LOCAL resident David Kenny of Monmouthshire recently won a £ 250 prize from a national newspaper for his article on his visit to Malta.
Here is his winning article:
Those of us who remember Malta since the 1970s are amazed at the tourist development – one could say overdevelopment – in the north of the island, around St. Julian’s and St. George’s Bay.
From a rather primitive road system, four-lane highways now connect these sprawling communities.
Luckily they can’t change the quantness and character of Valletta or the grand hotel that occupies a prime position just outside the walls of its huge ramparts.
Lady Margaret Strickland’s portrait still occupies an important place in The Phenicia – the hotel she “commanded” to build in the 1930s.
It looks formidable but calm and serene like The Phenicia itself.
You enter another world through the open door for you.
At the Reception they like to say yes – to ease your way, to recommend slowly, and keep the outside world tired at the beach.
At the Palm Court round you can sit down on comfortable sofas and order coffee or afternoon tea and watch the guests pass by.
Of course the tea is dissolved with a strainer – the tea bags are anathema here.
Time has been called to those who perhaps remember its best colonial time but the past still lasts, the essence of gentle English.
At Palm Court, gin-meister Parvin will serve you expertly infused offerings with rosemary.
In 1949 Naval Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten and Princess Elizabeth attended a regular dance in the Grand Ballroom below, the too short normal life of a married couple before the awesome royal responsibilities to come.
There are extensive gardens to explore before you reach the infinity pool of Bastion, steps leading slowly down to create a beach with a view of the harbor beyond.
If you don’t fancy the sun loungers, there are gazebos with fabrics for privacy.
There are many young couples but children are rare – it is an oasis of calm and tranquility.
On one side is the Bastion Pool Bar and Restaurant for more informal dining.
Anyway, The Phenicia moves with the times.
At the Deep Nature Spa, all walnut and natural stone, have their own indoor pool and will work hard on your well-being with a tailor-made massage.
The hotel may invite you to scan the menus from your mobile phone but if you retire in horror quickly follow up with a paper copy.
Imagine an evening meal on the terrace of the Phoenix Restaurant, the best food and attention, a warm late summer wind, the twinkling lights from the gardens below and being calmed by the accompaniment of the pianist Hotel residents – all clichés become a reality in Phenicia.
Malta is currently a Covid “Green List” destination.
There are Easyjet scheduled flights from Bristol Airport