We booked a trip to Malta eight days before we flew having not done much research but liked the look of the location, hotel and the price.
We booked our last minute getaway through TUI (previously Thomson). Our deal included the hotel, flights, transfers, breakfast and evening meal. We did a quick search of what temperatures were expected in December and so we packed a variety of clothing.
We departed on 19th December and we landed in Malta at around 11am local time, they are an hour ahead. When we landed, the temperature was about ten degrees warmer than back home, so we quickly discarded our thick hoodies.
The transfer to the hotel was quick and efficient, taking about 40 minutes with just one stop to another hotel along the way. We stayed at the Mellieha Bay Hotel which is on the north side of the island. On arrival, we were greeted with drinks whilst porters delivered our bags to our room. Our room was a comfort king which had a patio terrace with beautiful sea views. The beach and tropical gardens were just a few moments walk away.
Mellieha Bay Hotel has a variety of facilities for guests, whether you want a relaxing holiday embracing the private beach, the outdoor or indoor pools or you want to try your hand at scuba diving or other various activities at Aqua Venture – the on site water sports centre. There is also an on site salon offering hair and beauty appointments as well as an on site massage therapist. The hotel also offers daily activities and provides entertainment, social gatherings and trips around the island. There is also a small library where guests can borrow books, a gift shop and a small convenience store.
The food at Mellieha Bay Hotel was fabulous. With a variety of salads, meats, cheeses, different types of bread, freshly made soup, pastas, fish, poultry and vegetables there was something for everyone. Breakfast offered various cereals, fruits, yogurts, different types of eggs, juices, hot drinks and traditional food for various nationalities. Each meal time there was a choice of around 3/4 main courses to choose from alongside the other side dishes. The food was served in the style of a buffet so you could happily try several different options if you wished. All the staff were more than happy to help and they really embraced the festive spirit of Christmas, offering traditional Christmas lunch and providing Christmas Crackers for the guests at meal times.
Getting around the island is easy. The bus service operates very frequently and a bus ticket costs 1.50 Euro and lasts for 2 hours. This is a cheap and easy way to visit the island. The bus stop was right near our hotel, just a few minutes walk to the end of the road. We caught the bus to Cirkewwa, the ferry terminal on the north of the island. From there, we caught the ferry to Gozo. The crossing was 4.50 Euro for a return ticket. The journey was approximately 20 minutes and the ferries run constantly. From Gozo, we decided to take our little adventure further and we caught the bus to Marsalforn, a pretty seaside location on the north of the island.
During our stay, we also visited Valletta, the tiny capital of Malta and had a pleasant wander around the old streets and stopped for lunch in Luciano’s Italian Restaurant. During our visit to Bugibba, we had a walk along the sea front, embracing the temperatures of around 18 degrees and sat outside a cafe for lunch.
We also took a trip on Christmas Eve to the Blue Lagoon on the small island of Comino. We got the bus to the ferry terminal and caught the boat from Comino Ferries Co-Op Ltd. The cost was 15 Euro and this provided a return trip to the island. The journey each way was around 20 minutes. We spent around 2 hours on Comino, which is a Special Protection Area. There are no cars on the island and only one hotel. We weren’t really prepared so did not have suitable footwear to explore in great detail – I would advise good sturdy walking boots as although there is one main path, the ground can be varied with sharp small rocks and trying to cover this wearing only ballet pump slip-ons was not very easy so we spent time splashing in the clear azure coloured waters. I have never seen water as idyllic and as inviting as Comino!
We were wanting a relaxing and stress free week for our “Christmas abroad” and I found that I was not disappointed. The staff at Mellieha Bay Hotel were extremely friendly and helpful. They were cheerful, pleasant and only too happy to help. The weather was around 14-20 degrees during our visit so we were able to soak up some sun. We will be visiting again and made some happy memories during our Christmas vacation in Magical Malta!