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  • Mediterranean Suite at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz.
    Mediterranean Suite at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz.
  • The luxurious Phoenician Malta.
    The luxurious Phoenician Malta.

BONJOUR WORLD: A weeklong trip boasting history and luxury any time of year 

I forgot how much I loved the island of Gozo (, in the Mediterranean and one of the three islands that make up the country of Malta.

You will fly into Malta’s capital city of Valletta and from there take a ferry for the short to Gozo.

You can take the fast ferry or there is a car ferry. The car ferry is a more leisurely choice to arrive in Gozo, and you will get the local feel.

Once in Gozo I was finally on my way to the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz ( – the reason for my visit as they were undergoing a huge renovation for their reopening in the spring.

Since it was the holiday when I arrived there were holiday trees and music playing in the lobby at the and an overall joyful feeling of the season.

Gozo is in the heart of the Mediterranean, and the property is an excellent place year-round to get a luxurious Mediterranean vibe. In fact, if you are looking for a summer, fall, winter or spring getaway this is the place to call home while visiting the historical sites that are plentiful in Gozo.

The rooms are spacious at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz with balconies that offer views of the island’s countryside, rich with secluded beaches, caves to discover and the beautiful Mediterranean sea.

The Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz is set in a semi-tropical garden atmosphere with 141 rustic rooms and suites and the Ayurveda spa should be your first stop offering three outdoor pools, two heated indoor pools, an indoor whirlpool bath, an Asian Hammam, and a steam chamber.

You will also find plenty of dining options at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz beginning with L-Istorja. This gem is the best way to truly embark on a gastronomic journey featuring the flavors of Maltese and Gozitan cuisines. The restaurant’s name means ‘history,’ and the culinary experience features the history of Gozo’s diverse cultural influences. From a taste of the Middle East to the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, Italians, French and British, the culinary landscape of this island is part of the charm and L-Istorja will not disappoint.

The L’Ortolan restaurant offers themed buffets during the summer months in the atmosphere of an al fresco terrace perfect for a Mediterranean night.

Other dining options include the Il-Baldakkin Gastrobar on the hotel’s terrace with views for miles and light meal choices, sweet indulgences at ARJA la Patisserie, and the Pool Bar features expert mixologists alongside Spanish tapas and homemade ice cream/sorbet. 

While it might be hard to leave the relaxing space at the Kempinski, the island of Gozo is rich with historical must-sees.

The Kempinski San Lawrenz is in the west of Gozo. San Lawrenz was originally known as Ta’ Cangura the name derived from the dedication of an old chapel that was in the area dating back to at least 1575. 

Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago of three islands. The third being Comino, these days not inhabited. Gozo is 26 square miles, which is roughly the size of Manhattan. 

Known for some of the oldest freestanding stone buildings in the world, Gozo’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites date back to 3600 BC. 

Expect all around the island stunning architecture, a nod to the knights of Malta’s history, watchtowers, mystical caves, and magical hills and valleys. There is as much to do in Gozo as your time allows and the energy is worth the discovery on this tiny mystical island.

If you know of Calypso’s cave from Homer’s Odyssey, the legend began here where the sea nymph held Odysseus captive under her spell for seven years. 

You do not want to miss the Ggantija Temples, 5000 years old from the megalithic age and of course a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are two temples to explore with the south temple being the oldest. And do note, these temples actually dwarf the other Maltese prehistoric temples in Malta and Gozo.

The Xaghra Circle Hypogeum became widely known in the early 1800s and was forgotten for a time until rediscovered in 1959. The circles are located near the Ggantija Temples. The excavations led to the discovery of natural caves inside the circles that were used as underground burial sites for the people who were making use of the circles from around 4500 to 2500 BC. 

After that time, the temple people seemed to have disappeared from the area leaving no clues as to their history or new location. 

You will not be disappointed when visiting the gargantuan blocks of stone and you will hear of Sansuna “the strong woman of Ggantija” as part of the legend of the megalithic temples at Xaghra. These stones are so large the belief is Gozo was once inhabited by giants and it was said Sansuna moved these blocks herself to build the temple.

Salt pans are a worthy stop dating back to 1740 and still used today. During the summer visitors might also be able to get a view of the salt harvesting with the Cini family still at the helm of this tradition.

Many guests come to Gozo for the Citadel, which dominates the landscape above the town of Victoria. This place has been the scene of much island activity since Neolithic times and is the only cathedral on the island with no dome. 

For a brilliant sunset Dwejra Bay is recommended. Notice the rugged beauty of the place and take in the timeless energy. Also, at Dwejra Bay there is a watchtower dating back to 1562 and as for sunsets, if you climb to the top the sunset becomes even more magical as you are surrounded by the island.

Gozo, so full of mystery and magic and as the sun sets here it is certainly an ephemeral moment not to be forgotten. 

You will also want to spend a few nights in Valleta since you will likely be landing there too late to catch a ferry to Gozo on your arrival.

I have been to Malta ( and the neighboring Maltese Island of Gozo a number of times and I have never been disappointed.

In Valletta I highly recommend the luxurious Phoenician Malta ( with my only regret being I was there for only one short night. 

Since it was the December holiday season just outside the hotel was a carnival with local food booths and amusement park rides. I decided to ride the Ferris wheel to see Malta from a bird’s eyes view.

It was charming just as I remembered.

The Phoenician Malta is surrounded by pristine landscaped gardens and located in the capital of Valletta just near the city’s 16th Century bastions. The property has been welcoming guests for 75 years and is indeed a five-star stop. Think friendly staff, and excellently appointed rooms/suites designed with the help of Peter Young keeping the original features along with an up-to-date feel. There are also bar and restaurant choices and do stop in at the well-appointed Contessa for dinner where the chef uses local and seasonal ingredients for the most inspiring flavors.

Malta and Gozo are old world charms with modern character etched into the stones of history. 

For me, it is a place I return again and again and I am always delighted.

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125