Splurge, Spend, Save… Santa Marija-time

Here’s a short guide of what to do in our sister-island during Santa Marija… whether you’re a big spender, a ‘Scrooge’ or somewhere in between.

Where to stay

SPLURGE: The Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz is pure unbridled luxury. This 5-star resort is surrounded by semi-tropical gardens and it also comprises a spa centre  offering a variety of therapies, as well as myriad restaurants offering only the finest of dining. Sporty types are also catered for with various pools and a fitness centre which includes a gym and tennis courts.

SPEND: The Grand Hotel is situated in Mġarr and its location has a nice, calming effect, especially if you opt for one of their seaview rooms with a view of the harbour. The hotel has both indoor and outdoor pools and added a spa to its amenities a couple of years ago.

SAVE: Proof that you don’t have to break the bank to stay in a nice place, Murella Living is located in Marsalforn. Small but perfectly formed, the rooms are lovely and clean, and the staff if super friendly. Their breakfast, which you can have in their little  garden, is a wonderful start to the day.

Where to eat

SPLURGE: I haven’t been in a while (yes this is a hint to my nearest-and-dearest… my birthday isn’t that far off) but my favourite part of eating at Ta’ Frenc in Xagħra was always the heavenly bread which is baked in-house. The food is consistently exquisite and the service impeccable. I also like that the products – including the sea salt – are sourced locally, when possible. They even use honey from a beekeeper who lives right next door.

SPEND: If you fancy a meal by the sea, Il-Kartell is perfect for you. This family-run eatery has been running since the early 1970s and the restuarant is  built amongst the original structures of three boat houses. The menu contains items which are hearty and filling.

SAVE: There’s nothing like some delicious traditional Maltese nibbles when you’re out andabout. And, when in Gozo, there’s probably nowhere better than Rikardu  to have it. Just thinking of their ħobz biż żejt and ravjul is making my mouth water.

Where to go with the kids

SPLURGE: This is an easy one. Just visit one of the many shopping centres in Gozo, such as The Duke Shopping Mall, Arkadia and Tigrija Palazz and let them run free in the kids section or the stationery. Alternatively you can stock up on their clothes and shoes (children are expensive).

SPEND: Ninu’s Cave and Xerri’s Grotto are both found in Xagħra. For the princely sum of a donation of between €1.00 and €2.50, you and the kids can visit these caves, which are found under private property. Both caves include stalagmites and stalactites, with Xerri’s Grotto being the larger of the two.

SAVE: Gozo boasts a number of lovely beaches and the sprogs will surely enjoy a day splashing about for the price of a bottle of sunscreen, some drinks and, perhaps and ice cream or two. Definitely worth it!