SAT elegantly in the marina as if it were an ocean voyager moments from departure, Gibraltar’s flagship hotel is, in fact, an enchanting destination in of itself.
As a guest arriving aboard the Sunborn, this realisation is in no way marred with disappointment.
An architectural marvel combining super yacht with a five-star hotel, this floating palace is forever moored amongst the bars and shops of the fashionable Ocean Village.
With a ballroom, restaurants, bars, a spa and casino spread over seven decks all demanding to be explored, the best starting point is the reception.
Under a vast globe-like Swarovski crystal chandelier, I am warmly welcomed at check-in as the latest person to make the transition from holidaymaker to Sunborner.
The interior of my spacious deluxe room is contemporary with a king-sized bed and large screen tv, in the corner a red leather-bound barrel of a drinks cabinet adds some old worldly gravitas.
Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors lead out onto a compact private balcony from which I can enjoy a cool breeze coming in off the straits.
Noticing some rich culinary smells in the air, I make a course for the Barbary restaurant.
Offering a seductive fusion of Mediterranean – North African cuisine with more mainstay British classics the top-deck venue is truly first class.
Enticing plates of cinnamon sweet potato topped with lamb kofta sail past me as the smell of freshly risen Arab flatbread drifts in from the kitchen’s centrepiece charcoal oven.
Luckily maitre d’ Antonio was on hand to guide me through the latest offerings from Italian-born Head Chef Mirko Scarabello.
By the time dessert came round I needed no further consultation, my mind was set on the spiced coffee tiramisu, it did not disappoint.
The next morning refreshed if a little slow-moving after a full lap of the impressive breakfast buffet, I ventured out onto dry land, temporarily, for my rendezvous with some inhabitant of the Rock.
The waters around the British enclave are famously one of the best spots in the world to see dolphins free in the wild as they feast in the sheltered waters of Gibraltar bay.
Luckily, the Sunborn had secured my passage on one of the frequent dolphin tours that departed the wharf bedside the hotel.
It did not take the experienced Dolphin Adventure crew long to locate a pod of more than 200 and launch into a passionate commentary.
This stream of information was only broken by the occasional excited yelp as one dolphin leapt from the water in, particularly acrobatic fashion.
The journey back offered stunning views of Africa just across the straits, and time to reflect on the unique majesty of the Sunborn as it came rounding back into view.
As a final destination the hotel dwarfs its surroundings, good thing the Sunborn will not be vacating the spot anytime soon.