The Caleta is indeed a very nice hotel. As four star rating goes, it is quietly deserving, without the glitz of more prestigious establishments. Its location is possibly the best on the rock, if you want peace and tranquility, coupled with sea views to die for. On entering, one is greeted with a modern, spacious reception and through lounge bar, which itself looks out onto its own furnished terrace, and offers uninterupted views of the Med. Its almost like being on board a ship. There are numerous terraces to just sit out on, or eat from, all giving the same superb views. Guests are able to have meals in the lounge bar, and terrace, the rather stylish restaurant (more expensive) or even down by the pool.
Our bedroom and balcony overlooked the sea. An excellent sized room, with huge king size plus double bed. Everything was clean and tastefully furnished, though only one chair out on the balcony with a table. The bathroom was a reasonable size, but there was no extractor fan ability. Consequently the steam from bath or shower could not
escape sufficiently, and left rather unsightly patches of mould on the ceiling. Although very nicely fitted out with matching marble top and tiles, the single lighting unit over the double sink unit, made the shower/bath area very gloomy. Overall though this was not a problem, and everything was clean and worked as it should. The air conditioning control in the room was exceptionally good, although the remote control unit's holder had fallen off the wall, leaving just a little hole there, but none the less worked very well. Just little things like this that slightly take the edge off what is otherwise a lovely hotel.
The English garden was perhaps the worst for this. Although not very big, one can see how lovely it might have been, certainly the first bit that one sees suggests great potential. But it had been very run down and tatty to the side and rear, for some time by the looks of things. In fairness someone was working to clear some of the rubble, though to what end, and when, I suppose only time would tell.
There is a very good public bus service that runs throughout Gibraltar, buses are clean,
for the most part, punctual, and pleasantly air conditioned. The no 4 service actually stops very near to the hotel every 20mins or so, and takes you right into the town, as far as the cable- car station. The fare is an incredible 80p (60 or over) for all day, any service use.(£1.50 under 60!) You can walk down into town, about 20 mins, but it takes you through some rather grotty outskirts, (factory storage yards, garage areas etc.)
The pool, though not terribly large, is in a lovely sheltered situation, with one side overlooking the sea, and another part looking down onto the beach and village of Catalan Bay. There are private steps from here down to the beach. The sun terrace surrounding the pool is quite spacious, and there were always comfortable sun loungers available, and a small but very pleasant, sheltered lounge area to eat or have a drink in. Every day there was someone in constant attendance, who also doubled as the pools life guard.
Catalan Bay is OK, though it seems often heaving with youngsters and families, even during the working week, so the beach was always well used. Every morning, however, it was always clean and freshly raked over, though when they did this I've no idea. The locals were always very pleasant, however, and never impinged, it seems, on the tranquility of the hotel. There is just one restaurant in the bay, La Mamela, which offers a good alternative to the hotels bar meals. Like the hotel, it has a lovely verandah where one can eat, view the sea, and the village and hotel, at the far end, as well. Again, as with the hotel, the staff were very pleasant and obliging, and we felt that we had very good service and value for money.
Its lovely to feel that one is not being pushed for gratuities, no charge or suggestion was ever made by the hotel, or La Mamela, how refreshing!
All in all, despite a few 'rough' edges, we both felt that this was an excellent hotel in every way, and would most certainly recommend it to couples of families alike.
One word of warning, and that is that Gibraltar airport, is woefully inadequate. Its single carousel appeared to have a couple of cases thrown on, every few minutes (or longer) by just two blokes, it took about three quarters of an hour to retrieve our cases, from just one flight. I shudder to think what it would be like if three flights had arrived together.
Gibraltar is great for walking, historical sights and the absolutely awesom St Michaels Caves. But the rock itself is heaving with traffic, to the point of being overwhelmed, and contractors seem to be building everwhere and anywhere. Some of the lovely old forts were closed (this was second week in July), and there is a sense that a lot of their history is in danger of being neglected or overwhelmed with modern developments.
Also despite the fact that they pay no VAT, prices over there are much the same as in the UK (incl our VAT add on) so, apart from petrol, there is nothing particularly cheap it seems, to be purchased from the shops.
Having said all that, Gibraltar is a great place to visit, and we just didn't have enough time to see everything in five days. Its people are very friendly and generally well mannered, and life despite the hectic traffic, seems to be generally much more at ease and layed back than in the UK. We wouldn't have missed it for the world!
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- Also Known As:
- Caleta Hotel Gibraltar