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Grand Life

M a y 2 0 1 2 e d ition


EDITORIAL

From moment to moment, the Grand Hotel Excelsior, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts makes your stay a memorable one. An intimate event or a family celebration. A reunion with old friends or a new business connection. Intuitive service, unmatched attention to detail, and sophisticated style provide moments that create long- lasting memories. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is situated two minutes away from Valletta, Malta’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a unique opportunity to re-live Malta’s rich history whilst unwinding during your Mediterranean Luxury Escape. We are blessed with magnificent views of Marsamxett Harbour & Fort Manoel. Marsamxett Harbour is the northern of Valletta’s two natural harbours on the island of Malta and is dedicated to yachting and sailing and also hosts the Msida Yacht Marina. Fort Manoel was built by the Knights of St. John between 1723 and 1755, under the patronage of Portuguese Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. In 2010, the fort underwent major restoration work to repair the ravages of time and damage sustained during the Second World War. It served as a location for the shooting of the TV series Game of Thrones. Our prime location allows for easy access to all tourist locations around the Maltese Islands. The main bus terminus provides services to all towns and villages and is only a few minutes away from the hotel. For the more discerning traveller the hotel offers its own private tours with our executive cars. Free Wi-Fi internet is also available in the hotel lobby and other public areas. Le Grand Spa compliments our luxurious accommodation, with excellent spa and wellness facilities. Its relaxing atmosphere is the perfect starting point for the journey toward equilibrium between your body, mind and spirit. We wish you a pleasant stay at the Grand Hotel Excelsior. Live the Grand Life.

Norbert Grixti General Manager


General Information about the Hotel The hotel’s outlets Level 7 Business Centre Level 6 Hotel Entrance Our reception desk is manned and at your service round the clock and can be reached by dialing 0 Harbour View Lounge serving a selection of hot and cold beverages, wine, alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails 24 hours, 7 days a week Chartroom Lounge serving Traditional Afternoon Tea daily between 1500 and 1700hrs Level 5 À la Carte menu and Themed Buffet nights served in Admiral’s Landing between 1830 and 2230hrs Level 4 A lavish spread is available for Breakfast in Spice Island, level 4, between 0630 and 1030hrs Level 1 Le Grand Spa is open daily between 0900 and 1900hrs Guest Services: Room service is available 24 hours Check out time is 1200hrs noon Please do let us know whether there is anything else you require during your stay. Nothing is impossible and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure your ultimate comfort and wellbeing.


S

tay at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, two minutes away from Valletta, and relive the Knight’s of St. John legacy.Visit the medieval city of Mdina, one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture. Head north to enjoy Mediterranean sun, sand and sea. Experience Gozo where tranquillity is still a way of life. Enjoy Malta’s religious ‘festas’, adorned churches and glittering firework displays. Discover megalithic temples, rugged countryside and dramatic cliffs or submerge into a diver’s paradise. Wine and dine in stylish surroundings and party in lively evening venues. If you have only three days in Malta, do not attempt to see it all. Although the area covered by the Maltese Islands is just 316 km², there is plenty to see and do so we recommend you experience just a few of Malta’s highlights to get a feeling of the island’s character

300 days of sunshine, crystal clear Mediterranean waters, 7,000 years of history, thriving local traditions and laidback rural villages, delicious cuisine and a vibrant nightlife – Welcome to Malta!

Photos courtesy of the Malta Tourism Authority

Day 1 – Valletta & Sliema With the Grand Hotel Excelsior as your home the Capital,Valletta, is probably the most obvious place to start. With the entire city declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, walking through its streets is nothing short of walking through an open-air museum. Walk along Republic Street to St John’s Co-Cathedral, the jewel of Valletta, with its gilded interior enough to make one’s jaw drop. Look out for the Caravaggio’s only signed painting, The Beheading of St John. Exit the Catheral and dive into the open-air market in Merchants’ Street. All in all,Valletta is also a great place for shopping. Do take the time to wander through the alleyways, up and down the slopes and stairways, and to sit under the sun with a coffee watching the pigeons. In whichever order you choose to do these, try to be at the Upper Barrakka Gardens at noon for the re-enactment and shooting of the cannon, and enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Malta, that of the Grand Harbour.


For the afternoon we recommend a Harbour Cruise which takes you to see the the Three Cities from a unique perspective and which offers an insight to the essence of Maltese History. Day 2 – Gozo You cannot really understand Maltese culture without a visit to Gozo, Malta’s more traditional and peaceful little sister. Be at Cirkewwa early to take the ferry across, so as to make the most of your day. The crossing takes only half an hour and passes by Comino island and you can catch a glimpse of the Blue Lagoon. Victoria’s main square is home to a daily market selling all sorts of things. Check out the tiny shops around the area which sell handicrafts, and make sure you get lost in the back streets! Head up the hill to the Cittadel, the Medieval walled city, and visit the Old Prisons and some of the other interesting museums it houses. Finally walk to the bastions to get a 360 degrees bird’s eye view of the whole island! Have lunch in one of the several restaurants or cafes that offer traditional food and then head off to the village of Xaghra . Xaghra has plenty to offer, starting with Ggantija Temples, the oldest free-standing structures in the world. Not far off is Ta’ Kola Windmill which has been lovingly restored and turned into a museum, and in the heart of the village you will find Ninu’s Cave and Xerri’s Grotto with a marvel of stalactites and stalagmites. Weather-permitting, now would be the ideal time to head to Ramla Bay for a swim. Ramla Bay is remarkable for its dark orange sand. But the real must-see is Dwejra with its Azure Window being the most photographed view in the Maltese Islands. This is the location of the Fungus Rock and the Inland Sea, as well as the Blue Hole, a worldfamous diving spot. It is really striking to watch the sunset from this point, and offers a myriad of photo opportunities! At the end of the day you can dine in one of many restaurants in pretty

Xlendi Bay nearby, and don’t worry about catching the ferry back... it runs regularly till late and occasionally through the night! Day 3 – Marsaxlokk & Mdina On your third day we also recommend an early start to enjoy the most of Marsaxlokk fishing village and market. Here you can obtain fresh local produce and hand-crafted artisanship, and is therefore ideal for purchasing souvenirs. All this to a backdrop of colourful local Luzzu’s (traditional fishing boats) bobbing up and down in the sheltered Marsaxlokk harbour. Enjoy the fresh catch of the day for lunch at one of the restaurants lining the promenade. In the afternoon head to the Blue Grotto for a boat trip to the caves. Also in the area are the megaliths of Mnajdra and Hagar Qim, and further down the road still is Ghar Lapsi, a cave with two rocky beaches which offer fantastic snorkelling opportunities. Spend your last evening in Malta wandering the streets of one of its favourites with visitors and locals alike: experience the enchantment of Mdina by night. Dine in one of its fine restaurants, wine bars or cafes to conclude an evening to remember.

At the Grand Hotel Excelsior we offer tailor-made excursions with our private chauffer service. If you would like to plan your excursions in advance kindly email us on transport@excelsior.com.mt and Josette and her team will take care of your requirements. You can also book your excursions during your stay at the Grand Hotel Excelsior.


VALLETTA

Malta - Valletta Fireworks Festival 2009 04 by Clive Vella


a tale of

four Cities V alletta can be described as a living experience of Baroque architecture, dotted with quaint cafes, and over 25 churches, testament to the centuries-old grained Catholic faith of the Maltese nation. With its fortifications and history-filled streets, is probably the best known place in Malta and gems such as St. John’s CoCathedral justify its reputation.

Malta’s majestic Grand Harbour is one of the most spectacular ports in the world separating the capital city of Valletta from the historic cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. The harbour has been a hive of activity for over two thousand years. With its imposing fortifications and vast panorama, Grand Harbour is Malta’s principal maritime gateway and a popular port-of-call for ships that are cruising the Mediterranean.

The Three Cities of Cospicua,Vittoriosa and Senglea are three of the oldest towns on the island of Malta. The town of Vittoriosa played an important role in the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. Vittoriosa was the town in which the Knights of Malta settled in on their arrival from Rhodes in 1530.Vittoriosa together with Cospicua and Senglea form three important walled cities along one side of the Grand Harbour. The town of Kalkara is located close to the Three cities. The town gets its name from the latin word calce (lime) since a lime kiln was located here during the Roman times. In Kalkara one finds the quaint hamlet of Santu Rokku and Fort Ricasoli which over the years has been used for the construction of film sets for important blockbusters like Gladiator and Troy and the recent Agora.


1O

Kinnie

things to

taste?

Best described as one of Malta’s most distinct soft drinks, Kinnie is formed from an aromatic blend of bitter oranges, sweet spices and pungent herbs. While sounding like something a child might cook-up in their mother’s kitchen, Kinnie’s curious composites mysteriously align to form a devilishly tasty dark-amber nectar.

Hobz biz-zejt Mqaret

Twistees Famously found in lunch-boxes around the island (adults included!), this popular snack helps to keep the wolves at bay between meals. Found in cheesy, chicken and bacon flavours, Twistees are the local version of naughty-but-nice nibbles.

Gbejniet Traditionally made from goats cheese you can find them pickled an plain or pickled and coated in black pepper. For a milder taste try them fresh. Enjoy them with Malta’s popular crackers known as Galletti. Nowadays these are available seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, herbs and even sun dried tomatoes in ready prepared packets.

Sweet and tasty, these deep-fried pastries are truly divine (so long as you don’t count all their calories!) Stuffed with dates and served as a warm dessert, often accompanied with ice cream, these fragrant and softly spiced treats are worth ditching the diet for.

Fenek Often typified as the national dish, stewed rabbit has become synonymous with Malta’s cultural identity. Almost as important as the soft and succulent meat, however, is the act of going for the meal itself. Known traditionally as a ‘fenkata’, this festive feast is not only an excuse to gather all the friends and family but has become a seasonal occasion for most Maltese.

The literal translation, being bread with oil, just doesn’t do this dish justice. A better description would be ‘ a rustic Mediterranean loaf ’. For this specialty, fresh crusty bread is fervently lavished with olive oil and stuffed with a combination of ingredients that include capers, olives, garlic, tuna, anchovies and sweet tomato paste. However, Gbejna –peppery cubes of succulent goat’s cheese, in my opinion, really takes the Hobz-Biz biscuit as the best addition to this delicious bread!

Timpana Amalgamating two beloved dishes, Timpana gives you the ultimate pasta-pie. Made from macaroni pasta and bolognese meat, this traditional platter is baked in a puff pastry layer until lightly golden brown. A word of warning, however, this dish is best served with a subsequent nap.


Cisk A premium lager, Cisk is one of Malta’s most significant exports. Locally brewed with a light and refreshing taste, Cisk can be enjoyed without fear of any beer-belly retribution. Unless, that is, you decide to down ten in row; then are making no such promise.

Bajtra Liqueur Formed from the flesh of the local prickly pear fruit (Bajtra), and shimmering in a translucent red, this luminous liqueur looks deceptively close to a cough mixture medicine. However, far from a revolting remedy, this sweetened solution slips down very easily as an after dinner treat. Some might even call it salubrious for the soul, (I said might…)

Themed Cuisines from around the World Monday

latin american tuesday

indian wednesday

maltese

thursday

middle eastern friday

asian

Pastizzi With its very own Facebook page (complete with over 36,000 likes) Pastizzi can be easily deemed the nation’s favourite. Cut into diamond shaped pastries, these local delicacies are lovingly oven baked with a warm ricotta or a spicy pea filling. Transforming into an indulgent treat or tasty snack, Pastizzi perfectly epitomizes the sumptuous Maltese palette.

saturday

mediterranean flair

Also serving a vast selection of à la carte dishes


WHAT’s on

06/05/2012 FESTA TAL-FESTI

Celebrating the Maltese Festa Fleur-de-Lys

06/05/2012 A TREAT FOR PIANOFORTE LOVERS

5 talented Italian and one Maltese pianist Le Meridien Hotel & Spa - St. Julian’s

01/02/2012 - 31/05/2012 ANNA RUNEFELT - LIMITED EDITION PRINTS

An exhibition by the Swedish photographer Palazzo de Piro Cultural Centre - Mdina

29/04/2012 - 06/05/2012 UNDERWATER PHOTO COMPETITION

“32. Kamera Louis Boutan” Gozo

03/05/2012 FEAST OF THE HOLY CROSS

Traditional religious festivity. Birkirkara

06/05/2012 VICTORIAN GARRISON DAY

An entertaining representation of this historic period Fort Rinella - Kalkara

06/05/2012 - 13/05/2012 MCCA CULTURAL TOUR

Maltese historical heritage, traditions and skills. Gozo

06/05/2012 BORMLA CULTUREFEST

04/05/2012 EQUINOX TRIO

People - Past and Present Bormla

05/05/2012 - 06/05/2012 THE ANNUAL GREAT SPRING HORTICULTURAL SHOW

Al Nour Wal Amal- blind female orchestra The Manoel Theatre - Valletta

Modern Songlines of Walkabout St. James Cavalier - Valletta

Competitions and exhibitions San Anton Gardens - Attard

05/05/2012 ‘DREAMING’ OF MAMMA MIA

Musical dance show Teatru Aurora - Victoria (Gozo)

05/05/2012 PALAZZO FALSON OPEN DAY

Celebrating it’s 5th anniversary Palazzo Falson - Mdina

06/05/2012 LIGHT, HOPE AND MUSIC

06/05/2012 IN GUARDIA PARADE

Re-enactment. Fort St Elmo - Valletta

11/05/2012 CHANGING OF THE GUARD

A formal military ceremony. St. George’s Square - Valletta


12/05/2012 - 20/05/2012 BELAND MUSIC FESTIVAL

20/05/2012 FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION

12/05/2012 LA SCALA OPERA SINGERS IN MALTA CONCERT

20/05/2012 SPRING RICOTTAFEST

13/05/2012 IN GUARDIA PARADE

22/05/2012 FEAST OF ST PAUL

9 days of music Zejtun

World famous soprano Roberta Canzian and Baritone Mario Cassi The Manoel Theatre - Valletta

Re-enactment. Fort St Elmo - Valletta

15/05/2012 - 20/05/2012 ĦAL LUQA - ITS PEOPLE AND ITS HISTORY

Celebrating the past of the village of Luqa Hal Luqa

18/05/2012 - 19/05/2012 THE VOCA PEOPLE

A completely original, thrilling musical adventure MFCC - Ta’ Qali

18/05/2012 - 20/05/2012 LEJLET LAPSI - NOTTE GOZITANA

A weekend of events in the heart of Gozo Gozo

19/05/2012 PURE 90’S: IN WHITE

Malta’s first and original 90’s night Numero Uno Club - Ta’ Qali

19/05/2012 MOVIE SPECTACULAR

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra The Mediterranean Conference Centre - Valletta

Traditional religious festivity. Tarxien

A rural event Kirkop

Traditional religious festivity. Munxar (Gozo)

22/05/2012 FEAST OF ST AUGUSTINE

Traditional religious festivity. Valletta

25/05/2012 AFM MILITARY BAND DISPLAY AND CHANGING OF THE GUARD The New Guard together with the AFM military band. City Gate - Valletta

25/05/2012 MALTA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA CONCERT An all-British programme The Manoel Theatre - Valletta

25/05/2012 THOMAS ANDERS FROM MODERN TALKING Live in concert Ghaxaq Grounds - Hal Ghaxaq


Time to relax • Relaxing back massage • One hour facial Price: €85 per person Duration: 75 minutes Body boost… by one or by two • Full body salt scrub • Swedish full body massage • Jacuzzi session in a private candle lit room Price: €100 per person or €180 per coup le Duration: 120 minutes Neat hands and feet

time to unwind P

amper yourself with our Special Spa & Wellness Escape. Put the troubles of your week behind you and relax - let us take care of you. Take advantage of our superb facilities, indulge in the pleasure of fine hospitality and lose yourself in the magical surroundings of the Grand Hotel Excelsior. Rates start from €70 per person per night sharing in a Double Deluxe Inland Room (minimum 3 nights stay). Upgrade to a Seaview from just €15 per person per night.

The Spa package includes • Accommodation in a room type of your choice (price varies according to room type booked) • Welcome drink upon arrival • Daily buffet breakfast • Spa treatment (neat hands and feet) per person booked • Use of our Leisure facilities during your stay • Use of private beach

• Classic manicure • Classic pedicure Price: €40 per person Duration: 60 minutes / 120 minutes Le Grand Spa Indulgence • Basic full body massage • Basic facial • Choose from a classic manicure or a classic pedicure Price: €100 per person Duration: 150 minutes Glowing limbs • Le Grand Spa Manicure • Le Grand Spa Pedicure Price: €80 per person Duration: 180 minutes Journey to India • Indian Head Massage • Hopi Ear Candle treatment Price: €70 per person Duration: 75 minutes Durga Mata Massage • Four handed massage Price: €80 per person Duration: 45 minutes


Grand Life May 2012