Business Development Trip March 2019 – Hosted by Alpine Sterling DMC & Intercontinental Malta

Malta - Expect the Unexpected

James has returned from an action-packed business development trip to Malta, the hidden Mediterranean gem only a three-hour flight away from the UK. Our VIP client group was expertly looked after by Warren and Steve from our DMC partner Alpine Sterling, with accommodation hosted at the 5* Intercontinental Malta in the buzzing cultural and social hub of St. Julian’s.

On arrival we were whisked off to visit Palazzo Parisio, a miniature Versailles in the heart of the ancient village of Naxxar. This stately home is an exquisite venue to hold an event, with an ornate interior that takes you back to the splendour of times gone by. Guests can ascend the famous Grand Staircase with its steps made from solid blocks of marble, and explore the beautiful gardens where fountains are creatively lit to create a beautiful intimate atmosphere.

Warren then sprung a surprise for our group with a transfer to the hotel by Hummer limousine. With multiple bars, mood lighting and a glass of bubbles we agreed this was the funkiest way to travel!

Intercontinental Malta, our luxury 5* accommodation base for the weekend is located in lively St. Julian’s, the energetic Maltese hub for shopping, cafes and nightlife. The hotel offers modern luxury across 481 rooms including three new floors featuring 30 Highline Suites plus extensive conference capabilities with 26 meeting rooms and capacity for up to 1700 delegates. There are six restaurants and bars onsite and even a rooftop infinity pool with stunning views across the island.

After a show around of the hotel’s impressive facilities we were transported to dinner at The Villa by vintage bus, evoking memories of Malta’s past. The Villa offers both Mediterranean and Asian cuisine and provides impeccable service in an elegant ambiance, coupled with unparalleled views of Balluta Bay.

The Villa

Feeling suitably refreshed after a restful night’s sleep we were ready to take on our morning activity, the Tuk-Tuk iPad challenge! Tuk-Tuks can take up to 6 passengers and are an ideal and fun way to explore the island, taking us to places that are otherwise difficult to reach by regular transport.

We travelled to Popeye Village, a unique venue for events having originally been constructed back in the 80’s as a film set, played beach games at Golden Bay and visited Café del Mar. Although closed in Spring Café Del Mar is a funky beach-side venue that shows Malta’s growing reputation as a cool, clubby destination. Our Tuk-Tuk adventure ended in Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta. 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.

By now we had worked up an impressive appetite and Bacchus did not disappoint – the food was simply amazing! The restaurant, situated across two chambers of a historic building has just undergone a refurbishment and has a Tardis-like quality, combining a refined and relaxed atmosphere with a 450-person capacity.

We then travelled in style to Valletta, cruising sedately along 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.

In Valletta we visited 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 Vallette Hall, is an architectural gem featuring 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.

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. We then had some free time to further explore Valletta’s historic streets and made time for a cheeky ale.

We dined at Paranga by the sandy beach at St. George’s Bay. Paranga is owned by Intercontinental and offers top-notch Mediterranean cuisine, blending in perfectly with the cosmopolitan lifestyle of one of Malta’s most happening nightspots. Our perfect evening ended with the short trip to Hugo’s in buzzing St. Julian’s, Malta’s best location for a night out.

After a final luxurious night at the Intercontinental we checked out and made our way to Sliema for Alpine Sterling’s final treat for our group, a Gullet cruise to Valletta on board the magnificent Fernandes ll. This was the perfect way to see the historic harbour in all its glory and the ship offers an open bar and onboard catering to enable clients to tailor-make a most memorable day. After a final lunch stop at Limestone Village, a delightful private museum and events venue it was time to depart magical Malta.

It was now time to say goodbye to our hosts Warren & Steve at Alpine Sterling. We had stayed at an exceptional hotel perfectly suited for larger conferences and experienced a wonderful programme to discover so much of what Malta has to offer UK event planners.

To find out more about Malta, the Intercontinental and how Alpine Sterling can help bring your event to life then please get in contact with James, Simon or Nika.