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!