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Brits holidaying abroad rage at 'ridiculous' scenes as 'Towel Wars' erupt at pool

Jul 09, 2023

One mum slammed the behaviour as pathetic as she told of being elbowed out the way by adults in the pool area of Hotel Parasol Gardens in Torremolinos.

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Brits holidaying abroad have been left fuming at 'ridiculous' scenes as hotel guests endure daily scrums to try and snag a sunbed at resorts across Spain.

Holidaymakers soaking up the sun on the Costa del Sol were spotted in a mad-dash to secure a prime pool spot as so-called 'Towel Wars' erupted on Friday.

One mum from Yorkshire slammed the behaviour as pathetic as she told of being elbowed out the way by adults in the pool area of Hotel Parasol Gardens in Torremolinos, the Mirror reports.

Sarah Wood, 46, said: “It’s pathetic, childish behaviour if I am honest.

"Grown adults elbowing you out of the way just to get a sunbed. It is ridiculous. I have never known anything like this in all my years coming to Spain.”

Guests at the hotel were held back at the edge of the pool area - armed with towels in hand - until a staff member gave them a nod to signal they could move.

Around 50 holidaymakers, including Brits, then scrambled to save a bed and get their towels down first.

This is just the latest tawdry episode in the on-going ‘Towel Wars’ which have seen Brits forced to compete for sun spots like never before.

British tourists seeking the sun have this summer fallen foul of overzealous ‘towel police’ and competitive fellow travellers on beaches and resorts at popular destinations.

While policies vary from one hotel to the next, families have been left frustrated due to queues and competition over limited sun loungers.

The Mirror spent time in the Costa del Sol this week and discovered towel-hungry travellers rising at 5am to bag a prized lounger before strolling back to bed.

One couple were spotted tying towels to six loungers at 5am, securing them with large pegs.

Natasha Hawley, 44, from Kent, is on holiday with her husband John and her children Aiden, 20, and Kieran, 17, who both have special educational needs.

She said: “The scrum for the sunbeds is something else, it is like a free for all, you can’t be polite here you just have to push your way through and get what you want, which is not how I really want to be on holiday. I don’t like that, I am always encouraging the kids to be polite but it’s not a good impression to come here and have to be rude to others just to get a sunbed. It’s so disappointing.”

Health worker Janet Fleming, 66, from Manchester, said she woke at 7.30am on the first full day of her holiday with her husband, David, a retired upholsterer, just get at a sunbed. But she said: “I have never known sunbeds to be locked up on any holiday that I’ve been on before. It is shocking.

“They need to do something about this. It’s just making everybody nervous and everybody is getting involved in this rush because nobody wants to be left out. But I do find it entertaining seeing everybody running around like a comedy sketch.”

Mr Fleming, 69, added: ‘It is a terrible fight for the sun loungers. It shouldn’t have to be like this and none of us want to behave out of character by pushing and shoving. But now the sun is out and there is music playing it is beginning to feel like a holiday.”

Many bemused Brits ended up watching the fevered sunbed hoggers from the sidelines. Husband and wife Phil and Janine White, both 45, from Leicestershire, are also staying at the Hotel Parasol Gardens. Phil said: “You get up in the morning and the sun loungers are all chained up and the same happens at night time about 8pm, so it’s not like you could grab one if you tried, they’re so closely policed.

“But what happens is when they’re unchained in the morning you have people queued up all round the pool and along the hedges just to get at the loungers and get their towels down. It’s hilarious. It’s become quite the spectator sport, I just sit there laughing.”

Wife Janine said: “I was sat in the hotel room and I was watching from the window and I could see them hopping over the hedge trying to get their towels down. There are not many sun loungers so I suppose people are getting competitive but it’s mainly the Spanish and the Germans. It’s comical, they could just go to the beach.”

The manager of Gregorio Lara said the melees at the Hotel Parasol Gardens would soon become a thing of the past as they plan to introduce their own ‘towel police’.

He said: “This situation cannot go on, so we will employ a monitor who can check if people are using the beds when they should not be from now on.”

But policies introduced at other hotels in Spain to stop sunbed hoggers have been met with mixed reaction.

David Green is currently staying at the Hotel Sol Melia in Torremolinos with his family to celebrate his dad's 70th birthday.

The 36-year-old said there had been heated confrontation around the pool due to the sun lounger wars.

He said: “The staff try their best but what can you do if people just ignore you? They come round and leave a little leaflet if you don’t come back to your lounger but they confiscate your towel and hold it in reception meaning you have to do a little walk of shame if you want to get it back.

“Some people get up at the crack of dawn which is fair enough but the hotel rules also state you can’t reserve loungers but that’s doesn’t stop them. We’ve heard of people throwing other people’s towels off too this week which has caused a little bit of aggro but nothing serious. I think most of the Brits are just a bit baffled by it, you come on holiday to relax don’t you?”

Elsewhere in Spain local authorities are trying to clamp down on holidaymakers hogging prime beach spots by threatening them with fines of up to £260. The move came after fed-up locals reported they were not being able to find a spot on the beach in the morning with tourists reserving spots by plonking down umbrellas, chairs, and towels before going back to their resorts.

Spanish police said that if they find unattended belongings on the beach, they will wait for one hour and, if no one returns within that time, the items will be seized. If the confiscated items are not claimed within the next ten days they will be destroyed.

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