In late March 2016, we announced our intention to move the VistaJet Global Group Headquarters to Malta. As we prepare for the next phase of growth, we decided to bring together our operations, finance and European customer services teams to promote the highest levels of efficiency. VistaJet employees and clients from all over the world will visit the centre each year, and we are committed to celebrating and promoting Malta as the place to do business globally.
Thomas Flohr, VistaJet Founder and Chairman
Malta’s Modern Allure
The ancient island nation is in the midst of a (second) renaissance. The Fortified city is undergoing a makeover of its own with a view to 2018, when Valletta will serve a year as European Capital of Culture.
You know a place is on the up and up when it gets its own Renzo Piano landmark. Malta, a Mediterranean island-nation that punches well above its diminutive size, welcomed two last year: Its monolithic City Gate and Parliament stand at the western entrance of the 450-year-old capital, Valletta.
As landscapers plant palms in place of the former moat, the rest of the fortified city is undergoing a makeover of its own. With a view to 2018, when Valletta will serve a year as European Capital of Culture, a dozen boutique hotels are scheduled to open behind the austere, polished limestone gate. In front of it, the 80-year-old Phoenicia – Malta’s first hotel, and grandest still- will reopen after a delicate restoration of its are deco reception areas, pool and 136 gracious rooms. Guests will be able to walk from the new indoor pool and spa to the palm-studded Barrakka Gardens and look over the Grand Harbour to the anchored 289-fot Maltese Falcon, the world’s largest privately owned sailing yacht, available for charter.
Malta is coloured by civilisations going back to the Roman and Byzantine eras, and you won’t travel far before spotting vestiges of megalithic temples, catacombs and entire cities inscribed by UNESCO. Across the Grand Harbour, concealed behind naturally formed inlets, are the ancient cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, where you can scale seafront crenellations and visit the splendid palaces of the Knights of St. John, the country’s erstwhile rulers. Book in for a swim atop the five-star Palazzo Vittoriosa, a cosy three-suite heritage home. Then share a bottle of the local merlot over Maltese bruschetta at the grotto-like wine bar Del Borgo.
The country’s oldest city, Mdina, is perched on the island’s highest point, looking out to the Mediterranean on all sides. After an earthquake in the 1600s, the worst-hit of its knotted medieval streets were rebuilt with flamboyant Baroque details, so that now the city is aesthetically separated in two.
Only 300 people live here, and cars are forbidden, so Mdina’s “Silent City” moniker prevails to this day. Peeking into private villas and winding along the cool, narrow streets is a tranquil pursuit, one of the most peaceful in Malta. Its majestic height also makes Mdina the perfect spot for watching the sun rise or descend into the sea. Zigzag from St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its crown-shaped dome, to the newly fortified St. Peter’s Bastion, on the city’s western edge, to admire the finest sunset in the citadel.
If sunsets are your priority though, you’ll need to visit Gozo, Malta’s more modest sister island. Charter a yacht through Boatcare Trading and aim for Mgarr-ix-Xini, a gentle cove on the western flank of the island. Your skipper can arrange for a fresh-fish supper on the rocks by a 17th-century watchtower while the sun slips into the horizon toward Tunisia. For a bed tonight, a suite at Ta’ Cenc, with views over the pool and cliffs, will do.
Tomorrow you can freshen up at the hotel’s private rocky beach, where you’ll dive into deep, navy-blue waters. On the slow sail back to exuberant Malta, you might spot the first few fireworks of the evening- for evenings are rarely without them these days. The official celebrations set to begin in 2018, the party has already started.