Gibraltar|1.01km from downtownI have stayed at many hotels in the IHG group over the years, including a number of Holiday Inn Express locations. This is easily one of the better ones, although the whole modus operandi of HIE is actually good. The notion of a free breakfast is not common, by any means, and the HIE breakfast is generally good. The location in Gibraltar is one of the first I have come across where they actually offer bacon with the scrambled egg and sausage/beans. I don’t know why so many of them shun bacon – after all, a cooked breakfast is not a cooked breakfast without bacon. So all credit to the HIE in Gibraltar for this. Otherwise, there is little to distinguish this venue from others in the series. You know what you will get, a compact but well-appointed room with not-too-much clothes storage space, but a double bed, flat-screen TV, shower room and a small movable desk and chair. It all works and this one is not much more than two years old, so it is all still pretty pristine. What separate this one (apart from the bacon) is the staff. They were all very accommodating, professional and downright friendly! The hotel is across the runway, a walk of 10 minutes or so, on the first street you will come to. It is close up to the towering Rock, so on one side your room widow will have a view of the Rock face, which is interesting in itself, for you can spot the little apertures where the 50 kilometers of tunnels have gun emplacements dating back to the Great Siege. We had a couple of days on that side and then asked to be moved to get the other view, which the hotel was happy to accommodate. That side overlooked the huge graveyard, the airport runway and the border and hills of Andalucia beyond. Some critics have complained about the ‘depressing’ graveyard aspect. It is actually a very interesting place to visit and has significant numbers of Commonwealth War Graves sections. We can watch the aircraft manoeuvre to land on the comparatively short Gibraltar Airport landing strip and we can follow the streams of people and traffic crossing the runway (when it isn’t closed for aircraft movement). Most of the businesses in Gib are served by people living across the border in the town of La Linea. Criticisms of the HIE? Few. Perhaps the absence of somewhere to it out in the sun (there is a small terrace on the first floor but it is at the side of the building opposite a housing block and the gap acts as a wind tunnel!). It is not a full-service hotel so you cannot expect more, but a little thought might have installed a sundeck on the flat roof, perhaps? Overall, nothing but thumbs up for this location.