Villa Guardamangia – Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s former home in Malta

It was one of their first marital homes and a place where the then Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were able to live a relatively ‘normal’ life as husband and wife, before the sudden death of her father, King George VI, changed their lives forever. Now, Villa Guardamangia is set to be transformed into a museum, after falling into disrepair in recent years,

The couple lived in Malta for two years between 1949 and 1951, while Prince Philip was stationed there with HMS Magpie. An 18th century limestone villa in the style of a summer palace, Villa Guardamangia was loaned to the couple by Philip’s beloved uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, who rented it from the Schembri family. It was said to hold very happy memories for the couple, who looked back on their carefree time there fondly later in life. The Queen was a ‘regular’ naval wife, shopping in her Morris Minor and taking boat trips around the archipelago, while her husband worked hard in the Navy, one of his great joys, and a career that was cut short by his wife’s ascension to the throne.

The building was purchased in 2020 by the government and entrusted to Heritage Malta. The conservation and reconstruction works are already taking place but the main rehabilitation works are planned to start by the end of the year 2022 and are planned to last for the next 5 years and cost around €10mil to bring the villa back to its former glory. Conservators are currently working on the 1st floor uncovering the original wall paintings. This project will see the former royal residence transformed into a museum, exploring both Britain’s link to Malta (which gained independence in 1964) and will recreate what the house looked like when the royal couple lived there.

‘It’s in a very dilapidated state,’ Kenneth Gambin from Heritage Malta, told The Telegraph. ‘We’ve had to prop up the façade because it was threatening to collapse in places. We will have to replace some walls. It needs extensive work, it’s been falling to pieces for the last few decades. We calculate that it will cost somewhere between €5m and €10m and I would say it will be closer to the higher figure.’

 

Article credits: https://www.tatler.com/article/villa-guardamangia-malta-home-queen-prince-philip-renovation
10 hidden gems in Malta

From finding secret beaches on which to enjoy Malta’s stunningly clear waters to knowing the best places to find a cup of coffee with a view or tuck into a late-night pastizzi-fest, this guide has got you covered when it comes to discovering hidden Malta.

1. Valletta
The capital of Malta is, of course, a popular place to begin your visit to the islands. But for the authentic Maltese experience, stray from the busy thoroughfares and get lost in the winding, pretty backstreets of Valletta. Here family-run cafes, tiny restaurants and kitsch little shops are dotted around, just begging to be explored.

2. Ghasri Valley
Malta has no shortage of beautiful coastal spots for a swim, but the Ghasri Valley on Gozo is a must-visit. Here crystal clear, turquoise waters gently run through a steep-sided winding valley to create a secluded, natural s-shaped swimming pool complete with a tiny pebble beach. It’s also a great place for snorkelers and divers, as the creek hides several impressive underwater caves.

3. The Secret Passage at St Gregory’s Church
Malta has its own secret tunnel to rival Paris’ spooky catacombs; the thick stone walls of St Gregory’s Church in Zejtun have a hidden passageway inside, filled with human bones. With the skeletons believed to date back to the 1600s, the passageway was hidden for centuries before being re-discovered in the 1960s. Watch out for holidays and events when the church is open for visitors.

4. Fontanella Tea Garden
When visiting the city of Mdina, there’s only one place to stop for refreshments. The Fontanella Tea Garden is situated up high on the city’s stone bastions, meaning these al-fresco coffees come with the best views across Malta. Oh, and it’s also famous on the island for its delicious selection of home-made cakes – yes, please.

5. Il-Hofra L-Kbira
If you’re looking for a private slice of coastline, Il-Hofra L-Kbira will not disappoint. From the parking lot on the cliffs above, the beach is almost completely hidden below. Shallow warm waters and a flat, rocky beach with a little cave area providing some shade await visitors who find it. It’s not far from the super popular St Peter’s Pool in Marsaxlokk, so you could enjoy its hidden beauty after visiting the touristy site.

6. Crystal Palace Pastizzis
Pastizzi, a soft filo-pastry filled with mushy peas or soft ricotta, is Malta’s go-to snack. You’ll find them on sale pretty much everywhere, from bars to street food vendors, but Crystal Palace Tea and Coffee Bar has become a bit of a pastizzi icon. On the outskirts of Rabat, this cafe is open pretty much 24/7, so you can get your fix any time of the day or night!

7. Mnajdra Temple Complex
Malta has a long and rich history so the country boasts some incredible Roman ruins and beautiful crumbling architectural sites from different periods of its past, many of which get very busy with visitors. One hidden gem amongst these sites is the Mnajdra Temple Complex, near the village of Qrendi, where one of the three beautiful neolithic temples was built and designed around the movements of the sun. If you can, plan your visit during an equinox or solstice when special events are held.

8. The Jesus Tree
Yep, this is literally a tree that looks a bit like Jesus on the cross. Local legend says that the tree changed shape after being struck by lightning and locals now place flowers and gifts in homage at its feet. After being uprooted during a storm, it unfortunately lost its “head” and roots but the trunk was afterwards secured into a concrete base, so its holy shape can still be admired. If you’re after a quirky afternoon activity, set off to find the tree just outside of Mdina.

9. Seafood in Marsaskala
It’s no surprise that the seafood in Malta is famous for making travellers’ mouths water – with a huge array of Mediterranean fish and shellfish caught offshore each day, dishes here could hardly get any fresher! A great place to sample local dishes is in the small, relaxed fishing village of Marsaskala. Tuck into a swordfish steak or try traditional spaghetti with octopus sauce, before wandering along the promenade to spy the colourful fishermen’s houses and the boats that bob in the harbor.

10. Coral Lagoon
This perfectly-circular sea cave with an open roof is B.E.A.utiful. Either swim or kayak through what looks like a small cave from the sea next to Little Armier Bay and you’ll find yourself in a little round lagoon, harboring bright blue, clear waters. It’s worth getting there early before the tourists arrive – this highly Instagrammable hideaway isn’t going to stay a secret for much longer!

Article credits: https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/10-hidden-gems-in-malta/
2023 Hosts Global Forum Destination Has Been Announced

Hosts Global, together with Hosts Global Affiliate Colours of Malta, announced they will be heading to Malta in 2023 for the next Hosts Global Forum. Steeped in over 7,000 years of history, and having played host to the Romans, Phoenicians and the Knights of St John, Malta will also play host to the 9th annual Hosts Global Forum in this idyllic archipelago.

Phoenicia Malta recalls Queen Elizabeth II’s dances in its Grand Ballroom

The Phoenicia Malta Ambassador Neville Juan Cardona featured on BBC World News on Monday morning, discussing the late Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to the hotel during her time on the island.

Mr Cardona spoke to BBC reporter Lucy Williamson about the Valletta hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where Prince Philip and the then-Princess Elizabeth “danced away many moons ago”.

He showed Ms Williamson the guestbook from the Queen’s stay at the hotel, featuring a number of photographs, during a time when “her signature simply read, Elizabeth”.

Queen Elizabeth II spent two years living in Malta while Prince Philip served as a Royal Navy Officer, a time that she described as some of “the happiest days” of her life. Just two years later she returned to London and prepared to become Queen, yet Ms Williamson remarked that while she will be remembered as “Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Head of the Commonwealth, and Queen, to Malta, she’s simply Elizabeth”.

Following her death on Thursday, The Phoenicia Malta recalled the Queen’s fondness for Malta, which “has long been known”, also expressing its condolences with The Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning her loss.

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World organisation, The Phoenicia Malta is an iconic 136-bedroom hotel located on Valletta’s doorstep that has “long been regarded as a national treasure”.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/phoenicia-malta-recalls-queen-elizabeth-ii-s-dances-in-its-grand-ballroom

 

AX THE SAINT JOHN CONSISTENTLY EXCEEDING TRAVELLERS’ EXPECTATIONS

AX The Saint John, a boutique hotel in the heart of Merchants Street, Valletta, is the recipient of Booking.com’s Traveller Review Award 2022 with a score of 9 out of 10!

A Traveller Review Award is won by having an average review score between 8 and 10 with at least three reviews left by Booking.com travellers by 1st December of the previous year. AX The Saint John managed to obtain a fantastic score, rendering the boutique hotel a recipient of this prestigious award.

Once a former merchant’s residence and shop, the accommodation was reformulated as the successful and hospitable setting that it is today but never losing its rich history. Rooms at AX The Saint John combine luxury, technology and style – ideal for the smart and independent traveller.

 

Malta’s UNESCO Capital City

The Maltese capital has an instant charm that may remind you of Venice and maybe even Prague in one fell swoop. Dripping with charisma and oozing an undeniable historical vibe, it is a place where baroque charm comes to life before your eyes. The ancient honey coloured buildings and walls perfectly capture the warmth of the Mediterranean light giving the city a glow that heightens the appeal. Here are just a few sights you may want to see during your visit to this beautiful European capital which finds itself, and deservedly so, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral
The 16th century Co-Cathedral is a masterpiece of baroque workmanship. The somewhat plane exterior hides a glorious internal space that radiates with a golden glow by virtue of its grand and regal craftsmanship. Wherever you look you see beautiful decorative works, whether golden ornaments or marble statues, and don’t forget to look down, as the cathedral floor is every bit as ornate as the ceiling and walls with its delightful stonework and memorials of one sort and another. A must see while you’re in the island’s capital.

National Museum of Fine Arts
For those interested in all things artistic, the National Museum of Fine Arts is not only one of the oldest buildings in the city, but is an undisputed treasure trove of rare antique maps and a host of other works spanning the last 500 years. The 1760s saw the building undergo extensive renovation for the Knight who lived here all those years ago. It’s easy to feel history come to life as you stroll through the exhibits and rooms.

Casa Rocca Piccola
This beautiful example of 16th century architecture makes for a highly interesting visit around its well maintained and preserved rooms. But perhaps the most intriguing feature lies underground in the form of the World War II air raid shelters which have only recently been opened to the public. This underground world offers a truly fascinating insight into island life during the European conflict.

National War Museum
Although a tiny island, Malta’s strategic location in the Mediterranean has seen it caught in the crossfire of many a conflict. The museum presents a glimpse into battles and conflicts dating all the way back to the bronze age up to the relatively recent conflict of World War II. On display you will see the British built Gloster Sea Gladiator, Roosevelt’s famous Husky jeep, and the Malta George Cross awarded to the island by King George VI in 1942 along with his handwritten letter, all of which serves to remind the visitor the island’s history hasn’t always been the peaceful Mediterranean retreat it now is.

A sanctuary
Offering a place of refuge from the hot midday sun are the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens with stunning views across the Grand Harbour. At noon everyday the tranquillity is slightly punctuated and only momentarily by the traditional canon fire of the Saluting Battery, a feature as old as the city itself. The lower gardens tend to be less frequented by visitors so may offer a more suitable retreat when things get busy.

Eating
The city is awash with options for eating out from places with romantic Mediterranean views to waterside features and subtly lit courtyards. All tastes are catered for from Asian favorites to Italian to local cuisine. You won’t go hungry in Valletta.

Annual Events
Then there are the annual events such as the synchronized Malta International Fireworks Festival held in April, the harbour side Malta Jazz Festival at the end of July, two annual wine festivals held at the end of July and August, and the Catholic Carnival in Valletta with interesting performances and brightly adorned floats sailing through the streets.

As far as European cities go, Valletta can compete with the best. History, charm, elegance are all to be found here in this little cultural oasis in the island of Malta, lying, as it does, firmly in the midst of the Mediterranean.

Article credits: https://www.welcome-center-malta.com/valletta-maltas-capital-city-and-unesco-world-heritage-site/

 

 

Malta Fashion Week is back!

After a 2 year absence, Malta Fashion Week and the Malta Fashion awards are back! The 3 day event will be an al-fresco, cabaret style seating, at the impressive Grand Harbour Rooftop, one of Malta’s most prestigious events venue, with magnificent views of the Grand Harbour. Guests will enjoy a lavish evening with daily fashion shows of local & foreign designers, live music and entertainment.

View the full schedule here: https://www.fashionweek.com.mt/

Why Malta is the Mediterranean’s most underrated destination

Plunked in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta has been squabbled over by empires for millennia. But today its people are fashioning their own story. Conde Nast Traveler’s Rick Jordan recounts his various visits to the island while giving a brief recount of Malta’s fascinating history and how it shaped the Malta we know today.

Read the full article here:  https://www.cntraveler.com/story/in-malta-roman-ruins-and-natural-wine-bars-sit-side-by-side
BBC Radio 2 and The World Famous BBC Concert Orchestra Presents CLASSIC ROCK ANTHEMS

The World Famous BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Radio 2 proudly return to MALTA with Classic Rock Anthems – brought to you by VisitMalta.

After wowing audiences last year with “It’s a Kind of Magic – The Queen Story” the BBC Concert Orchestra is bringing an epic evening of the world’s classic rock and pop anthems to the spectacular Granaries in Floriana.

On the 9th of July, the concert will feature an astonishing 20 number one hits and an awe-inspiring countdown to the best selling artists of all time. You will hear classic rock and pop anthems delivering feel good, fall in love, get mad, get sad, get even songs, that power us through, lift us up and bring us together.

Under the direction of the renowned conductor Mike Dixon, the 60-piece BBC Concert Orchestra, plus dynamic rock band, and cast of outstanding star singers Gloria Onitiri, Laura Tebbut, Tim Howar, Ricardo Afonso, Annie Skates, David Combes, Emma Kershaw, Lance Ellington and Tony Vincent, will perform classics by The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Prince, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, The Beatles, Tina Tuner, Fleetwood Mac, Cher, Elvis – and more!

Read more: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/363
Network Event Milano – One Way

We are finally returning to the San Siro Stadium for our institutional event: happy to unite supply and demand in a unique and majestic location, and happy to welcome you all for a great comeback!

Save the Date
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
from 4 p.m. onwards
SAN SIRO STADIUM – Piazzale Angelo Moratti

You will be able to meet, the best locations and hotel facilities in the M&ME Network, ideal containers for your MICE events, you will be able to request quotes and facilitate weeks of work in the office!

It will be an evening full of surprises and memorable moments, don’t miss it!

Click here to subscribe to the event.

 

Let's go that extra mile!
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