I was flipping through videos on MSN the other day and a short one with the caption Another Day, Another Rush for the Sunbeds caught my attention. The video shows guests staying at the Spring Hotel Bitacora in Tenerife, Canary Islands, lining up at 6:30am and waiting for the pool gates to open at 8am so they can race to secure a lounge chair.

@chloeturner_1 Another day another sunbed war ? #holiday #tenerife #playadelasamericas #sunbeds ♬ original sound – Chloe Turner

Is this not the most ridiculous hotel video you’ve ever seen? I don’t know about you, but it drives me absolutely bananas when I go to a hotel and guests pull this crap. What’s worse, is that the hotels allow it …. and many of these hotels consider themselves to be upscale, like Spring Hotel Bitacora.

Spring Hotel Bitacora writes on their website: “Dive, jump, slowly sink in or simply let yourself go. Our swimming pools will become the focal point of the fun you’ll have with us during your holiday. Laughter, adventures and unforgettable moments await everyone, young and old, in our pool area.” They forgot to add that you better be in good shape, wake up at the crack of dawn and prepare to wait in a queue for 90 minutes to compete in the race of your lifetime if you want to have a place to sit.

I once had a similar experience when staying at the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki during a busy period (these days, it’s always busy). When I went to reserve two beach chairs and an umbrella, the friendly staff said there was nothing available for three days. When I asked about a pool chair, since they all had towels on them (photo above), they said the chairs are available on a first come, first serve basis.

It was 7:30am and all the chairs were reserved, yet no one was sitting on them and not a soul was in the pool. Guests run down early to get a chair and then go back to bed or breakfast. Meanwhile, guests like us who just wanted to relax for an hour or two, had nowhere to sit so the chairs and the pool went unused. It was the same scenario for the beach chairs except there, you have to pay and do it several days in advance. It’s a ridiculous policy and one I hope they change as it definitely doesn’t feel like a luxury experience. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of a luxury experience and not how a hotel of this caliber should be treating its guests.

We checked out of the Royal Hawaiian and checked into the Ritz-Carlton Waikiki, which was just a few blocks away. Their policy is that guests can only hold a pool chair for 15 minutes, then the pool attendants make them available to other guests. Now that’s a much better policy. Ideally, you want to have a place that has more chairs than guests but I guess that’s dreaming. Regardless, if this happens to you, I suggest speaking with a manager or submitting your feedback to the hotel.

This does make the case for renting your own private home, an increasingly popular option for travelers or paying for a true luxury hotel that will not allow guests to treat the pool area like the doors just opened on Black Friday.

Has this ever happened to you? Leave a comment below!

19 Comments On "VIDEO: Hotel Guests Racing to Secure Lounge Chairs is Insane. But the Big Question is: Why Do Hotels Allow It?"
  1. Laurene|

    I used to live in England and always got a kick out of hearing the British complain about Germans and beach chairs. Germans were known for going down to the pool at the crack of dawn and leaving a towel on a chair to “reserve” it, then not reappearing for many hours to use said chair. Of course, there’s a long animosity between those peoples to begin with lol

  2. Mark V|

    It’s the same on cruise ships. People go early to put a towel on a chair to “claim “ it for hours. Some cruise ships are supposed to remove the towels after a time.
    It’s very selfish.
    At a music festival, I’ve been to people line up to put their chais on the lawn in front of the stage. The rule is anyone can sit in them until the owner shows up. It works out. Obviously, this wouldn’t work on a ship or at a hotel.

  3. Rhonda Jones|

    The hotel should let all guest know that they can’t hold chairs unless they are in the pool, jacuzzi or they went to the bathroom and someone is there. The one picture there was nothing there but the people property left and no one in the pool. This is totally ridiculous and I would put it on the report it in righting how much I disapprove of this behavior and never go back to that hotel.

  4. Dan Nainan|

    OMG we were JUST in Tenerife the last two weeks and saw this firsthand! On the way to breakfast at our hotel, which was otherwise lovely, we saw that every lounge chair at the pool had a towel on it, because people had saved them, and there was almost nobody there! We were incensed to see this. How about people only get to have a chair when they are actually at the pool?

    Fortunately we were only there for a couple of nights, and at our next hotel, they had a sign that read no saving pool chairs. From now on, when I stay at any hotel with a pool, I’m going to find out what the policy is before I stay there.

  5. Andrew the eternal optimist|

    It’s quite common unfortunately. My experience was at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells in Spring of 2021. They significantly upgraded their pool area around 3 years ago with slides and other nice features. Their business has increased exponentially as you can imagine. As a result, the same thing you saw in the video happened here. It really is quite comical watching this unfold however if you don’t participate you’re out of luck getting a chair unless you wait until 6pm. There are things the hotels can do however they will have to deal with more upset and dare i say entitled people and i can’t blame them for leaving it as-is.

  6. MarkB|

    This is a problem at most accommodations be they hotel, timeshares or even some rental condos. What is so irritating is the people who stake out a chair seldom show up until hours later, thereby making it difficult for others to use the chair until they return. At the posh Post Hotel in Leavenworth, WA, the problem is the same. During a recent stay, we went to the pool area after breakfast only to find all the lounge chairs had towels, pocket books, hats, etc. sitting on each lounge chair. After an hour, only six of the lounge chair were occupied, the rest sitting vacant until those inconsiderate guests decided to show up.
    Operators of hotels and the like need to have a policy that if a lounge chair remains unoccupied for a specific time, the items thereon will be removed so others can use the lounge chairs. If guests were made aware of the policy and the policy were enforced, the problem should disappear.

  7. carol|

    it’s ridiculous! Personally I have just sat in chairs that were reserved with towels with the intent to move when someone comes to “claim” their… more people should do this… it’s silly to reserve a chair and not use it!?!>

  8. David Gwilliam, Jr.|

    I have not had this experience at a hotel, but that’s probably because I have not stayed at a resort for some time. Similar thing happens on cruise ships all the time and it drives me nuts. The policy often is that you can’t save a chair, but they almost never enforce it. So people throw a towel on the chair and keep it for the entire day. There would be plenty of chairs for everyone if people vacated them when not in use. I agree that the hotel/ship should be doing a much better job by setting better polocies, having more chairs etc. but some blame needs to be put on the guests, especially on the cruises. I refuse to save a chair for myself because I HAVE ETHICS!
    BTW, I try to watch Leo live every Saturday until your segment, absolutely love to hear your advice and stories. Was brought up in CT in a Yankee family but Dad switched to the Red Sox in 1967 (long story).
    As a retired Naval Officer, would love it if you could ask Leo (who’s show I adore) to refer to those large vacation cruise vessels as “ships” instead of “boats”

  9. Kat|

    To me the pool shouldn’t be the highlight of your vacation. Pools are not scenery and something you can find close to home! At least a beach is something you can’t find everywhere. I would think if no one is in chair for 30 minutes, you lose it!

  10. Chris|

    People – the solution is easy. No one has the right to reserve a seat/chair/bed for hours ahead of time.
    Do what the French would do (which I have seen with booked seats at sports stadiums). You just select a seat that is not being used and kapow – that seat is now yours. Simple!!

  11. Doug|

    Hotels in Barcelona, with rooftop pools, allow 1 hour of lounge chair use.

  12. Mike c|

    They need a cardboard clock like used for parking in Europe. Set time when you leave and be back within 30 min or you stuff is set aside by the staff and chair becomes open. Have to get back to reset, but no sleeping in or long breakfasts. People arriving can see how much time left before it becomes available

  13. Bruce Northam|

    Brutal, telling, and yet entertaining recap of this trouble-in-paradise problem. Also refreshing to read honest travel writing in this era of fluff. In Southeast Asian resorts, travelers from a specific Euro country (tempted to give a hint) are known for putting their towels on poolside chairs the night before. Dasterdly!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I think we all know it’s the Germans

  14. Susan|

    I have had this experience and it absolutely infuriates me. I will always check reviews and other information to avoid these hotels at ALLLLL costs.

  15. Cheryl|

    I don’t understand anyone hanging out at a hotel pool in the first place.
    We have access to a pool at home and rarely use it so I’m certainly not going to do it on a trip! So much to see and do out in the world that is much better than being around a pool with lots of other people (and their screaming kids-but of course not yours Johnny ;) Travel is not for sitting!

  16. Peggy N|

    I see this at Vegas hotel all the time and really at any major hotel and agree it is rediculous! But the best is at the Jersey shore! I rented an ocean front house this summer and people go with all their chairs umbrellas coolers and large sheets and stale there claim in the sand by 7 am! They bring down more chairs than they need and place sheets on sand around them so they are not crowded in. Then they show up at about 2 pm and stay for a short while! I watched this every single day there!! It is obsurd and infuriating!! When at the beach I could hear them all talk about “renters” like me and day trippers had no right to have “the good spots”. WOW!!! SERIOUSLY!!!

  17. Jeff W|

    We were at Aulani last week. They have a policy you can’t leave a chair unattended before 8 am. After 8, 1 hour. They actually have attendants folding towels on empty chairs a certain way to mark them. Every hotel should have some rule and ENFORCE them.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      GREAT to hear!

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