Business Development Trip to Malta October 2017
Simon and Veronika recently returned from an action-packed business development trip to Malta, a hidden Mediterranean gem only a three-hour flight away from the UK. Our VIP client group were joined by co-hosts Nicolas Sancho of Conventions Malta and Imogen McCarthy-Fry of Hosmark Hotels, while on the ground we were expertly looked after by Warren and his team from our DMC partner Alpine Sterling.
On arrival we were whisked off to The Palace, our luxury 5* accommodation base for the weekend represented by Hosmark Hotels in the UK. The hotel is located in the centre of Sliema, the Maltese hub for shopping, cafes and restaurants and offers modern luxury plus seven meeting rooms and capacity for up to 225 delegates.
Feeling suitably refreshed we were ready for our weekend adventure to begin, and our first port of call was the extraordinary Palazzo Parisio. This palace is an exquisite venue to hold an event, with an ornate interior that takes you back to the splendour of times gone by. We ascended the famous Grand Staircase with its steps made from solid blocks of marble, and explored the beautiful gardens where fountains are creatively lit to create a beautiful intimate atmosphere.
We then travelled in style to Mdina, cruising sedately along the city streets in vintage cars dating from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. This is a fantastic way of adding a special touch to your events with the car owners themselves at the wheel, sharing the history of how Maltese emigrants brought back vehicles from the UK, USA, Australia and Canada when they returned to the island.
Mdina is the old capital of Malta and is also known as the ‘Silent City’. It is a beautiful place full of history and for fans of Game of Thrones the main gate to the city has appeared in scenes as an entrance to Kings Landing. We enjoyed an atmospheric walk around the streets led by fire torches. By now we had worked up an impressive appetite and Bacchus restaurant did not disappoint – the food was simply amazing. The restaurant is situated across two chambers of a historic building which creates a refined and relaxed atmosphere. We enjoyed the best traditional Mediterranean cuisine and sampled a selection of Malta’s fine wines in an elegant setting.
After a restful night at The Palace and a leisurely breakfast we transferred by vintage bus to Valletta, Malta’s capital. With no glass in the windows or doors, our bus was considered fully ‘air-conditioned’! Taking the scenic route by the coast gave us the chance to see a little more of Malta and we enjoyed beautiful views over the harbour and the sea.
Our first stop was the impressive Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) which was built at the end of the 16th century by the Order of St. John and used to serve as a hospital. The MCC is a perfect venue to hold a large event and the main banqueting area, La Valletta Hall, is incredibly impressive. This architectural gem features splendid vaulted ceilings along its length and is one of the most elegant banqueting halls in the Mediterranean. The hall can seat up to 900 people and can be themed to create a unique occasion.
Our next task was to complete the iChallenge treasure hunt which was a fun way to explore the city. Armed with tablets, we split up into groups and had to complete a series of tasks like hugging a stranger! Competition was fierce and we needed photographic proof to ensure no short cuts had been taken.
After a burger at chilled-out gastropub Cheeky Monkey we carried on walking though the beautiful streets of Valletta towards the Saluting Battery. Located high along Valletta’s eastern historic ramparts, the Saluting Battery enjoys unrivalled spectacular views over the Grand Harbour and the surrounding fortified towns and can be set up for an unforgettable al fresco dinner or reception.
Warren then sprung a surprise for our group with a transfer to dinner by limousine coach. With two floors, mood lighting and a glass of bubbles we agreed this was the funkiest way to travel!
We dined at TemptAsian Rooftop Restaurant, a truly luxurious experience on the 9th floor of The Palace. Magnificent panoramic views of Sliema and Valletta’s harbour are complemented by the chic surroundings and an exquisite Asian fusion menu. Our perfect evening ended with the short trip to Hugo’s in buzzing St. Julian’s, Malta’s best location for a night out.
This morning the Alpine Sterling team revealed another surprise, a chilled-out catamaran cruise around the Grand Harbour to historic Birgu. This was a wonderfully relaxing way to travel and we enjoyed the warm Maltese sunshine on our faces while watching the impressive scenery go by. After our cruise we had a little walk through Birgu, one of the oldest parts of Malta where you can find the historic waterfront and explore fascinating museums. We stopped for a farewell lunch at Don Berto restaurant and enjoyed some fabulous pasta.
With great sadness we now had to say goodbye to our hosts Warren & Steve at Alpine Sterling. We had experienced a wonderful programme and discovered so much of what Malta has to offer to UK event planners. If you would like to know more about the destination or how Alpine Sterling could help bring your event to life then please get in contact: