I paid £2k for my dream holiday but stampeding sunbed hoggers made it hell – boozy Brits broke bones for the best spot | The Sun

I paid £2k for my dream holiday but stampeding sunbed hoggers made it hell – boozy Brits broke bones for the best spot | The Sun


CLUTCHING a towel and a pool bag Jo Kennedy stands on the edge of the steps to a swimming pool in Gran Canaria. 

On either side of her are her fellow hotel guests pushing and shoving as if they’re on the starting line for the London Marathon.

Behind Jo, 49, from Lincoln, Lincolnshire, are dozens of other hotel guests already sweating and frustrated and it’s just gone six in the morning

All eyes are on a man in white as he checks the blue sun loungers before clapping his hands at the strike of 6.30am.

The clapping is a signal for the hundreds of guests who have queued on all sides of the pool area to race, sprint, push and shove their way to the nearest sun lounger.

Speaking to Fabulous as part of our new Holiday Horrors series, the married mum-of-two says, “It’s sunbed wars at its worst.

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“It was worse than a rugby scrum. I had to fight tooth and nail to bag just one sunbed for me and my kids.

“People were literally throwing their towels hoping to nab a sun bed and one man even broke his toe.

“It was bedlam and I was terrified that myself or the kids would be badly hurt.”

Reports of  people queuing for sunbeds on summer holidays and people acting as ‘sunbed police’ removing people's towels left for too long on a sun lounger and not used is currently dominating headlines.

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But Jo, who is mum to Solomon, now 17 and Lella, now 13, reveals it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to battling to get the perfect poolside spot.

“People were injured, people broke bones it was every man, woman and child for themselves and I never want to experience it again,” says the disability advocate.

Jo was on holiday in August 2016 with her elderly dad, Peter, 74, a retired financial advisor and her two children then aged seven and four years old.

“I’d booked a week-long holiday at a four star hotel in Gran Canaria as it was promoted as being family friendly with a big pool,” she says.

“What I didn't expect is a Gladiator-style sunbed battle which felt like a fight to the death every morning.”

When Jo arrived at the hotel it was 10pm at night.

“The hotel had three tower blocks of rooms and we were the furthest away from reception” she says.

“There was no one to help me with the luggage and the kids were both under eight years old.

“The evening's entertainment was in full swing so I had to battle boozy Brits to just get to the room.”

Then Jo discovered there was no air conditioning in her part of the hotel.

“I had to hire an air conditioning unit just so we could sleep and it cost me nearly £100.”

The next morning, Jo, an early riser, walked out onto her balcony to get the lay of the land.

“I expected to see calm and a glimmering pool,” she says.

“Instead I saw over a hundred people swarming around the pool entrances armed with towels.

“A fellow guest told me if I wanted a sun lounger I’d have to be up before 6am and do battle with the hordes.

“Gobsmacked by what I’d been told, I grabbed a couple of towels and made my way to the pool area.

“I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

“A man who everyone called the ‘Sun Bed Sergeant’ spent thirty minutes lining up sunbeds and removing towels guests had put down earlier. 

“He then dramatically stood in the middle of the bridge and clapped his hands.

“I heard a lady next to me scream ‘go, go, go!’ and it was a literal stampede. 

“I lost a flip flop, was shoved and elbowed – I was very lucky to avoid the concrete.”

Jo managed to nab two sunbeds on the first day but was shocked at other guests' behaviour.

She says, “One family of ten literally stood on the highest step and chucked their towels and bags over people's heads and wherever they landed they claimed, which of course did not go down well.
“Other people fell over. There were arguments when two people got to one sunbed at the same time, it was hideous.

“When I saw one man break his toe in the sunbed stampede I knew this was not only dangerous but ridiculous.

“People needed hospital treatment just to secure a sunbed.”

“All this before 7am and my morning coffee was just too much.

“I reckon that there were 400 guests and only enough beds for a third of the guests so it really was survival of the fittest.

“I should have brought my trainers, my flip flops just weren’t up to the job.”

Jo says one woman managed to grab three sunbeds and then discovered someone had collected her towels and chucked them in the toilets. 

“She was spitting chips and made sure the entire pool knew she was going to find out who took her towels,” she says.

“Other guests had nicked sunbeds and were storing them on their balcony and bringing them to the pool to avoid the sun stampede.

“I paid £2,000 for the holiday and expected it to be calm and enjoyable but it was nothing of the sort.”

Jo admits she got no sleep and was shattered at the end of her holiday

“The entertainment did not finish until 2am so the music was loud,” she remembers.

“Then I had to be up at 5:30am to line up for that sunbed scrum.

“I was waking up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations and anxiety thinking I had missed the sunbed stampede. 

“It  was a holiday horror show.”

Jo says the hotel staff seemed unaware guests were unhappy.

“I think it had been going on for so long it was considered normal,” she admits.

Jo has vowed to never holiday at the hotel again and now thoroughly researches her holidays thoroughly.

“I track down people who have stayed there just to learn about the sun bed situation,” she says.

“I videoed the stampede because my husband who had to stay in England for work didn't believe me.

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“A friend suggested I post it online and I’ve had over 41,000 views. It’s gone viral.

“It’s the worst case of sunbed bedlam I have ever seen.”

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