Sunborn Gibraltar
Sunborn Gibraltar

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Best Hotels in Gibraltar 2023 for a luxury or budget holiday!

By | 28 March, 2023 | 0 comments

The Independent Newspaper, Stephen Phelan

Monday 13th March 2023

What an oddity is Gibraltar – so ordinary, from certain angles, and yet so spectacularly out of place. A stray chunk of Blighty, replete with most of our familiar high-street shops and banks, transplanted to the far end of continental Europe, where the Iberian landmass heaves itself up a final limestone precipice and almost tips over onto North Africa.

The Rock, as we know it, was ceded to the British Crown as a spoil of war some 310 years ago, and only granted “city” status in 2022 (correcting a longstanding admin error). While residents remain pretty emphatic about their sovereignty, post-Brexit convolutions may soon see them absorbed into the EU’s Schengen area, potentially allowing visitors to skip across that thin frontier from Spain without even showing a passport.

 Whatever the outcome of those ongoing talks, Gibraltar tends to reward the curious weekender. These 2.6 square miles encompass prehistoric caves and 18th-century siege tunnels, sailboats and cable cars, bottlenose dolphins and Barbary macaques, a botanic garden and a clifftop nature reserve. The urbanised westside, somewhat shabby in times past, now relies less on Brit-kitsch signifiers, such as old red phone boxes, and more on contemporary draws like a newly opened small-batch gin distillery, or a Georgian-era naval bastion repurposed for modern art shows (GEMA). And with so little land to develop on, some of the best places to stay are high above sea level or right down on the water, afloat between The Rock and The Strait.

Best luxury hotel: Sunborn Gibraltar

Neighbourhood: Ocean Village Marina

Billed as the world’s first five-star superyacht hotel, the Sunborn was originally designed for ocean-going, her engines were never installed and she’s been permanently moored to the Ocean Village promenade since 2014. (The appeal of a cruise liner that never leaves port – zero chance of seasickness – has since proven out with another Sunborn vessel at London’s Royal Victoria Dock.)

The guest experience begins with a walk up a red-carpeted gangplank, and a glass of champagne. Inside, as with any such ship, there’s a certain glitz plated over utilitarian bulkheads and corridors – a lot of chrome and crystal alongside the requisite nautical driftwood sculptures. The 189 tastefully stylised cabins and penthouse suites max out the available space, all opening onto balconies or terraces with views of The Rock, sea or marina. The top deck is given over to a well-appointed spa, a small plunge pool with adjoining cocktail bar and sun loungers, and the Barbary restaurant where the chef has his own distinct way with the Moroccan-Mediterranean fusion fairly common to high-end dining in Gibraltar. Deck two is the casino level, an elegant arrangement of slots and gaming tables in keeping with the leisure-class profile of the enterprise.

Sunborn Gibraltar

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