Malta: the true jewel of the Mediterranean ….
>If flying in or out of Malta, you’re guaranteed to pass through the graceful arches of Malta International (MLA), the island’s only • and multi-award-winning • airport. Serving the entire Maltese archipelago, it is located just 5km south of island capital Valletta, a name still occasionally used for the airport itself. Arriva Malta’s express buses serve the airport as do the taxis outside though if you know where you’re heading • or are a nervous passenger • consider renting a car in advance.This small airport’s big ambitions are paying off. In 2010, Passenger Terminal World named it the “Most Noteworthy Airport for a new Small Budget Programme”. Added to the “Best Airport in Category” from the ACI Europe Awards and the “Best Airport in Europe” in an Airport Service Quality survey, Malta International’s excellent reputation precedes it. Brand new CEO Markus Klaushofer hopes to take the airport from strength to strength from 2012, improving on its record passenger numbers of 3.5 million in 2011.A hub for Air Malta, this clean, modern and efficient airport is also used by charter and seasonal airlines including Ryanair, Easyjet, Lufthansa, Emirates and Alitalia. Three of its four busiest routes are to the UK, and Air France’s new Toulouse route will operate from April 2012. This adds to the growing confidence in Malta, ‘Jewel of the Med’, as a world-class destination.
Complemented by courteous and service-focused staff, the retail experience at Malta’s award-winning airport is as impressive as you’d hope. At Arrivals, there is a Nuance Duty Free Store. This is the place to pick up your tax-free holiday cocktail ingredients, such as flavoured Absolut Vodka, spicy Sailor Jerry Rum, or Chivas Regal Gold Signature Whisky. For duty-free tobacco products to enjoy alongside, consider Marlboro, Camel or Benson and Hedges cigarettes, or top up the humidor with the refined cigars of Habanos, Davidoff or Agio.
Perfumes available at the three Nuance Duty Free stores (one in Arrivals, two in Departures) include Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Cacharel, Avril Lavigne and Nina Ricci. Masculine eau de cologne comes from Paco Rabanne, Lacoste, Aramis, Yves Saint Laurent and Diesel. For the perfect gift, select a travel-exclusive tester or coffret set. Why have one scent when five will do…If your hunger for sustenance outweighs your desire to bag a bargain, Malta International has a plethora of food and beverage outlets, with the Jet Express Food Court in the Departures Hall. It has a McDonald’s and a KFC; the Connections and Flite Bite Cafés; and Fat Harry’s English Pub. For something more substantial try Noor’s Indian, Chinese and Turkish Restaurant or the Cucina Italiana Mirabelle. To pep up your energy levels, visit the Hard Rock Café instead • the world’s first airport presence for this big-hitting brand.In the public Check In Hall is a Claire’s Accessories outlet for fun holiday costume jewellery and accessories, as well as a top-end Classic Opticians and Classic Jewellery outlet. Dress your face first with stunning designer frames from Maui Jim, Guess, Police, Gucci, Prada, Ben Sherman or Ray Ban, in readiness to browse the high-level glitz and glam of the beautiful jewellery nearby.
Classic Jewellery houses the pearl earrings, luxurious diamonds, and gold and silverware of over 30 of the world’s most highly esteemed jewellers such as Cartier, Miluna, Nimei, Ebel and Rado. Create time to browse their watches, too, with wonderful wrist wear for him and her from Versace, Tissot, Accurist, Juicy Couture and Emporio Armani.
The Arrivals Hall has a convenience store with a pharmacy for those last-minute essentials. It also boasts a Melita TV-Internet-Mobile outlet and a Vodafone store, to take care of all your cell phone accessories, cases and personal entertainment needs. If your luggage is showing its age, visit the Samsonite store to replace it with this season’s newer, sexier model.
Airside in Departures is where the real fun begins. Fashionistas will make a beeline for French Connection, or the Jet Set branded fashion store. This is home of world-famous Calvin Klein and Guess denim and fashions, as well as stylish Billabong surf wear, sunglasses and watches from loved brands like Dior, Nike, D&G, Swatch and Fossil.
Jewellery fans have yet more treats in store, with the enticing boutiques of Diamonds International, Swarovski and Bling Costume Jewellery • whose elegant ranges include those of designers Chete & Laroche, Avalon and Majique. So whether it’s a sophisticated Swarovski crystal set, a romantic gift of diamonds or a great value conversation-starter to top off that bikini • Departures is where it’s at. Malta is known as the jewel of the Med • it certainly has enough of them on sale at its airport!
The Non-Schengen Departures area has a third Nuance Duty Free store, offering spirits, tobacco, perfumes and confectionary. There is another • you guessed it • jewellery store, Cielo Venezia 1270, whose mission statement is ‘to bring happiness through jewellery’. From rings and charms to cufflinks and earrings, their high-quality Italian craftsmanship is sure to live up to their hopes for it.
The Singular skincare and Cosmetics store here brims over with the world’s favourite names in lipstick, mascara, cosmetics and skincare. Think Clarins, Too Faced, Christian Dior, Lancôme, Origins and Chanel. If you’re a sucker for the unique, pick up one of their exclusive gift-boxed sets or travel compacts and, better still, pre-order first and collect your great value purchases on departure. Prices are typically at least 20% below local market prices.