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THIS is how I bagged a sunlounger on the Costa resort the place Brit holidaymakers have been queuing TWO HOURS for a spot



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The plan is to be first in line as daybreak breaks. However sloth (and setting my alarm for the mistaken day) will get the higher of me and it is not till 7.45am that I drag myself away from bed, throw on some shorts and a loud shirt extra suited to Hawaii than the Costa del Sol, and head for the battlefield.

However I’ve forgotten my armour — within the type of a rolled-up towel and heavy hardback e-book. With out these, I will not stand an opportunity. So, it is again to my room after which fast march for what I assume will probably be a bruising sortie.


There is not any time to lose, however, even so, I am nonetheless in place almost an hour earlier than the gates to the swimming pools open — the sangria from the night time earlier than (a litre of the stuff for £5 in a bar down the street) making its presence felt in a pernicious however predictable approach.

The principles of engagement are unclear at this level — as a result of an enormous signal states clearly: ‘It’s forbidden to order sunbeds.’ Both guidelines are going to be damaged, or this specific rule is just like the visitors lights in Naples — a suggestion reasonably than an order.

I think about at this very second related scenes are being performed out all throughout sweltering Europe, the place simmering tensions have raised the temperature additional on account of what’s been dubbed ‘sunbed wars’.

Success: Mark and one of the coveted sunloungers at the Costa hotel where Brit holidaymakers have been queuing two hours for a spot

Success: Mark and one of many coveted sunloungers on the Costa resort the place Brit holidaymakers have been queuing two hours for a spot

There have been reviews of seaside bandits on the Costa Blanca resort of Torrevieja, close to Benidorm, spreading out their towels on the seaside as early as 5.30am — after which not showing till a number of hours later, a lot to the chagrin of a neighborhood councillor. ‘By-laws imply police have the ability to behave when objects are left on the seaside on this approach and it results in battle between beachgoers,’ he introduced.

Right here on the four-star Estival Torrequebrada, in Benalmadena, there was pandemonium final weekend when the gates to the swimming pools, the place the sunbeds await, didn’t open till 10am.

‘It was a stampede,’ says Jessica Russell, from Hertfordshire, on vacation together with her husband Chris, a property developer, and their three kids aged 16, 14 and ten. ‘Individuals had been barging previous a girl in a wheelchair. It was horrible.’


However, on Tuesday, the resort introduced that the gates would open an hour earlier within the hope of avoiding such scenes. And it has labored — to a level. The queue to seize a sunbed across the two swimming pools the place kids are allowed is lower than 50 yards lengthy on Thursday morning. Mrs Russell is second in line — and satisfied about it. Her plan is to move to the far nook nearest the seafront the place there are 5, four-poster cabana-style sunbeds underneath swaying palm bushes. They even include blinds. She desires to bag all of them.

‘The issue is that the Spanish man in entrance of me has the very same thought. I might name it a pleasant rivalry,’ says Mrs Russell. We are going to see about that.

In the meantime, Tony Rogers, 43, from Birmingham, is first in line for the adults-only space — and, regardless of my tardy begin, I am not far behind him.


‘I am right here with my mum and her associate,’ says Mr Rogers. ‘Mum has obtained a foul leg, so I need to discover her a pleasant sunbed for the day whereas I head off someplace.’

I get the impression that though these numerous pincer actions are anxious, they’re additionally a spotlight of the day. A pre-breakfast adrenaline rush that provides a aggressive edge to an in any other case lackadaisical day.

Ready to do battle: Armed with book and towel, Mark prepares to claim his place

Able to do battle: Armed with e-book and towel, Mark prepares to assert his place

A problem at which the British usually excel, particularly when, as within the case right here, there are few Germans about — not that, perish the thought, we need to take pleasure in nationwide stereotypes.


A part of the rationale for this early-morning scrummage is as a result of the resort doesn’t have any solar loungers on the seaside — for the easy motive that there isn’t a devoted seaside.

The dual-towered, 14-storey resort, with a on line casino and spa within the center, stands imperiously on a rock face. All of the tanning, all of the shrieks from excited kids as they drop into the water from twisty flumes, all of the youngsters on the prowl for a vacation snog, and all of the myriad actions (aqua health club at midday, water volleyball at 5pm and so forth), occur round 4 swimming pools.

So it is location, location, location on the sunbed entrance. Hayley Morris, 49, from the West Midlands, is right here together with her husband Jim, who introduces himself as a ‘steady enchancment supervisor’ for a flooring firm, and their two boys.


She suffers from transverse myelitis, a neurological situation which implies she is paralysed in her proper leg and makes use of a wheelchair. ‘On Sunday morning it was just like the opening day of the New 12 months gross sales at Selfridges,’ says Mrs Morris.

‘As quickly because the gates opened it was carnage — however issues have calmed down now and, to this point, I’ve all the time managed to get the spot I need close to the pool, the bogs and the bar.’

In different phrases, to her and her husband’s delight, there appears to have been ‘steady enchancment’ because the implementation of latest opening instances.


However, just like how Bob Dylan sang ‘you do not want a weatherman to know which approach the wind blows’, you do not have to be a statistician to work out that in a resort with 385 rooms — of which a minimum of 350 are more likely to be double occupancy — you will require round 700 sunbeds to maintain everybody pleased. There are solely 600 right here.

The heat is on: Guests at the Estival hotel in Benalmadena, queue for their place in the sun

The warmth is on: Visitors on the Estival resort in Benalmadena, queue for his or her place within the solar

‘It is a troublesome state of affairs,’ concedes the resort’s assistant supervisor, Miguel Angel Sanchez. ‘By legislation, we’ve got to fence off and shut the pool areas when there are not any lifeguards on responsibility and at night time. So there’s sure to be a slight rush within the morning — however as you’ll be able to see the queues are orderly.’

They’re orderly. Respectful and admirably jovial, too, thanks partially — and let’s take a bow on condition that we have not a lot else to have fun — to the vast majority of these within the queue being British. ‘Present us a queue and we’ll be a part of it,’ as Mrs Russell places it.


‘Which approach are you heading?’ I ask head-of-the-queue Mr Rogers, with a minute to go earlier than the off.

‘Unsure,’ he says, clearly reluctant to expose his technique. ‘You?’

I am going for the grassy space down the top as a result of I am an evening-light man and I have been following the solar’s motion, however I do know that 4 ladies from the Wirral hope to be in that very spot.


I had engaged these 4 pleasant ladies in dialog the day earlier than once I made a recce after arriving on the resort at lunchtime — and significantly admired their towel clips within the form of flip-flops which, within the case of Lindsay Hayes, holds in place her pink, fluorescent Gucci towel.

‘We prefer it right here as a result of we have a few umbrellas. We’re having an excellent time,’ says Mrs Hayes.

‘There’s nothing mistaken with queuing in a state of affairs like this. It is half and parcel of a vacation.’


She could be proper. Each second is valuable on a peak-time break in August, so that you need to be in prime place. And let’s be clear: there isn’t any social divide about queuing. In any case, aged, well-heeled members of the MCC line up of their egg and bacon ties exterior Lord’s cricket floor from 5am to seize a seat within the pavilion, particularly when the Aussies are on the town.

It is a related story at Wimbledon, with tennis followers tenting out to purchase tickets — simply as some folks waited in line for hours earlier than the latest Bruce Springsteen live performance in Hyde Park within the hope of being up entrance and private with The Boss. I do know that as a result of I used to be one in all them.

The issue comes when folks attempt to hog their sunbed for the entire day. That is why Resort Estival has launched a 45-minute rule. It really works like this — in idea: you bag your sunbed and put a towel, e-book or another merchandise on it. Then you’ll be able to disappear for breakfast or lunch or go anyplace you want however should be again inside 45 minutes.


Certainly, a member of employees now and again locations a laminated notice on unoccupied sunbeds which reads: ‘Please don’t go away the towels on the sunbeds for greater than 45 minutes with out your presence, in any other case the towels will probably be eliminated.’

However there isn’t any proof to recommend that this menace is enforced any extra stringently than combating petty crime is taken critically by the police again dwelling within the UK.

It is now nearly 9.30am and people of us who joined the queues earlier than breakfast have been rewarded.


Mrs Russell has reserved a few four-poster cabanas (though the Spanish man managed to seize three adjoining ones); Mrs Morris is close to the pool, bar and bathrooms, and Mr Rogers has sorted out a prized spot for his mom. Me? I’ve secured a sunbed subsequent to the ladies from the Wirral and will probably be well-placed for sundown refreshments.

It feels immensely satisfying, particularly when a number of late-comers breeze in and realise that this has been a sport of musical sunbeds — however with out the music.

I dare say that someday, nice minds will work out why the British are ready to go to such lengths. It is one in all life’s imponderables.


For now, we’d as effectively borrow a crowning precept that served our late Queen Elizabeth II effectively — regardless that, admittedly, Her Majesty by no means needed to stand in line to bag a sunbed at a sprawling Costa del Sol resort.

However good recommendation all the identical. ‘By no means complain, by no means clarify.’

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