Be my guest... in Malta

Monday, November 01, 2010

Be my guest... in Malta

We are

Christiane and Blair Drummond from Richmond, Surrey. Christiane is a marketing communications consultant and Blair is a PR consultant specialising in the waste management and recycling sector.

We own

A three-bedroom seafront apartment in Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu) overlooking Grand Harbour and Kalkara Creek. Fully equipped, the apartment offers a high standard of contemporary accommodation for holidaymakers seeking a quiet, relaxing holiday on the doorstep of one of Malta's most beautiful and historic cities. There is a large, open-plan kitchen and dining area/sitting room that opens out on to a balcony with stunning sea views. As we spend at least eight weeks a year there, the apartment is fully furnished as a home rather than a holiday let.

We chose

Malta because, having been brought up on the island, I [Christiane] have a very strong emotional connection and feel at home there. The climate, ease of access from the UK, lively Mediterranean culture, political and economic stability, the friendliness of the Maltese people, and the widespread use of the English language are all additional factors.

We also love the fact that Malta is steeped in history ranging from some of the oldest temples ever built (3,800BC), the wealth of 16th-Century dwellings built by the Knights of St John – including the city of Valletta – to the numerous 17th-Century forts and bastions. Virtually everywhere you go there are buildings and sites of significant historical interest. Having initially briefed the estate agent to find us a property in the Sliema area where I had lived as a child, we rapidly realised that Vittoriosa offered much better value and a more relaxing and interesting environment in which to live and entertain our family and friends.

We rent out

Our apartment throughout the year, although Easter and the summer months have been the most popular so far. As our main purpose for letting is to cover running costs and repayments on the loan we have just taken on our second Malta property, we offer very competitive rates of between €550 (£470) per week in low season to €750 (£641) in the summer. We chose HomeAway Holiday-Rentals to advertise our apartment because it not only offers really good marketing advice and support, but it provides excellent access to most global markets – we have already had guests from Canada and Australia – as well as really good performance in the search engine rankings. We take a 25 per cent deposit on confirmation of the booking with the balance payable eight weeks before guests arrive.

We have excellent neighbours who show guests into the apartment, together with a cleaner and a local taxi firm that picks up our guests from the airport. Although we have only been renting out the apartment since the beginning of 2010 , we have found that although we have received a large number of enquiries, the guests who actually make the bookings are mainly middle-aged, middle income friends and families who are looking for a location that can genuinely cater for differing needs. There so much to do – from sitting on the balcony reading to clubbing the night away in Paceville, or sunbathing on the rocks below the apartment to visiting the numerous museums and other attractions on the apartment's doorstep.

We pay

A very high ground rent to the Maltese Government together with annual service charges to cover the security, external cleaning, lighting and management of the whole development of 13 apartment blocks. Utility costs have also risen dramatically in the last 12-18 months and electricity and water costs are now extremely high. We also have telecoms costs that cover cable TV, internet and telephone charges. Our annual outgoings are in the region of €3,500 (£2,991), plus the loan repayments, so the apartment has to earn its keep.

For more information on the Drummonds' apartment visit www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p439983

Author

A Place In The Sun