Malta and Gozo have many sites and attractions, mainly cultural heritage and historical that attract millions of tourists each year. But the wonders of this island don’t stop there. In 1962 a Maltese family decided to upgrade their small restaurant. Fast forward six decades and the same family now helms the Corinthia Group of Companies, which includes dozens of elegant in some of the world’s greatest cities.
Humble Beginning to Corinthia Group
Back in 1962, the Pisani family decided to upgrade a small restaurant they owned on the then-sleepy borderline of the two central Malta villages of Attard and Balzan. By 1968 the eatery was converted into the Corinthia Palace Malta, which was inaugurated by the late Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
At the time, the wisdom of this was highly questionable. An island hotel far from the coast? The idea seemed dubious. Malta and Gozo were then in the throes of boosting tourism, and hotel development always favoured coastal settings with views of the blue Mediterranean Sea. However, the excellent deluxe standard of the Corinthia Palace Malta and the sedate quiet of its setting proved to be highly popular. Besides, in Malta you are never farther than a stone’s throw from the sea.
As a dating couple, my wife and I first visited the Corinthia Palace Hotel to attend her brother’s engagement celebration and we were highly impressed by property as well as by the overall efficiency and the poise of the event. Subsequently, we have returned many times to visit the excellent bars and restaurants in the hotel which has continued to excel in stature and reputation.
Today, the Corinthia Group of Companies is still retained and run by the Pisani family. To consolidate its owned hotels, manage the Corinthia brand, and undertake future business acquisitions and development, International Hotel Investments p.l.c. (IHI) was established as the group’s publicly traded holding company in 2000. The company now operates 24 hotels on three continents, 15 of which are Corinthia Brand hotels. Eight new hotels were recently under development in Brussels, Rome, Bucharest, Moscow, Doha, New York and Malta.
Corinthia Developments International (CDI) has lately been involved in securing investment, and planning further development projects in Cannes, Malta, Rome, New York and Moscow, IHI also owns significant land for future development in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Libya and Malta.
The Man Behind the Empire
The genius mainspring behind all this is Mr Alfred Pisani, born in Malta in 1939 and still the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. From a one-hotel company in 1968, under Pisani’s guidance, the Group has diversified into equity participation, management, development and industrial catering, with an estimated worth of €1.6 billion.
Pisani’s continued passion for hotel development has his aspirations set on the creation of a six-star hotel, providing the ultimate state of absolute luxury. It’s a project and investment he said, “is not just in a Corinthia project. It is also an investment in Malta for Malta.”
It is with a great sense of pride that I can say my wife and I were early clients and continue to be visitors to the many superb restaurants in the Corinthia Palace Hotel, including the very first upmarket Chinese Restaurant in Malta, as well as several continental restaurants at manageable prices, and the best of fare in such beautiful surroundings.
Where to Find Corinthia Group Hotels?
If you’re a world traveller, and one who appreciates elegant hotels, there’s a good chance you’ve bumped into one. Among the properties fully owned by Corinthia Group are:
Corinthia St George’s Bay Malta
Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort Malta
Among the hotels managed, not owned, by Corinthia Group:
Hotel Verdi in Rome
Corinthia Grand Hotel du Boulevard Bucharest
So, whenever you stay at a Corinthia Hotel, know that you’re mingling with a little bit of Maltese history and a lot of Maltese pride.
Be Seeing You In: Malta
Good to know: Last year Corinthia Palace Malta celebrated its 50th anniversary by commencing a year-long significant refurbishment of the property
WOW! Factor: The Group is planning to open a new Corinthia Hotel in Doha in 2024, along with a beach and yacht club
Tip: It’s hard to pick one favourite property, so try a few
Author bio: Albert Fenech