Mediterranean Mystique

For a self-care retreat steeped in history, head to Malta, known for its splendid seaside spas and traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
Recharge with a paddleboard excursion. Photo courtesy of Malta Tourism Authority

By Abby Tegnelia

Luxurious spas, historical sites dating back to circa 4000 B.C. and a thriving Mediterranean food scene based upon centuries-old recipes make the exotic archipelago country of Malta—about two hours south from Sicily via ferry or less than one hour by plane—an exceptional self-care retreat for health-conscious travelers.

The InterContinental Malta’s spa, Carisma Spa & Wellness, employs its authentic Turkish hammam for cleansing rituals. The nearby Myoka Lotus Spa at the Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa creates harmony via a treatment menu that fuses traditions from the Mediterranean, Asian and Nordic regions. At the Hilton Hotel, St. Julian’s Malta’s Myoka 5 Senses Spa offers a peaceful haven and refuge. For a true Maltese retreat, head to the five-star Corinthia Palace’s Athenaeum Spa, where the use of materials such as walnut timber, marble and Maltese stone create a Mediterranean oasis. The Phoenicia Malta’s Deep Nature Spa features a Himalayan salt room; the brand-new Essensi Spa inside the Iniala Harbour House is built into the hotel’s stone vaults for a stunning mix of old architecture and modern design. Finally, Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz’s Luxury Spa offers traditional Ayurvedic treatment rooms.

Malta is the perfect playground for the adventurous traveler. Photo courtesy of Malta Tourism Authority

Once you’ve been massaged and relaxed your way to a limber and energized body, you’ll be ready for Malta’s unique fitness adventures. Try a yoga class, and then see the archaeological park at the Ggantija Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get out onto the Mediterranean Sea on a stand-up paddleboard, or go diving. With mild temps and crystal-clear water, Malta is a genuine scuba hub.

After a day of activity, enjoy Malta’s traditional fare. Every meal is a learning opportunity, whether it’s trying your hand at cooking authentic Maltese recipes at the Diar il-Bniet restaurant, or heading to the nation’s rural area for a visit to the Tan-Nixxiegha Olive Grove. There, you’ll enjoy an abundant lunch made with seasonal local products.