I can see the small runway approach as the plane almost surfs on the waves of the bay before landing smoothly. The iconic Rock rises majestically to the side, and I peer excitedly out of my small plane window to take it all in. I’m in Gibraltar!
Looking forward to a wonderful two days ahead, I speed away in a taxi from the airport, down past the runway we just landed on…Gibraltar’s landing strip is also its main road! Within minutes we have arrived at the Ocean Village and undoubtedly the most well-known hotel in the city; The Sunborn Gibraltar.
A luxury superyacht moored permanently in the marina, it was immediately evident this hotel was a cut above the rest. A glittering chandelier hangs overhead as a friendly concierge offers us a welcome drink while we check in. Within minutes I have been escorted to my spacious and elegantly decorated sanctuary. I’m looking forward to down-time when I can relax on the inviting large bed in my complimentary bathrobe, close the blinds with the super-tech automated keypad which controls almost everything in the room…but first, a tour of the Sunborn calls!
The day starts off with a refreshing mango smoothie in the sunshine at the Aqua Bar, by the rooftop infinity pool which overlooks the marina. A friendly bunch of bar staff, all dressed in matching stripey sailor shirts, work quickly to whip up a range of colourful cocktails, as I watch on impressed. A walk around the rest of the Sunborn has me pretty impressed – the superyacht has a fitness room, and on-board spa, and two restaurants! I’m lucky enough to meet with the head chef at the Sky Restaurant, who explains the concept of the seasonal menu to me. Ideas, flavours and textures of Moroccan, Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine have all been combined to create delicious options.. Lamb skewers with fresh vegetables and yoghurt mint dressing, fresh fish on a bed of Cous Cous, a meze platter with a range of dips, and yet still a sumptuous beef burger served next to perfectly squared off chips. I wish I had more than one stomach! Later, it’s some glitzy cocktails at the atmospheric La Sala Bar & Restaurant, where the head barman recommends the fruity daily special. To round off the night, we play a few rounds of roulette at the buzzing on-board casino (yes, there’s a casino on the yacht!). Finally, I retire to my comfortable room – and yes, I definitely got to make use of that cosy bathrobe!
A busy day ahead, I rise early to enjoy a sensational buffet breakfast with a view of the marina. Served in the stylish Sky Restaurant, we’re left to choose from so many options I don’t even know where to start! Freshly-baked pastries, yoghurt with exotic fruit salads, cooked breakfast, different types of bread and slices of cheese, ham, smoked salmon as well as cereal, muesli, desserts and hot tea or coffee served straight to your table. How many servings is it socially acceptable to go through? The sun’s rays bathe the bay’s surroundings in soft golden light, and I can already feel it’s going to be a hot day. With no time to waste, I’m off on a tour of Gibraltar! Heading up the Rock is top of my list, and my experienced guide has plenty of facts to share. She points out Africa, Europe and the Strait of Gibraltar which separates the twoand I’m spellbound. Two continents and three countries can be seen from here on a clear day– what a special moment! The day rolls by as we explore St Michael’s cave, take the cable car up from the city centre to the top of the Rock, and watch on as cheeky macaque monkeys play with fascinated tourists.
The afternoon comes around quickly, and there’s no better way to spend it than jumping on a dolphin-spotting trip around the bay. I was lucky enough to see so many of the beautiful creatures jump over the water, splash in the waves and swim close to and under our boat – it’s truly magical. Our knowledgeable guide assures us Gibraltar is one of the best places in the world to see dolphins all year-round, due to the perfect habitat the bay creates for them – so maybe I’m not lucky after all, just in the right place!
The slowly setting sun signals the end to another beautiful day in sunny Gibraltar, and we enjoy it from the Terrace Lounge at the front of the superyacht. The boats in the harbour glow with pink and burnt orange hues which play on their shiny exterior from the glistening setting sun; the moment is so special I rush to grab my camera so I can capture it. After a while I just sit back with my travel companions and take it all in.
Can I stay here forever?