Seat reservations for your poolside patch

Sunbeds by the swimming pool

TRISH TAKES FIVE: By blogger Trish Burgess

Would you be willing to pay to reserve your sunbed when you’re on holiday? Thomas Cook is now offering this service in a number of their hotels. It will cost £25 per bed for the duration of your holiday, although, reading the small print, it doesn’t include a parasol, so there might still be a tussle to nab a brolly.

Is it really worth paying extra to know that your place by the pool is secure? It’s been a few years since I’ve had a pool-based summer holiday but I know only too well the frustrations caused by a lack of available sunbeds and how it brings out the worst in everyone.

I remember one year in Menorca the bed to guest ratio was far too low and Dougie had to get up at the crack of dawn every morning to reserve a couple of beds for us. I realise this made us as bad as everyone else, but there’s no point taking the moral high ground if it means wandering forlornly round a pool with a toddler and nowhere to sit.

Once you’ve bagged your bed, it’s important to mark your territory. Towels are spread across beds, umbrellas are rolled into position and any extra side tables are snaffled. Add a couple of lilos and the odd inflatable crocodile, and that’s your patch for the day.

Beside every pool you can find many species of holidaymaker. Each one exhibits certain characteristics in their natural habitat surrounding this body of chlorinated water.

The Bed Hoggers. They place their towels on the bed in the morning, with books for added weight, then disappear for the day. Only the very brave will remove the towels and take up ownership of the bed because the hoggers always turn up five minutes after the coup has been accomplished.

The Serious Tanners. Bronzed leathery bodies have taken root in the same spot all week. Oil application is methodical and very intimate. They turn regularly, as if on a spit.

The Swimsuit Swappers. After every dip in the pool, they perform a precarious costume change under a towel. They insist on sunbathing in a dry swimsuit, leaving the wet one to dangle from the parasol spokes.

The Daft Dads. They jump on inflatables, throw balls and participate regularly in pool games. There always seems to be a 4 o’clock silly hour involving towel-flicking, international water polo and random throwing of people into the water.

The Buffet Stealers. Even if there’s a decent pool bar selling food, they prefer to filch supplies from the hotel breakfast buffet. Bread rolls, croissants and bananas appear from their bags at regular intervals. The more brazen of the species have individual packs of butter, rolled up ham and cutlery.

And there’s me, The People watcher, who surreptitiously watches all the activity behind a large pair of sunglasses and a good book. Might be worth £25 to get a seat with a great view!

• Read Trish’s blog at


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