The Bristol Hotel (Wikipedia tells me) is Gibraltar’s oldest hotel established in 1894 and until 1932 was the flagship hotel of the Rock until the Rock Hotel itself opened in that year. Without going too deeply into the Bristol’s history it was used as the RAF headquarters during WW2 and then for a short time after the war declined as an establishment before coming back into its own again from the 1960s onward following financial investment.
Looking around, as I stood in the foyer, I felt as though I’d stepped back in time to an era I was familiar with, felt safe in and loved. This beautiful 120 year old building, with its 60 rooms, had retained its lovely retro ambience despite its ‘modernisation’ (receiving a hot water supply, a bigger kitchen and a bigger pool); its beautiful chandeliers and stained glass windows reminded me of Raffles in Singapore where (for some bizarre reason) I ended up in (and which no doubt is the reason the Bristol felt so familiar) although that story is for a different memoir.
I’d chosen the Bristol for no other reason than it being close to the town for Joe and Sheila (who are in their 70s and 80s respectively) because they both enjoy to go walkabout when it’s not too far. Carol isn’t in the best of health either and so I knew she too would appreciate being near to Main Street for whenever she wanted to browse the shops or just go for a stroll.
Having been on holiday often as a foursome I knew all three of my fellow travellers loved lolling about around the pool during the day when the weather was warm – and they all knew I preferred to go walkabout and meet the natives – so they were really thrilled at the private subtropical garden with pool and bar. First impressions from all of us on the Bristol Hotel were really positive and those impressions remained with us throughout our stay – not least because the rooms were lovely and the breakfasts were good but also because the staff were very friendly, accommodating and helpful.
Speaking of staff when I finally got to the reception desk to check in I began talking to the lady about the Mediterranean Steps Challenge I was doing the following day, or rather she began talking to me. ” Oh sure” she said. “You’ll love it, I do all the time, maybe I do tomorrow too. Take taxi cab to Jews Gate in the morning after breakfast, I will book for you. You want morning call I will give for you. Till then here is your room key, you can fresh up, have nap then eat”. Been a while since I’d been pampered to that degree, but I loved it.