This Dad Is A Vacation Hero, Reserving Spots For His Family At The Resort Pool

I’ve never understood buying a plane ticket and paying for a resort – and then having to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning just to reserve a pool or beach chair in order to ‘relax’. That puts me out of step with many travelers who flock to resorts where this is the standard.

I try to make each trip count, because my time is scarce while I can afford (mostly with points) nice places to stay where I’m not four rows of chairs back from the beach and where I don’t need to put a book and towel on a lounger before anyone else has gotten up. Those are the sorts of places – even at expensive resorts (I’ve experienced this at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman for instance) – that I call ‘resort factories’.

Here’s one dad making the rounds in social media, trying to prepare for his family’s relaxation by the pool – by sprinting from lounge chair to lounge chair, putting a towel on it to mark territory.

He’s just one man. Vacation isn’t relaxing for him but he’s making darned sure his family can get what they’re after on their trip. He’s a modern family hero.

At some resorts, though, he’s Every. Single. Guest. Like at this resort in Tenerife, Spain where people lined up at 6:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the pool even opened, in order to be first in line to reserve chairs. Then they storm this relaxation area like it’s Black Friday at Walmart.

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

In Tenerife, Spain I suppose this would be called “the running of the guests.” Your resort fees probably include the pool chairs, too.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I detest the selfishness of this practice.
    If you want to reserve a chair and deny other guests from using a resort chair then buy some chairs and leave them with the resort. In the nice resorts in Mexico some guests do this early in the morning then don’t come back until 2:00pm.
    I respectfully put their gear under the chair while I use it.
    The resort has a no holding chair policy but the staff does not enforce it because if the nasty American complains to management then management demotes the staff member.

    A bunch of entitled wimps. If you want that chair for 2:00pm put your butt into it at 7:00am and then no one will complain.

    Me Me ME

  2. I don’t go on vacation to sit around a pool and get a sun burn. I could do that at home and save a lot of money. However, I always get up at 5 am, so I could if I wanted to.
    Instead, I will get up early to go scuba diving. If I’m in Cayman I’ll drive to the north side and dive at Babylon reef so I can avoid all the tourons. (tourons = tourist-morons)

  3. This is chiefly caused by all the faux resorts not having anywhere near enough useable space for all the guest rooms. If you’re charging a resort fee you better have pool space or beach space.

    I stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider for a week back in 2019. Despite being charged a resort fee, I was never ONCE able to get a chair at the pool. The beach chairs were an extra expense on top of the resort fee. So, I had to settle for using pool towels on the beach.

    Never again will I pay for a Waikiki hotel. Almost none of them have enough space of their own. Same for most Miami Beach hotels.

    Just book a cheaper hotel a few blocks off the beach or an AirBnb, go to Walmart buy a chair and take it to the public access points on the beach. It’s certainly better and cheaper than either not getting a chair at the pool or being stuck in the shade next to the bathroom for the whole week because you chose to sleep in every morning and have sexual relations with your wife.

  4. That doesn’t look like a luxury hotel. We usually try to reserve a cabana or daybed to avoid having to fight with these pleebs.

  5. I always just throw the shit off chairs that aren’t being used or if a trash can is close will throw the stuff in a trash can.

  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a place mobbed with guests fighting over insufficient ‘resort assets’. Why do people book these places in the first place? As someone else mentioned, spending tons of money to lay in the sun snuggled up next to strangers is not a plan that works for a thinking person. Do a little research and stop patronizing these money-grubbing so-called ‘resorts’.

  7. So glad I’m not the type to want to lay around just because I’m on vacation. But I do remember one time at Disney world I was in the pool with my kids and there was a woman watching her kids. She kept giving me dagger stares because she thought she owned That end of the pool. Nope. Enjoyed it just as much as her kids.

  8. These pools look terrible, I can’t imagine wasting my vacation crammed around dozens of others at a pool that rivals the quality of my public city pool.

  9. I am the setup guy when the family goes on vacation. We stay at the pool. While the family gets ready, I take my coffee and my WSJ on my iPad and set up at the pool.
    As pool people, we also observe that people reserve chairs then don’t show up for hours. At many resorts, the “pool chair police” clear out belongings after an hour

  10. Pro Tip- Get up early, save twice as many chairs as you need, then when some sucker family comes around looking for some chairs, tell them to buy you some pool drinks or overpriced lunch for $40, and it can be a nice little side hustle. Bonus points for 10+ chairs. A small tip to the pool attendant makes them look the other way. And yes, I have actually done this before. Primarily in Hawaii where the workers don’t care because they hate tourists anyways.

  11. Sounds a little like Gary boarding a WN flight in group A and scattering clothes around his seat for the fam back in group C. Doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

  12. Right, your resort is not luxury or even high-end if you have to do this. It’s like a middle class marker.

  13. Came for the comments
    How many elderly and disabled did he run over securing his chairs?

  14. Hmmm…I think the standards for being a “hero”, while even on vacation, have dropped significantly with this post.

  15. I blame the resorts.

    If a lounge chair is empty for 30-minutes, the materials should be removed and that lounge chair is available for another guest.


  16. This is common practice just about everywhere and it STINKS! People secure their lounge chairs and leave on an excursion only to return in the afternoon and expect their chair to be available for them. It is a selfish, inconsiderate practice that should NOT be permitted by the resort. Resorts have rules against this practice but they are not enforced. It is enough to ruin your vacation 🙁

  17. I just get to the area, wait 10 minutes. If the toweled chair has not been filled, off goes the towel and plant my derriere on it. I don’t care whether the chair was “reserved”. I paid just as much as the next person so these entitled idiots can kiss my rear end and point to the “No reservation of chairs allowed” sign. If they want to argue, I give them 25 cents and tell them to call someone who cares and a hearty good bye.

  18. Disgusting process. I remember my British cousin telling me about this whenever she vacationed in “nice places”. I’ve NEVER encountered that anywhere I’ve been, but she had different standards than me. I laughed hysterically when she told me she went to the pool and threw ALL the towels on empty chairs INTO THE POOL and then watched the chaos. New people got chairs and the “chair hogs” lost their s**t. Very enjoyable. Resorts need to step up to stop this baffoonery. Tacky AF.

  19. He is NOT a hero. He’s a narcissistic moron who doesn’t have an ounce of civil social insight.

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