The Caleta hotel has a nominal 4* rating, but seasoned travellers will find it falls far short of the standards expected of a modern 4* hotel.
To begin with, the hotel doesn't let you check-in until 2pm, even if your room is available (quite late by the standards of most hotels these days). As most flights into Gib arrive late morning, you will most likely end-up sat in the lounge area for a couple of hours waiting for your room. We had to do this and we saw a number of other people waiting throughout our stay. Travellers from the UK may be surprised to learn that they still allow smoking indoors in Gib, so bear in mind that people will be smoking in the lounge while you wait (including around children); or while you are having something to eat.
The staff in the hotel are a mixture of Gibraltarians, Spanish and Eastern European. While the Gibraltarian staff are generally good, the Spanish staff are slow, rude and unhelpful. Everything is too much trouble for them and they have no concept of customer service whatsoever. You are really made to feel that as a hotel guest you are getting in the way of their life. There was no excuse for this as the hotel was not at all busy while we were there.
As well as offering poor service, they have little respect for the guests, eg:
1) We witnessed a number of blazing rows between the housekeeping staff and management in the reception area.
2) The porter randomly accused us of parking in the disabled bay on three separate occasions, even though they were three different cars and we did not have a car at the hotel!
3) We complained to management about one waiter who rolled his eyes and tutted when we asked for some food. The Assistant Manager's explanation for his rudeness was "he is old and he gets grumpy sometimes".
4) The reception staff take pride in being slow and unhelpful and seem to enjoy making guests wait. It took us 45 mins to check-out and we were at the front of the queue (take note if you have a departing flight). This includes waiting while housekeeping check that you "haven't stolen anything from the minibar".
The room itself (deluxe sea view with balcony) was tatty and dated with a rust stained bath and sinks, stained carpets, loose towel holders and a dirty integrated hairdryer out of the ark. The soaps were not changed and the sink area did not appear to have been cleaned all week. On three different days housekeeping took the towels from our room but didn't replace them and I had to phone reception to get some (no apology given). You will need to ration your in-room tea consumption (no biscuits) as if you want more than your daily allowance, you are charged £5 for replacement teabags! The outside of the hotel could do with a lick of paint and some general maintenance. The steps down to the beach are uneven and poorly maintained and there was even a dead seagull on them that they did not clear up for two days!
The pool officially opens from 08:00 to 18:30, but they don't really finish setting up until 09:30 (with the pool itself out of bounds until then). It closes far too early in my opinion, especially when you consider that between 12:00 and 18:00 it is far to hot to be sunbathing. I found the best time to be by the pool was 08:00 - 12:00. I would have liked a dip to cool off later in the day after sightseeing; but as they close at 18:30 you can't. There are plenty of people on the beach until 10pm, so who knows why they close the pool so early. Most likely it is for the convenience of the hotel, rather than the guests (a common theme). The pool is a saltwater pool and less confident swimmers or parents with young children should be aware that apart from a very small shallow-end, the majority of the pool is very deep (12 feet) and there is a step change from shallow to deep, rather than a gentle slope. It is also worth noting that you can't get to the beach from the hotel when the pool is closed, as they lock the gate to the steps down to the beach. If you want to stay on the beach after 18:30, or go for a walk after dinner, you will have to go the long way round.
The range of food on offer is very limited and expensive and only served between strict times. We were denied afternoon tea because we were 1 minute past the cutoff time. The breakfast buffet is particularly poor value. I would recommend going out to one of the many nice cafes/restaurants in the town centre instead.
If, like us, you plan to use a laptop or smartphone to check your emails, look for things to do, find out about opening hours of attractions etc, then bear in mind that the wifi at the hotel, provided by the virtual monopoly GibTel mobile phone company, is slow, expensive and unreliable. In theory £20 gets you a week of wifi that you can use all over Gibraltar. In practice, there are few hotspots, the wifi is slow and unreliable and at least four days out of seven during our stay it was down altogether. At the Caleta, even when the wifi is working, the signal only penetrates as far as the lounge and lobby. Due to the smoking in the lounge, we found ourselves sitting in the lobby to use it.
I get the impression that the AA and RAC awarded the 4* rating about 20 years ago and haven't been back since! In terms of room quality and service, the Premier Inn at Heathrow is better and a third of the price. The only thing in the hotel's favour is the stunning location on the quiet eastern side of the rock, with direct access to the best beach in Gibraltar (9:00 - 18:30). I have to say it is one of the nicest views I have ever seen. If you are expecting 4* service, you won't find it; but if you can put up with poor service, then the hotel might be worth taking a chance just for the views.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Booking.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Agoda, Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia, Cheap Tickets and HotelQuickly so you can book your Caleta Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Caleta Hotel Gibraltar