VistaJet, the first and only global aviation company, celebrated today five years since establishing its operational headquarter in Malta. A proven successful business partnership, VistaJet now has 57 aircraft registered on the island, flying customers globally to over 180 countries and covering 96% of the world. An additional fleet of 15 aircraft specifically dedicated to the North American market, is positioned in the US.
VistaJet’s global business is a natural fit for the multicultural Malta, a center of commerce and political influence for centuries due to its strategic position between the powers of Europe, Middle East and Africa. VistaJet’s workforce at its Maltese headquarters now consists of over 250 people from 31 different nationalities, including over 100 nationals from the island.
As the company continues to grow, it plays an integral role in Malta’s social, economic and cultural development. VistaJet’s global network of over 1,000 employees visit its headquarter at least once a year for business, attend training and to enjoy Malta’s natural beauty and lifestyle.
You know a place is treasured when it receives its own Renzo Piano landmark. The Mediterranean island-nation stands above its diminutive size to welcome two: its monolithic City Gate and the Parliament, standing 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. Dozens of boutique hotels have opened behind the austere, polished limestone gate. In front of it, the 80-year-old Phoenicia – Malta’s first hotel, and grandest still – has re-opened after a delicate restoration of its Art Deco reception areas, pool and 136 rooms. Guests can walk from the new indoor pool and spa to the palm-studded Barrakka Gardens and enjoy the view over the Grand Harbor.
Malta is colored by civilizations going as far back as the prehistoric era, and its vestiges of megalithic temples, catacombs and entire cities are inscribed by UNESCO. Across the Grand Harbor, concealed behind naturally formed inlets, are the ancient cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, where seafront crenellations complement the view of the palaces of the Knights of St. John, the country’s erstwhile rulers. Locals recommend a swim atop the five-star Palazzo Vittoriosa, a cozy three-suite heritage home, followed by a bottle of the local Merlot over Maltese bruschetta at the 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 1693, the worst-hit of its knotted medieval streets were rebuilt with Baroque details and now the city is aesthetically separated in two. Only 300 people live here, and non-resident 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 set into the sea. A late walk from St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its crown-shaped dome, to the newly fortified St. Peter’s Bastion on the city’s western edge, will present the finest sunset in the citadel.
For the best sunset, visit Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island. Chartering a yacht through Boatcare Trading and aiming for Mgarr-ix-Xini, a gentle cove on the western flank of the island, can be enriched by a fresh-fish supper on the rocks by a 17th-Century watchtower while the sun slips into the horizon toward Tunisia. A suite at Ta’ Cenc, with views over the pool and cliffs, will provide an excellent rest after a day in the sun., after a dive at the hotel’s private rocky beach into deep, navy-blue waters.
On the slow sail back to Malta, it is common to spot the first fireworks of the evening – for evenings are rarely without them these days. You can expect a lot from the 2018 European Capital of Culture.