Did you know Gibraltar is the only place in the world where they stop a 4 lane highway (for cars and people) to allow an aircraft to land and take off?It is super amazing to see if you like that sort of stuff.
Kev & I were contemplating going away once people started travelling out the country. We kept on looking at Italy and then Feebee from Where’s The Rooftop put a post up on her getaway to Gibraltar. Somewhere neither of us had even considered.
British Airways had a sale on and for around £600 we got flights and accommodation (B&B) for 2 at Sunborn for 4 nights, 2 weeks before departing.
The flight was around 2 1/2 hours and on time if not earlier. Onboard we got individual packets with a packet of crisps and biscuits. Hot drinks were served too. For the first time in ages, we had a good BA experience. We felt safe on the plane. On entering we were handed a sachet of hand sanitiser and an antibacterial wipe. We were required to fill in an online form, once we checked in, before landing in Gibraltar and the UK.
We got the early flight from Heathrow and were at Gibraltar airport, on our way to the hotel by 11 am.
The Hotel – Sunborn Gibraltar
Sunborn is in a prime location, in Ocean Village Marina. It is only a few minutes walk into the main town and has perfect views of The Rock and the runway.
The hotel is 15 minutes walk from the airport if you fancy it, or around £7 by taxi. You cannot miss it – it is the massive Yacht Hotel.
The design is quite cool and makes it unique. They have done a great job making it feel like a cruise ship. They have another hotel in London, with the same concept.
We checked in and were greeted with some Cava. Always a nice touch to have especially after our little walk. We were upgraded to a Super Yacht Deluxe room with views of the Marina and a Juilet balcony. Everything in the room was controlled by a high tech system including opening/closing of the curtains (Kev was impressed). The room had a big bathroom and had all the amenities we needed. Toiletries were Molton Brown.
The Hotel currently has two restaurants, Barbary and La Sala. There are two bars, Aqua (top deck) and Sapphire. There is an onboard casino and spa (treatment only) and fitness suite.
Breakfast was served at Barbary. We enjoyed it everyday because there was a nice variety. I altered every day whereas Kev stuck to the American breakfast which came with Eggs Royale as well as Avocado, bacon and tomatoes on sourdough.
The staff were accommodating throughout the visit. The hotel was clean with hand sanitisers dotted around.
The top deck was home to their small pool, sun loungers, seating areas and Aqua Bar. We managed to get loungers every day.
The only downside of the hotel is the pool size. It’s small and freezing but ideal for a dip to cool down. For a hotel this size, I think the pool needs to be bigger.
Things to do in Gibraltar
We loved our stay there and I reckon we will be back pretty soon. As it is part of the British Overseas Territory, you can pay in pounds, have your British comforts (if that is what you like) and have some sort of security about getting back home (well that was our thinking).
The location makes it perfect for the weather (it was over 20 degrees and sunny everyday middle of October). The nearby neighbours make it very multicultural too. Food from neighbouring Morrocco and Spain is very popular. We were never stuck of what to eat. From curries to pasta to tapas…there is something for everyone. I was trying to find a local dish and all I came across on the internet is Calentita but I could not find it anywhere despite being a national food.
The mini tax haven is perfect if you want to treat yourself too. Limits apply on what you can bring back home. If you start at Main Street and walk along the side roads you will come across great shops for perfume, sunglasses and much more.
As soon as we told everyone we were going to Gibraltar, many just said be careful of the monkeys. The only place we saw monkeys were at the Top of the Rock. They are living in the wild and will try and grab food off you. As long as you don’t have plastic bags and your bags are secure and close to you, you are fine.
There is a lot of history in Gibraltar and you can walk the tunnels and have many historic walks. We did not have time for any of these (and did not research enough before we left).
Day 1 (arrival)
- Lunch at Las Iguanas. This was on our doorstep and while we waiting for our room to get ready we popped out for some lunch. The have BOGOF on cocktails all day every day (but unlike home they are not watered down). It so happened on Monday they have bogof burritos too. Bargain! It was a cheap and cheerful lunch.
- Went to the Top of the Rock via the Gibraltar Cable Car. We booked a tour package with the cable car and dolphin watching for £34pp. There is a yellow and blue tour company. The hotel recommended the yellow one, Dolphin adventure so we went with them. They were cheaper too.
The cable car is a good idea however next time I would get a tour up. On the door, tickets are £17 excluding the nature reserve. At the Top of the Rock, you get excellent panoramic views and if you know where to look you can see Africa. The Top of the rock is famous for the notorious monkeys. As long as you don’t have plastic bags and your bags are secure like backpack you are fine.
- Enjoyed a cocktail and cream tea on the Terrace of The Rock Hotel. The Hotel has had famous celebrities staying there and has its own wall of fame. My Espresso Martini was £5 and the Cream Tea £9. The Hotel is opposite the botanical gardens which are supposed to be lovely. One for the next visit
- Enjoyed sunset drinks at the Aqua Pool Bar at Sunborn, the hotel we were staying at
- After breakfast, we headed to the top deck of the hotel to catch some rays
- Around 2pm we went on our dolphin tour. Lucky for us the boat departs from the Marina by the hotel so we did not have a long walk. the tour was amazing. You can walk around the boat and the tour guide lets you know where to look when he spots some pods. The tour guides don’t force the dolphins to come near the boat- they leave it to nature and if the dolphins feel comfortable they come along. We saw some lovely pods and it is so nice to see them in the wild, in their element. The tour lasts around 1.5 hours.
- For drinks and early dinner, we headed to Rendezvous Chargrill on Queensway Quay Marina. We enjoyed the most scrumptious prawns pil pil and meat platter. Paired with happy hour drinks and views of the Marina this was a good end to the day. For £50 we had lots to eat and drink and watched the sunset.
- It was beach day and we decided after have a huge breakfast to walk to Catalan Bay (35 minutes from Ocean Village or £8 taxi or £ 6-day bus pass). This is home to beautiful colourful houses (a bit like Tobermory but warmer), soft sand and pretty waters. It is also a great place for those who love picking shells. The other beach we went to was Sandy Bay which is 10 minutes walk from here. The sand there is even softer however it gets the shade first in the evening.
- We enjoyed Lunch at Nunos, in Caleta Hotel. Priced at £25pp for two courses this was so delicious and great value. Each dish was presented with care and flavoursome. We got complimentary bread and amuse-bouche too. The hotel is on Catalan Bay and the outdoor seating has views of the sea.
- We had a big lunch and after some more sunbathing, we walked back down to Main street. This is where all the shops are (a bit like High Streets). Expect a mixture of small and big retails, some of which you may be familiar with if you live in the UK.
- If you love coffee make sure you enjoy the ones from Sacarellos Cafe. Locals enjoy it here too and the latte is one of the best I had in Gibraltar.
- Started with some pool and sun time along with trying to watch the planes take off. There are probably about 4-6 a day so not many. The wind also needs to be blowing in the right direction for us to see the plane take off from the runway by the hotel.
- It was our last full day and of course, shopping was on the cards. Seruya is well known for its perfume and there are about 4 branches on Main Street. Prices are the same everywhere (around 10-15% off the marked price). If you like your designer wear Laboutik is great.
- Gibraltar has many Vegan eateries and though I am not Vegan, I love anything pretty. We stopped at The Kasbar, just off the Main Street for a drink and snack. I had their beetroot latte and Kev had a chocolate shake. Both pretty and delicious.
- After shopping, we headed back to the hotel for a final happy hour drink before going to Curry & Sushi for dinner. Located in Irish Town, this was No 1 on Trip Advisor and it did not fail. The owners are Goan and serve us some great dishes. I went for their sushi was perfectly put together and Kev had biryani with his lamb curry which he enjoyed.
- On the walk back to the hotel I spotted Bubble Waffle Cafe on Casemates Square. We shared one and that filled the sweetness gap well.
The next day the hotel gave us late check out (130pm) so we were able to get some last-minute Vitamin D before getting the flight back home.
Have you been to Gibraltar? If it was not for Covid19 we would have gone to Spain too and made a longer break. Though Gibraltar is small there is so much to do and before our next visit I will definitely be doing a bit more planning.