A spa weekend to crown them all
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Valletta Harbour: the Maltese capital is a stroll from the Fortina resort
Going to the dentist may sound an odd thing to do on holiday, but not for those obsessed with improving their smile. Malta’s innovative Fortina resort has added cosmetic dentistry and cut-price crowns and veneers — as well as laser-accelerated bleaching — in a state of the art clinic for about half the price of Britain.
And crowns can be milled on the spot, so what is a two-step treatment at home can be done in Malta in one. I watched a movie while waiting for my teeth to lighten painlessly, something I couldn't do it Britain.
But even more diverting than the dentist’s visit was my “spa bedroom”. There are so many DIY machines in the bathrooms that a beauty therapist gives you a demonstration after you check in.
The bathtub turns out to be a programmable hydrotherapy bath of the kind usually seen only in thalassotherapy spas; the shower converts to a steam room and a rather frightening-looking machine resembling a hyperbaric chamber proves to be an effective moisturising system.
You get in, apply serum and lie on a gently vibrating mattress for half an hour while your skin gently steams. There’s a private Jacuzzi behind every bed, and some rooms also have private rooftop lap pool.
If visiting the Fortina for whitening, be sure to eat at the hotel’s Indian restaurant the night before you get the treatment. Turmeric and other spices associated with the subcontinent are highly coloured, and the dentist rightly warns you off red foods, red wine, tea and coffee in the 48 hours after treatment when teeth remain exceptionally porous. There are still some great ethnic dining choices, however.
The sushi and tempura served in the Japanese restaurant were world-class, likewise the buffalo mozzarella in the Italian section, freshly imported from Sicily, Malta’s near neighbour.
Food — except for a boring breakfast buffet — is a high point in this all-inclusive resort. Still, for one nursing newly-whiter teeth, eggs on toast cooked to order were welcome, especially where the bread is so delicious.
The spa offers as many authentically Asian treatment choices as the dining room. There are full-blown Japanese, Indonesian and Indian rituals, as well as classic massage. There are warm lava shells (an alternative to hot stones) and facials are available too. Treatments are extra — and not cheap — but guests receive free use of the spa’s steam and sauna area. Yoga is offered several times a week, sometimes at Fortina’s Lido, whose pool offers a stunning view of the golden stone Valletta skyline. You could easily stroll into town or to good shopping nearby, but frankly, with so many therapists, dentists, ethnic chefs and DIY spa machines waiting to nurture you, you probably wouldn’t have time.