"An oasis in a busy world"
"Rock Hotel Fact Sheet"
"Scenic Meetings"
"Part of a family owned group"
"Gibraltars Mediterranean experience"
"The Rock Stars"
‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ Recalled

 

 

THE ROCK’S STARS

A wealth of talent and experience honed in Gibraltar and beyond. 

The Moroccan, Spanish and British influences to be found throughout The Rock Hotel and Gibraltar are clearly reflected in the mixture of nationalities that exist among the Hotel’s 81 members of staff. Whatever nationality and length of service, there are many stars to be found among General Manager, Stephen Davenport’s team of professionals who are well known within the local community, as well as amongst overseas guests. 

Meetings and greetings.

One such Gibraltarian personality is Deputy General Manager and Food & Beverage Manager, Toby Tobelem.   Often when walking down Main Street, Toby will be approached by local residents planning a wedding or some other celebration. Possible dates and plans will then be discussed on the spot! As soon as he returns to the Hotel, Toby then starts confirming details and the ideas are put into progress. 

Overseas meeting planners from leading UK companies also have equal confidence in Toby’s organisational abilities, appreciating his warm charm and relying on him to oversee the smallest of details as they plan their events from a distance. 

While Toby began his career in 1964 as a hotel receptionist, he has tried his hand at a number of roles outside the hospitality industry and moved to the UK for some ten years before returning to Gibraltar in 1990. He then opened Sax nightclub and restaurant, which he owned and managed for three years. Majorcan cuisine then featured in his life when he went on to run the ‘Casa Toby’ restaurant. In 1996, the lure of the hotel world beckoned once again and so he became Food and Beverage Manager at the Rock Hotel. Just a year later, Toby Tobelem’s responsibilities expanded to take on the additional role of Deputy General Manager.   

Flavours from around the world within a Gibraltarian context.

Gibraltarian Head Chef, Alfred Rodriguez has worked at the Hotel since July 1973, undertaking various stints abroad during this time. Overseas placements have seen him gain experience at

establishments such as Gleneagles Hotel, Seville’s Hotel Inglaterra, the QEII liner, London’s Halcyon Hotel, as well as working under Albert Roux at Le Gavroche and under Rene Bargard at Le Mazarin in Winchester. Returning from abroad, Chef Rodriguez adds to The Rock Hotel’s menus new flavours and techniques from around the world. While it’s the Moorish, Iberian and British styles of cooking that predominate on his menus, Asian and French cooking styles are also amongst Chef Rodriguez’s favourites. Additionally, the Mediterranean waters allow Alfred to make the most of local seafood, such as hake, swordfish, John Dory and sea bream while great emphasis is placed on healthy eating too. In fact, in 1999 Alfred Rodriguez won the local “Heartbeat Award”, recognising his focus on healthy dishes.  (Other recognition gained for the Restaurant at the Rock Hotel includes an AA Rosette and two RAC Dining Awards.) 

Within the Gibraltarian hospitality industry, Alfred plays a prominent role, having been appointed by the Government of Gibraltar as a lecturer at the local Hotel and Tourism School. Additionally, he acts as a local examiner for the Gibraltar Employment and Training Board on behalf of London’s City and Guilds Institute.   

Moroccan support

It was in 1968 – when the border between Gibraltar and Spain closed for 12 years – that the British colony’s hospitality industry was able to call upon an influx of Moroccan workers. Many of those who came to the Hotel then are still here today, including: porter, Sebihi Abdbrahman (33 years); valet, Kamal Alaoui (32 years); staff cook, Mohamed M’Rabet  - otherwise known as “Rabbit” - (32 years); deputy head barman, Abdeilah Ghazi (32 years); assistant head restaurant waiter, Mohamed Allouk Temsamani (32 years) and chef de partie, Abdelkadir Malha Hadad (31 years). Their Moroccan charm and warmth is something that many guests comment upon. 

From country houses to a Mediterranean outlook.

Ensuring that The Rock Hotel’s high standards go from strength to strength, London-born Stephen Davenport took up the role of General Manager in 1997, arriving in Gibraltar from Wood Hall country house hotel in Linton, W. Yorkshire. Soon after his arrival, the Hotel embarked on a  £1.2 million refurbishment programme at the Rock Hotel – and the Hotel’s new look has paved the way for increased business.   

Stephen Davenport’s hotel career began in London at the four-star Regent Hotel, Regent's Park.  Two seasons of outside catering followed with Stephen covering all the major catering events including Royal Ascot, the Derby, Chelsea Flower Show, Henley, Farnborough and Paris Air Shows, Hickstead, Open Golf at Muirfield and Turnberry  - among many other prestigious sporting and social events. His return to the hotel industry, led him into the "country house" sector, managing hotels in Suffolk, Gloucestershire and Bedfordshire, as well as Yorkshire.  

“It’s been quite a change of scenery,” says Stephen Davenport, “ but the unique attractions of this part of the world provide a most enjoyable way of living and working. The personality of the local community, and its place in the wider world, make Gibraltar very special.  

“I strongly believe that The Rock Hotel’s popularity and success as Gibraltar’s leading hotel are due to the dedication of all our members of staff – whether long-serving employees or more recent recruits,” adds Stephen.  “The ‘feel-good’ factor that our regular and less frequent, long time and newer guests alike pick up on is due in no small part to the great team of staff that I have and how we all work alongside one another in a friendly, approachable and professional style.”