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Visiting the Island of Malta

The Facts

Air Malta flies to Valletta from London (3 hours), Paris (3 hours), Rome (1 hour), and Frankfurt (21/2 hours). Pack for warm weather. Thankfully, when Valletta's streets were designed in 1566, it was with summer heat in mind-- a gridiron pattern allows breezes to pass through the city.

Le Meridien Phoenicia The Mall, Floriana; 800/225-5843 or 356/225-241; doubles from $195. Recently bought by the Meridien chain, this colonial building near Valletta has 136 rooms, eight suites, and a pool set amid seven acres of private gardens.
Castille Hotel Castille Square, Valletta; 356/243-677; doubles from $82. The largest of the 39 guest rooms in this converted palazzo are on the first and second floors.
Westin Dragonara Resort Dragonara Rd., St. Julian's; 800/228-3000 or 356/377-884; doubles $116. This resort, with 311 rooms and 30 suites, opened in April 1997. It has the only casino in Malta.
Ta' Cenc Hotel Sannat, Gozo; 356/556-819; doubles $112. A modern resort with 64 rooms, and 19 suites in individual beehive-shaped buildings called trulli.

The Phoenix Le Meridien Phoenicia, Floriana; 356/225-241; dinner for two $30. French/Mediterranean fare with a five-course prix fixe dinner. Try the Maltese octopus stew.
Castille Hotel Rooftop Restaurant Castille Hotel, Valletta; 356/243-677; dinner for two $11. While the restaurant usually serves French and Italian food, a special national menu is offered on Fridays. Have the rabbit stew (Malta's national dish), made with potatoes and other vegetables in a wine sauce.
Compass Rose Westin Dragonara, St. Julian's; 356/377-884; dinner for two $46. Start with the Mediterranean dim sum (there's even a rabbit spring roll) at this fusion restaurant. Another favorite is the beef fillet on fried Chinese noodles, with black-bean sauce and locally caught prawns.

St. John's Co-Cathedral St. John's Square, Valletta; 356/225-639. Don't let the austere façade fool you; it hides a Baroque interior and an extensive selection of Flemish tapestries-- not to mention the Caravaggios, both of which are now on view in the museum.
St. Paul's Shipwreck Church St. Paul's St., Valletta; 356/223-346. Local lore has it that St. Paul was beheaded near this lavish church.
Grand Master's Palace Palace Square, Republic St., Valletta; 356/222-294. Erected more than 400 years ago, this is the magnificent home of Malta's president and parliament.


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