinner with views of the Grand Harbour, while Xara Lodge offers a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces with the beautifully lit up Mdina bastions as an imposing backdrop.
Palazzo Parisio – a baroque palace dates that back to the Knights of St John – houses grand spaces such as the glamorous Ballroom, while the Malta Maritime Museum offers St. Angelo Hall, a multi-purpose space with the added value of a beautiful terrace overlooking the Birgu marina. For a more relaxed setting by the water’s edge, groups can host a BBQ night at the hip Café Del Mar.
New openings and refurbishments
The Westin Dragonara Resort unveiled a €40 million makeover when it reopened on 1 July. The newly renovated guest rooms offer a light and airy design, while the centrepiece of the renovation project is the hotel lobby with its’s ORVM Lounge and Piano bar. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead out onto a newly extended veranda, perfect for al fresco socialising and relaxing.
Le Méridien St Julian’s Hotel & Spa is being transformed into the first Marriott hotel on the island following a €25 million investment. The extensive renovation will see the hotel increase its rooms to 327, offering MICE groups a wider choice of premium category rooms and executive suites when it reopens. A new Hard Rock resort is also set to open in Malta, offering 370 rooms, a rooftop lounge and 3,400m2 of event space in St George’s Bay, St Julian’s.