Meet in Malta
Business Traveller UK|July - August 2021
The historic island in the middle of the Mediterranean is ready for gatherings – here is some inspiration for your next get together
TOM OTLEY

For those who appreciate history, Malta has all you could wish for in a destination, and probably much more than the Maltese wanted for themselves. Sieges, wars, ancient orders of Knights and attacking Ottomans, it has a maritime history stretching back into the mists of time with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians and would always have been a natural stopping-off point between Italy and North Africa.

During the Second World War, Malta was the most bombed place on earth, enduring a near-continuous attack in 1942 lasting 154 days. Its museums have lasting tributes to the heroism of the Maltese, and the whole island was given the George Cross for valour by King George VI, which can be viewed in the National War Museum in Valletta, its capital.

Today, Malta is a tourist destination – still, there’s a lot of competition in Europe for tourists, and Malta’s beaches aren’t its strongest point when compared with, say, Sardinia or Ibiza. Instead what you get is a unique mix of history, language and identity, the result of its geographical position in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea.

This also makes it perfectly placed as a meeting point, with flights landing at Malta International airport from major hubs across Europe and the Gulf. On arrival, the fabulously scenic destinations of Valletta, Mdina, Rabat and the Three Cities on the other side of the Grand Harbour will seduce first-time visitors and remind regulars of the distinctive appeal of this destination.

There’s more to explore than just the main island – sister islands Gozo and Comino also have a wealth of attractions. At a time when travel is starting to resume, Malta is open and hoping that leisure and business visitors, and then meeting and incentive groups, will arrive in numbers. No one knows what the future will hold for the rest of the year, but one thing can be certain – if anyone will get through 2021, it will be the Maltese.

MALTA

CASA ROCCA PICCOLA

This 16th-century palace was home to the ninth Marquis de Piro – still a family home, it is now open to the public for tours as well as offering some spaces for private hire. Guides are on hand to highlight the history of the house and point out the tunnels that were cut into rock to create bomb shelters during the Second World War. Located close to the Grandmaster’s Palace on Republic Street, Valletta’s main road, Casa Rocca Piccola’s event spaces include La Giara, the summer dining room, which seats up to 22 guests, and a 100 sqm garden for drinks on balmy evenings. casaroccapiccola.com

FORTS ST ELMO AND ST ANGELO

Malta’s two most iconic forts have honey-coloured limestone bastions that glow in the evening light in every tourist’s photographs. Once defenders of the Grand Harbour, they are now tourist attractions both inside and out, offering museums, tours and re-enactments as well as hosting mid-sized conferences, meetings and events. Each fort has historic rooms available for hire, along with dramatic cannon-studded terraces for memorable gatherings under the stars – St Elmo’s can accommodate up to 2,000 guests for a drinks reception and provides stunning views across Marsamxett harbour.

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