24TH -26TH March 2006
“Merhba” or welcome to the Maltese Islands was the letter awaiting us in our room at the Hilton. The Malta Tourism Authority together with Airmalta, various DMCs and and 5 stars hotels invited PCOs and various organisers to the ‘Knighthood experience’.
Marie Anne Barthet from the Malta Tourist Office was waiting for us at Gatwick Airport early on the Friday 24th and made us feel very welcomed. In the afternoon as soon as we arrived on the Island, the British contingent (of which I was) was taken to site visits to the Hotel Intercontinental and the Hilton where we stayed. We had barely enough time to get changed for the evening for the Official opening that was held in the conference center adjacent to the Hilton (and part of it) where a brass band welcomed the delegates before taking everyone up to the escalator to what looked like a giant basket ball arena, the lighting didn’t help to alleviate this feeling, however all buffet food and plenty of wines, the basket weaving, the little singers and the general ambience contibuted to a quite nice evening.
Saturday and Sunday seems to have passed so quickly as we were wisked away to through the Cottonera area for a 'Battle of the Nations' ( they were delegates from various countries and Italy won! Althought the British Team finished first) - Team Building - fact finding mission.
Lunch was at the Villa Bighi in a marquee overlooking the Grand Harbour and this was immediately followed by a Harbour cruise where some people came back to their childhood with the most incredible water filled balloon that I have seen (needless to say, I sought refuge inside as many others) we visited afterwards the not quite yet opened Meridien St Julians that has great amenities and the Radisson Sas Baypoint which has a great Ballroom. In the evening we went to the Palazzo Parisio a unique 19C palace in the ancien village of Naxar there we were greeted with really pumps and circumstances! see the pictures of the magnificent gardens
we were treated to dances after we were proclaimed by his most Eminent Highness The Prince Grand Master: members of the order of Melitensia ( Certificate were waiting in our hotel rooms) before being taken to a versailles like dining room for diner on the first floor and then to the cellar for coffee, liqueurs and dancing, a few did stay late!
On the Sunday there was a workshop with all the DMC's and various venues and in the afternoon we were taken to Gozo where we visited the Kempinsky San Lawrenz Hotel where massage and particularly Ayurvedic treatment are a premium ... the alternative was a Kart Building Activity that it seems everyone declined! In the evening we had champagne on the Spinola Quay amongst the Maltese Luzzu fishing boat (where some young gatecrashers tried to join us) the lights reflecting on the water was quite magical! we then had an Italian meal at the Allegro Andante restaurant and a few went to the Fuego Salsa Bar to while away the night.
Early departure on Monday morning seemed easy and everyone sported a smile wanting to come back to see the places that we missed like the Palace of the Mediterannee (the convention centre) and the area of Valetta that according to a DMC should have been shown as a must do in Malta. We will have to come back to this lovely destination.
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Thank you again to Marie Anne Barthet, Suzanne Dimech and Nadine Brincat to have organised such a lovely weekend.
For further information or recommendation please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and have a look at www.visitmalta.com