We've been at home in Southwestern Pennsylvania almost exactly three days now, and I'm sitting here watching the snow ac***ulate. It started about 7:00 AM and now (2:00 PM) it is about four inches deep. The heaviest snowfall is due between 10:00 PM today and 8:00 AM tomorrow. We could have a foot of snow before it ends. For comparison, I was talking with a middle-aged Maltese citizen who said he has never seen snow.
As usual, the flight home was the worst part of the trip. London Heathrow is a terrible airport for passenger amenities. It can handle a lot of passengers in a short period of time, but not one of them is comfortable. But we made all connections and arrived at Washington Dulles Airport on time and unscathed.
A summarization of our 27 days at Seabank All-Inclusive Resort Hotel in Mellieha, Malta: Fabulous! The room was quite comfortable, the food and beverage service was more than adequate, the staff was very polite, attentive, and friendly, and the amenities all one could hope for. The only commercial establishments within walking distance were other hotels, but the availability and cost of bus transportation made that a non-problem. We took a bus ride about every other day, some for shopping, some to tour specific sites, and some for just general sightseeing.
I booked the Seabank Hotel because my initial research indicated that the other hotels in the vicinity were not all-inclusive. I found out that most of them are. Some that are not all-inclusive have self-catering facilities. We were not there long enough to get bored with the variety of food being served in the various dining venues, but it was getting close. If I were planning to stay more than one month I might like the option of preparing my own meals, at least part of the time.
The main urban center of Malta is Valletta and the surrounding cities. You can't tell when you pass from Valletta into Sliema into St. Julians into Paceville... I would not much want to stay in that area. I did encounter a retired proffesor from Boston who has, for several years, rented an apartment in Valletta for the entire winter. He says it is much cheaper and more interesting than anything in Florida, USA. He also said that two-thirds of the apartments in the city of Valletta are vacant. When the work day is over Valletta becomes almost a ghost-town. All the action moves to Sliema, St. Julians, and, especially, Paceville. Incidentally, Paceville has the Italian pronunciation, PAH-chay-ville.
So I, personally, would not want to stay in the urban center. But Mellieha might be just a little too remote. A good compromise, and one that boasts a number of all-inclusive or self-catering hotels, is the town of Bugibba. It is larger and more commercially developed than Mellieha. It is a bus hub from which you can reach out to almost the whole island. From Mellieha we had to change buses in either Bugibba or Valletta to get to some areas. An example of a hotel in the Bugibba area that might bare investigation is one called the Coastal View Hotel. It is used by Saga Holidays for their extended stay vacation packages that are similar to the Classic Costa del Sol that GCT used to offer.
I'm sure there were some that I did not encounter, but our friends, Marty and Shirley, along with my First Mate and me, were the only North Americans tourists we met. I forgot the Boston professor. We asked the reception manager at the hotel if there were other Americans there and he said he did not remember ever having seen Americans there in the winter. There were a few in the summer but never more than 10 at a time. The hotel holds about 1,000.
There is a great contrast in the guest demographics between summer and winter, and between weekdays and weekends in the winter. Summers and winter weekends are the time for families with young children. Winter weekdays are for senior citizens, mostly from the United Kingdom and Germany. Sunday night through Thursday night there were about 200 guests at the hotel. Friday night and Saturday night the number was closer to 1,000. It was interesting but we were glad to go to breakfast on Monday morning and not have to fight for a table or for space at the buffet lines.
The evening entertainment was tolerable but not great. They had a resident corps of singers and dancers, augmented by occassional "headliners". The resident entertainers were probably better than the headliners. As proof we were there in the off season, the resident troup numbered about 15 in the summertime. It was 6 or 7 while we were there and a couple were leaving each week and being replaced. And the quality was going down while the newcomers were being trained.
The exception to the mediocrity of the entertainers was Domenika, a young Slovakian dancer. She was very talented, very flexible, and very energetic. She was also very responsive to anyone who showed any interest in talking with her. She is leaving Seabank this week to take a job with another resort in Greece for the coming year.
The other staff person we developed a special raport with was Dimitri. Dimitri is 19 years old, from Serbia, and he is basically a busser and buffet replenisher in the main dining room. On our last day he was ready for us to come to lunch. He pulled us aside to pose with him while the diningroom host took our picture with Dimitri's cell phone. We also had our cameras and likewise got pictures.
I think in all the posts I have made to this thread I have covered the trip pretty well. But if you have any specific questions, just ask and I'll provide an answer. Answers are plentiful; accurate answers a bit more rare.