by Matt Alderton | March 10, 2017
Although most Americans would be hard-pressed to point it out on a map, Malta is a rising star among European destinations. Beloved for its Mediterranean climate, historic towns, and maritime culture, it's an ideal location for meetings and incentives -- and is about to become even more so thanks to Hard Rock International, which last week announced plans to open its third European resort on the island nation in 2020.

"In the past few years we've seen Malta's tourism sector on a steady rise, with the destination reporting nearly 2 million visitors in 2016," said Arthur Gauci, chief executive officer of Seabank Group, the hotel's Maltese developer. "As the world takes notice and Maltese tourism booms, we're thrilled to work with Hard Rock to bring an upscale and never-before-seen experience to the island."

Joining Hard Rock resorts in Ibiza and Tenerife, Spain, Hard Rock Hotel Malta will be located in the St. George's Bay area of St. Julian's, a town north of the Maltese capital, Valletta. Part of a new mixed-use development called db City Centre -- which will boast a shopping mall, luxury residences, and modern office spaces -- the seafront hotel will offer 370 guest rooms, including 110 suites with balcony views, as well as a multi-course signature restaurant, a rooftop lounge and bar, numerous pools, a 16,000-square-foot spa, a fitness center, and over 37,000 square feet of function space, including Malta's largest convention center.

The hotel will be constructed around a 19th-century building that used to be living quarters for the British military. Prior to opening, Hard Rock said, the historic site will be fully restored.

"Malta draws in travelers from around the world given its central Mediterranean location, idyllic charm, rich cultural history, and vast array of activities -- from scuba diving to exploring prehistoric temples -- and we are thrilled to be part of a project that will provide travelers and locals with the country's first true entertainment destination," said Marco Roca, executive vice president of global hotel development at Hard Rock International.