See the Rock in style! Sunborn’s new £ 120million ‘yotel’ (or yacht hotel) brings a touch of five-star class to Gibraltar
Gibraltar. There is a lot you can say about this piece of land stuck at the end of Spain and sinking into the Mediterranean.
He is still British, despite the contrary wishes of his disgruntled neighbor. It offers a cheerful assortment of simple entertainment – dozens of casual restaurants serving fish and chips, and shops galore of discounted perfumes and liquor.
It has slightly spooky Barbary macaques, awe-inspiring caves with mighty stalagmites and stalactites, and intriguing war tunnels.
Attraction: Home of the slightly spooky Barbary macaques and awe-inspiring caves have a sleek new cohort …
Superior quality: the Sunborn Gibraltar “yotel” is the first official five-star hotel of the Rock
But what Gibraltar doesn’t have in abundance right now is class. A mini Monte Carlo is not yet.
All of this could be about to change. A brand new £ 90million international airport, opened in 2012, could certainly be seen as evidence of an intention to elevate The Rock’s status as a luxury holiday destination. And now its first official five-star hotel has also opened.
Sunborn Gibraltar (and its sister property, Sunborn London) represents a new concept of luxury hotels. Sunborn, a Finland-based company owned by the Niemi family, operates hotels with smaller yachts – “yotels”? – for over 15 years.
The new versions look like ships – they float and have decks – but they don’t sail anywhere. They can be easily moved if unstable political conditions prevail, and may exist in places where land-based development is impossible, prohibited, or waterfront land is simply too valuable.
The next one is expected to open in Barcelona and other projects are under development in North America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Russia.
While the Sunborn London is firmly anchored in the Royal Victoria Docks and has a somewhat corporate feel, the 189-room Sunborn Gibraltar is located in the new Ocean Village Marina, and the vibe is much more relaxed.
Sunborn International says it invested 150million euros (£ 120million) to create it, and the hotel has a liberal sprinkle of bling that’s immediately evident in the huge, sparkling, scalloped crystal ball that stands profile above reception.
Deluxe: Finnish company has established large yacht hotels in Gibraltar
Each bedroom has floor-to-ceiling windows and in most cases opens out to a private balcony or terrace. There is a fine dining restaurant, glamorous cocktail bars, swimming pool, spa, boutique, gym and casino. Like Sunborn London, Yotel Gibraltar is also set up for weddings and events.
The hotel has the same water, waste and electricity connections as any building, but operators say it will leave a zero environmental footprint after removal.
In addition to room service and valet parking, the concierge service can arrange experiences that complement the upscale character of the accommodation, such as helicopter or private jet transfers, golf on one of the many legendary routes of Spain, off-road safaris, a day at a polo match or a wine tasting in a vineyard.
The staff can even arrange a sunset cruise on a luxury yacht with cocktails and canapes if you really can’t stand being on the water without cruising somewhere.
Sunborn Gibraltar offers a special three night summer package starting at £ 259 per double room per night with half board. Visit sunborngibraltar.com. Monarch (monarch.co.uk) flies to Gibraltar from Luton from £ 147 per person round trip.