Stayed in a one bed apartment in Ocean Heights for a fortnight in August and have very mixed feelings about the experience. We are regular visitors to Gibraltar but due to financial circumstances were only able to return this year by renting cheaply in Ocean Heights rather than staying in one of the hotels or the nice new apartments advertised on some owner letiing websites. The old adage you get what you pay for is certainly true so we went along with very low expectations having paid less for a fortnight than any static caravan costs for a week in the UK during August!
Booked through Herald Travel who were quick to respond by e mail and friendly, no issues with arrangements at all including arrangements for collecting key as our flight arrived after the office closed.
Ocean heights is a mixture of holiday lets, private holiday homes and residents both Gibraltarians and ex pats.
The building itself is an unattractive 70's concrete block of apartments with electronic fob gate opening, so quite secure. Once past the tiled foyer the corridors are quite dark and dingy, some are tiled but the floor we were on had nasty carpet along it. Inside the apartment was basic but had everything you needed although rather dated and with artex everywhere. It was generally clean apart from round the skirting board and under furniture. This was seen to immediately when I complained and was due to the regular cleaner being ill and a temporary replacement being overwhelmed as it was very busy with changeovers. The soft furnishings were also rather grubby from use.
The kitchen area included a toaster, kettle, microwave, oven, electric hob, fridge and washing machine. All appliances were clean and there was no evidence of any cockroaches, insects,flies or other creepy crawlies during our whole stay. The only niggle was that the fridge was not very cold.
The bathroom was tiled with an effective shower over the bath and everything was clean.Towels were provided but only 3 sets when the booking was for 4, an extra set given willingly though when we asked.
We had a bed settee in the living area but despite saying in several e mails we had 2 teenage daughters with us it was barely wider than a single bed and impossible for two to sleep on in the heat., Possibly OK if you had 2 children up to about age 8. Again an extra futon bed was provided immediately when we complained. Bedding provided was clean but rather threadbare and old (one set of sheets had a Brentford Nylons label and how long ago was it that they were trading)!
There were ceiling fans in the living room and bedroom but their effect was minimal in the heatwave which was on whilst we were there. Some of the apartments do have air con and I would say this is a necessity in the Summer.
Bedding and towels were changed on a weekly basis and the apartment cleaned through. The girl in the Herald office asked after what time the maid could come in which I thought was nice, trouble was she didn't turn up at all on the allotted day! Another visit to the Herald office the following day and again seen to straight away, within 10 mins the cleaner was in!
It was an advantage that Herald Travel have their office in the building so all niggles were easy to sort out and to their credit were dealt with swiftly but on the other hand they were things that should have been right in the first place.
Our apartment was on the 7th of an 8th floor building and had lovely views over the bay to Algeciras and beyond,great lying in bed at night and watching the twinkling lightsof shipping moving around and the Spanish towns and villages over the water. great sunsets here too. If you were the other side of the building you had spectacular views of the town and rock. Being so high up traffic noise was minimal and did not disturb our sleep but the constant traffic could be a problem noise wise on a lower floor where the views would not be great either.
One weekend the lift broke down so it was a long hard climb in the heat up to the 7th floor and would be a problem for the elderly, infirm or with toddlers in tow. Various residenrts said it was quite a common occurence and being the weekend wasn't sorted out until the Monday.
There was also some sort of bad incident that had occurred where there was a pool of dried blood outside the main entrance and inside the foyer and it was 24 hours before the maintenance man cleared and hosed the area, very unpleasant, though realise this was just an unfortunate one off.
The building is situated just outside Casemates square, literally one minute away and barely three minutes to the new Ocean Village which links into Marina Bay so restaurants, bars, shops and activities are right on your doorstep. Buses are also a minute away and are cheap and give access to all areas of the Rock. It is only a 5 min walk to Morrisons supermarket and there were a few little corner type shops on the ground floor of the building, fine for buying water,sweets etc but expensive for other items and need to check that products are not out of date! There is parking on both sides of the building but spaces fill up rapidly.
The pool for residents is on a first floor rooftop, open 9 am to 8pm and is large (1.0 to 1.8 metre depth)and very well maintained. Every morning a hoover type of cleaner went over the bottom of the pool cleaning it and the maintenance man was to be seen checking the water quality, hosing down the surrounds etc and he also had a tidy round and clean up when he came to lock up at 8pm each evening. There are toilets and showers. You had an electronic fob to open the gate into the pool area and also each person had a ticket which were checked on a random basis, usually at weekends. There were plenty of sunbeds around the pool and with no plants there were no flies , a problem we had encountered before at The Bristol Hotel's pool in a tropical garden courtyard. Lovely views in all directions from the pool, especially up the Rock.. Really have to say that the pool is the icing on the cake here both size wise and how well it is maintained and with the electronic access no chance of outsiders wheedling their way in. We went to the top of the Elliot hotel to admire the views and the pool there is much smaller, anyone in theory could just turn up at it and the upper sundeck was disgusting with overflowing ashtrays, broken glasses that had been knocked over and not cleared up, really dangerous and at a place that costs 4 times as much as where we were. The pool at the Bristol Hotel is also tiny by comparison.
So in conclusion would we stay at Ocean Heights again or recommend it to others? A difficult one... the problem is the apartments are sublet by Herald so there is no definitive standard, you could get one that had been refurbed which ours had not, I would ensure it did at least have air con another time and would definitely want to be on a high floor again for the views and away from traffic noise. They are in a great location and the pool was the best we have experienced in Gibraltar. Yes I would use Ocean Heights again if that was the only way i could afford to get back to Gib, no if our financial situation improves, I would go for an apartment advertised in ownersdirect/holiday lettings etc. To be honest Gibraltar needs to pull its socks up re standards of holiday accomodation and this actually represented much better value than The Bristol Hotel which has similar dated furniture and fittings at a much higher charge and was similar to the Both Worlds aparthotel where we stayed in the 80's. which says it all really!
- Also Known As:
- Ocean Heights Apartments Hotel Gibraltar