WICCNA / Our Face exhibition explores multi-faceted spheres of Maltese identity

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WICCNA / Our Faces - an exhibition currently running at Valletta’s BLITZ contemporary gallery and creative space - is an incredible photographic project that shines a spotlight on Malta’s inspiring diversity.

Shot by Yugo-Maltese photographer Zvezdan Reljić, WICCNA is at once an intimate and collective compendium of lith-printed photographic portraits; a quiet celebration of the immeasurable variety of faces that inhabit or pass through the the Maltese Islands.

The project includes an accompanying book of over 200 portraits alongside aesthetic, anthropological and literary essays on aspects of physiognomy, identity and photography, each written in languages that have influenced Malta throughout its history – Arabic (Walid Nabhan), English (Alexandra Pace), French (Philippe Parizot), Italian (Virginia Monteforte), Maltese (Leanne Ellul), and Spanish (Antoine Cassar). WIĊĊNA features portraits of individuals from different backgrounds, generations and ethnicities, accompanied by a caption taken from the individual’s answer to the often complicated question “Where are you from?”

Running until 13 December 2018. BLITZ, 68 St Lucia Street, Valletta.

Magnificent Memories Machine lands in Kalkara

A stone’s throw away from our doorstep, the photographic exhibition A Sense of Place: Kalkara by Magna Żmien is currently running in Kalkara.

Featuring snaps from photographer Emanuel Borg, know for his incredible talent in capturing Malta’s everyday life in a personal and genuine spirit, Kalkara has been chosen as the exhibition’s location for it was the beloved hometown of Borg.

Offering a glimpse of Maltese life of decades past, the exhibition also features an installation by Tiny Island Studio and Robert Farrugia.

The exhibition runs until November 11. Parish Hall, Kalkara.

Modern, classic and jazz music blend into The Three Palaces Festival 2018

 Image by Kael Bloom

Image by Kael Bloom

Summer may be behind us and the year is close to wrapping up, however the island is still bursting with a multitude of cultural and musical events across differing venues.

This weekend shall see The Three Palaces Festival kick off, which will bring together lovers of classic, modern and jazz music as an array of concerts will showcase exceptional musical talent within inspiring historical buildings.

Now in its sixth year, the Festival has become an important appointment in Malta's cultural calendar, as it aims to bring chamber music closer to the public.

For further details and to view the full schedule, visit https://www.3palacesfestival.com.

The Three Palaces Festival shall run from 2 to 11 November 2018.

A historic city lit by candlelight - Birgufest 2018

It’s that time of the year, with the ancient city of Birgu alit with candles - Birgufest is happening this weekend! All the streets and houses are lit up with candles, chandeliers hang in the streets, and music ruminates throughout the winding pathways. 

Most of the museums and historical buildings will be open this weekend, which includes the magnificent architectural gem of Fort St. Angelo as well as the Inquisitors Palace.

Locanda La Gelsomina will be celebrating this event with it’s own display of candles. An event that cannot be missed, come join the festivities this weekend starting from Friday the 12th of October and ending on Sunday the 14th.

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Birgufest

Art Moderne architectural beauty of Cospicua's Rialto Cinema

 The Rialto Cinema, 1956

The Rialto Cinema, 1956

La Gelsomina is set in one of the oldest hamlets of Malta, and surrounded by architectural beauty that spans the centuries. 

A short stroll away from our doorstep in neighbouring Cospicua - one of the Three Cities alongside Birgu and Senglea - lies the Rialto Cinema. Built in 1956 on the site of an earlier cinema that was destroyed by the bombs in World War II, the building is an incredible example of the Art Moderne architectural movement.

Designed by architect Edwin England Sant Fournier, it included Cinemascope widescreen features and a stereophonic sound system. One of the largest cinemas of the time, the Rialto could hold up to 1,100 spectators and was the go-to place of the time to catch the latest flicks.

The cinema was closed in 1988 and later acquired by the local Labour Party, which has now transformed the venue into a conference hall. Although very little remains of the original fixtures and the hall is not open to the general public, a visit to admire the external Art Moderne façade is an absolute must.

Rialto Theatre, Triq il-Pellegrinaġġ, Cospicua

Views of history from Suite One

 Image courtesy of Brian Grech

Image courtesy of Brian Grech

Locanda La Gelsomina is housed in a building bursting with history, and dates as far back as to the 1500s when the Knights of St John had made Birgu their base and the capital of Malta.

On their arrival in Birgu in 1530, the Knights concentrated their main buildings in an area which became known as the Collachio, which Locanda La Gelsomina formed part of.

At the time, Birgu was bursting at the seams with a population of over 3,500, and during their 40-year stay in the hamlet the Knights erected auberges, a state-of-the-art hospital on the outskirts of the Collachio and magnificent palaces, including the Università.

From the balcony of Suite One you can catch a view of the the Università - or Council of Jurors - which at the time was mainly responsible for the provision of essential commodities, mainly grain, for the population of the area. It was established in 1538 after Grand Master D’Homedes did not see eye to eye with the Mdina Jurors.

Step back in time and across 500-years of history. Book your sojourn at La Gelsomina by dropping us an email at info@locandalagelsomina.com.

Diving into Malta's deep blue waters

Locanda La Gelsomina scuba diving

With its unspoilt dive sites, underwater cliffs, shipwrecks and clear waters, Malta is a diver's paradise. The isles are consistently ranked as one of the top dive locations in the world, alongside other hot dive spots such as Egypt and the Maldives, and in 2018, Malta was awarded the Destination Award for diving at the BOOT tradefair in Germany.

Locanda La Gelsomina scuba diving in Malta
Scuba diving

To offer our clients a glimpse into this fascinating underwater world, we have teamed up with dive experts Malta Blue Diving, without a doubt one of the isle's best scuba diving professionals around.

Offering everything from night dives for certified divers to scuba explorations for complete beginners, our unique packages are tailored to all levels and personal preferences. Between them, Malta Blue Diving co-founders Luiza and David speak 5 languages, including French, German and Dutch, making them a truly international team.

To find out more about our customised scuba diving packages, please email us at info@locandalagelsomina.com

On the trail of '111 Places in Malta That You Shouldn't Miss'

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'111 Places in Malta That You Shouldn't Miss' is the ultimate insider's guide to Malta.

Featuring interesting and unusual places not found in traditional travel guides, this guidebook forms part of the international 111 Places/111 Shops series with over 250 titles and 1.5 million copies in print worldwide

Coming up at #37, Locanda La Gelsomina is the only Maltese boutique accommodation concept featured in this fully illustrated guide. Described as offering "out-of-the-ordinary hospitality catered towards an international clientele", Locanda La Gelsomina shines a positive spotlight on a curated, authentic accommodation experience characterized by the personal touch.

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111 Places not to Miss in Malta

Available in Italian, English and German in all good bookstores worldwide, this unique guide  will take you exploring through Malta's historic secrets and little known nooks.

On Malta by Inigo Taylor showing at Studio 87, Valletta

 Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

The beauty of Birgu is that while it is off-the-beaten-track, immersed within the authentic Maltese way of life, it is just a 5-minute sail across from the cultural heart of Valletta.

Bursting with events, our top Valletta pick for this month is Inigo Taylor's photographic exhibition 'On Malta' that is currently on display at Studio 87.

 Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

 Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Image courtesy of Studio 87, shot by Geoffrey Zarb Adami

Born in England, Inigo Taylor spent countless of childhood summers in Gozo, acquiring a taste for the Mediterranean islands which would later echo in his photographic work. Having now lived in Malta for over a decade, his first solo exhibition 'On Malta' is a selection of photographs that form part of a larger body of work which Inigo started back in 2007.

Studio 87, founded by Justine Balzan Demajo, is a recently opened independent art space where old is submerged with the new. Historically, its structure was used as part of the many stores and stalls of the bustling market area down by the harbour and pixkerija in Valletta. It’s ethos focuses on showcasing widely known artists but more importantly on shedding new light and creating a platform for emerging local and international artists of different mediums, whilst always maintaining quality and aesthetic value.

Showcasing an alternative, direct and honest glimpse into the multi-faceted elements of Maltese identity within an authentic, historical space, this is an exhibition not to be missed.

'On Malta' at Studio 87 shall run until June 14, 2018. Liesse Hill, Valletta. Monday - Friday, 10am to 6pm.

 

Locanda La Gelsomina awarded TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2nd year running

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellent for 2018

Locanda La Gelsomina has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence for a second year in a row by leading international travel website TripAdvisor.

Since 2011, the Certificate of Excellence honours hospitality businesses that deliver consistently great service across the world. 

Humbled and honoured by this award, we wish to thank each one of our guests on behalf of our family and team for having made this possible through your honest and positive reviews. We look forward to sharing our hospitality vision with both returning and new guests in the year ahead, and to continue improving the experience we offer to all who walk through our doors.

Grazzi!

Steven, Rossella & family

Introducing My Barefoot Island passion for hand-picked design

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Our hospitality ethos is rooted in attention-to-detail, and we are passionate about collaborating with Malta-based individuals and brands who embrace this curated vision.

My Barefoot Island is a niche, Malta-based brand run by the talented Luiza Ioana Cimpean that reflects an organic, original and minimal sense of style. Each product that falls within the My Barefoot Island family has been carefully sourced from sustainable producers that - just like us - are incredibly focussed on the importance of quality and authenticity.

We love sharing such passion with our guests, which is why we have partnered with My Barefoot Island to provide guest beach towels that are traditional Turkish peshtemals made of 100% cotton.

 Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

 Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

Image courtesy of My Barefoot Island

These towels are known to be some of the most luxurious in the world. Deeply rooted in tradition, artisans have been crafting these beautiful pieces for centuries. 

Natural, handmade and perfect for those endless Maltese beach days.

 

Discovering the secrets of Maltese honey

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Honey in Malta

Malta was once known by the Greeks and Romans as the isle of Melite, which derives from the Greek word meli, meaning honey. In fact, beekeeping has a long history here, and a variety of rare sub-species of honey bees are native to this sunny Mediterranean isle.

Maltese honey was - and still is - considered a culinary delicacy, and traces of its historic roots may be found dotted across the isle in the remains of some of the oldest apiaries in the world that date back to Punic times.

Today, a handful of expert local beekeepers continue this age-old tradition, and none are more in-the-know than beekeepers Denise Farrugia and Ray Sciberras. Having nurtured a passion for beekeeping across decades, today, Denise and Ray manage over 150 individual hives dotted across all four corners of Malta with dedication and grounded pride.

Beekeeping at San Anton Palace
Beekeeping in Malta

Their honey is loved and appreciated by everyone from Presidents to Michelin-starred chefs from across the world. As they take you into hidden gardens and lesser-known corners of Malta where their hives are located, they will share the facts and history behind the complex honey-collecting process, explaining how it takes almost 30,000 bees up to 3 months to produce a single jar of honey. 

Their hives are patiently maintained with care as they ensure the bees are offered the best possible natural conditions within which to create their magic.

Honey in Malta
Honey in Malta

Offering an incredible glimpse into the natural process that creates the isle's prized golden bounty, a morning spent with Ray and Denise is nothing short of an incredible experience.

Offered as part of Locanda La Gelsomina's bespoke gastronomical private tour, step off the tourist track and drop us an email at info@locandalagelsomina.com to discover more.

'Blooming' - Birgu's March art exhibition & pop-up shop

JAD Jewelery
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Together for the second time - and once again in the enchanting space of Birgu's Local Council, which once housed knights of the Order of Saint John from the langue of France in the 16th century - Ro Art and JAD Jewelery are set to unveil their exploration of the concept of blooming. Something more than the representation or the much awaited Spring, 'Blooming' is a lively reflection on the strength and plenitude of life, with the vivid colours and rich shapes of the ceramics and the light transparencies of the jewels.

Inspired by nature and the unique spirit of the Maltese islands, this latest exhibition and pop-up boutique is sure to delight. 

10am to 5:30pm each day; 10am to 1pm on Sunday. 16 - 24 March 2018, Birgu Local Council, Auberge de France, Triq Hilda-Tabone.

A glimpse into 19th century Dockyard Creek

Dockyard in Malta

During their quasi-400-year-long-rule of Malta, the Knights of Malta established dockyard facilities within the Grand Harbour to maintain their fleet of galleys, which were spread across the towns of SengleaValletta and Vittoriosa.

When Malta became a British protectorate in 1800, these facilities were inherited, and gradually consolidated, by the Royal Navy. With the loss of Menorca, Malta swiftly became the Navy's principal Mediterranean base.

The Royal Navy Dockyard was initially located around Dockyard Creek, and occupied several of the dockyard buildings formerly used by the Knights of Malta. By 1850 the facilities included storehouses, a ropery, a small steam factory, victualling facilities, houses for the officers of the Yard, and most notably a dry dock – the first to be provided for a Royal Dockyard outside Britain. Begun in 1844, the dry dock was opened in 1847; ten years later it was extended to form a double dock (No. 1 and No. 2 dock). Allegedly, marble blocks from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, were used for the construction of these docks.

Just a short walk from Locanda La Gelsomina, Dockyard Creek offers a fascinating glimpse into the area's rich and varied past.

 

 

 

The healing sounds of Japanese Singing Rings

Yasuragi Sound at Locanda La Gelsomina boutique hotel
Yasuragi Singing Rings at Locanda La Gelsomina

Tucked away in the quiet lanes of charming Birgu, Locanda La Gelsomina is a haven of serenity - a private hideaway in which to regenerate in tranquility after a full day of explorations.

The decades spent living and travelling across the Far East have taught us that on our travels, regenerating the spirit is as important as regenerating the body and mind. In this spirit, within our peaceful space we offer our guests the unique opportunity to experience the healing energy of Japanese Singing Rings. 

In collaboration with Ayumi Kawashima, an experienced Japanese Singing Rings practitioner, you may discover the deep, sacred sounds of these ancient healing instruments which, when struck, emit a gentle yet powerful sound that lasts well over several minutes.

An experience that takes place in the privacy of your suite, Ayumi will both uplift, retune and reconnect you to your very roots through this unique sensory experience.

For further details or to book a session during your stay, please drop us an email at info@locandalagelsomina.com.

50 posters for Malta

50 posters for Malta
50 posters for Malta

We love seeing Malta-based creatives join forces, and even more so when it's for a common cause. 

The wonderful people at Creatives Malta have set in motion a collaborative exhibition, bringing together 50 Malta-based creatives to create unique posters that design-lovers can view and bid on at San Anton Palace. All proceeds raised will be devolved to The Malta Community Chest Fund, Children and Need Foundation, and Do Project.

For a taste of true Maltese creativity, check out www.creativesmalta.com or visit the Palace between 12 and 18 February 2018 (9am to 4pm each day).

Fascinating glimpse into Malta's WWII history at Birgu's Malta At War Museum

Malta At War Museum in Birgu
Couvre Porte air raid shelter at the Malta At War Museum

Malta's history is a rich and varied one, having left traces of its sometimes difficult past in the buildings and sites that dot this fascinating island's landscape.

Birgu is a true treasure-trove of historical points of interest, which bear testament to several of Malta's most important battles and sieges. The Malta At War Museum, located just a stone's throw away from Locanda La Gelsomina, stands to document the great ordeal which the brave people of Malta and their defenders endured during the dark days of the Malta Blitz in World War II.

The museum is housed in an 18th century army barracks, which served as a police station and air raid precautions centre during the war. It sits atop of a massive underground rock-cut air raid shelter which offered refuge to hundreds of people. The shelter has been restored and forms an enthralling part of of the museum experience.

With a rich collection of period artefacts and memorabilia on display, the Malta At War museum offers a unique glimpse into the Second World War, as seen through Malta's eyes.

The Malta at War Museum is open between Monday and Sunday from 10.00 till 17.00hrs. Frequent boat trips are available from Valletta and bus service 3 and 4 terminates within walking distance from the museum. Further details may be found at https://www.maltaatwarmuseum.com/

A month of yoga and wellness mini-retreats in February

 Image courtesy of Sanya Spa

Image courtesy of Sanya Spa

For the month of February, we've launched a restorative yoga and wellness mini-retreat in collaboration with boutique eco-spa Sanya in Naxxar.

Escape the winter blues and experience a weekend of relaxed Mediterranean vibes mixed in with pampering bliss as you indulge in a full day of massage treatments and yoga experiences along with some down time at Sanya's indoor pool and sauna facilities.  

Once refreshed and restored, take time out to explore the natural and historical beauties of Malta, along with the cultural highlights of the capital city Valletta, which has been crowned European Culture Capital for 2018. Return to your private hideaway at Locanda La Gelsomina and experience our personalised hospitality ethos. 

Our wellness package is available throughout the month of February, and may be booked direct through our Packages + Deals online page.

International Baroque Festival 2018 branches out to Birgu

 Image courtesy of Jordan Mixson

Image courtesy of Jordan Mixson

Baroque music-lovers rejoice. The Valletta International Baroque Festival 2018 is just around the corner, and with this year's title of European Culture Capita, Valletta promises to hold a baroque festival like no other.

In its 6th edition, the Baroque Festival shall be venturing out of Valletta to two other walled cities: Mdina, the old Siculo-Norman capital where one can still see the columns of Roman temples in its foundations, and our very own neighbourhood of Birgu, which was the island's capital during the time of the Knights between 1530 and 1571.

The Festival shall kick off on 13 January with a performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Concerto Köln at the Teatru Manoel, and will run through until January 28. Highlights include a performance by Iranian harpsichord player Mahan Esfahani and period instruments ensemble Ghislieri Choir & Consort

To view the full programme, head over to the official Festival website here.