Is It Time For The Italian Coast Guard To Start Regulating Hotel Pools?

Filed Under: Travel

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t spend much time lounging on the beach or at the pool. While I’ll gladly go for a quick swim in an outdoor pool, I don’t usually linger. I’m perfectly fine with my Casper-esque complexion, as I have enough aging issues due to the amount of travel I do — I certainly don’t need more help from the sun. 😉

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But if I were a pool or beach person, I’d be annoyed to no end at the practice of people “reserving” spots.

At hotel pools you’ll often see people place a book or extra towel on the best seat at the pool at the crack of dawn, and then they won’t return for hours. The same is true at hotel beaches. It’s a ridiculous practice, and slowly some hotels have been fighting back by creating rules about not being allowed to leave things unattended for more than a certain amount of time.

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Well, if you’re someone who is frustrated by the practice of reserving a spot at a beach, then you’ll love what the coast guard in Tuscany and Sardinia are doing. Per The Guardian:

Authorities from the coasts of Tuscany to Sardinia are cracking down on holidaymakers who seek to reserve prime beach territory by leaving their gear out overnight, with those responsible facing fines of €200 (£170).

The forces behind operation Safe Sea say the use of deckchairs and umbrellas by tourists who want to stake optimal spots is widespread and unfair to others who follow the rules.

On Saturday, the Livorno coastguard seized 37 deck and beach chairs, 30 umbrellas, towels and even some bathing suits, according to a report in La Repubblica.

The coast guard seems to not only be going after eager tourists, but also after some crafty entrepreneurs who are basically trying to sell beach chairs to tourists, and are placing them there first thing in the morning (or sometimes even overnight).

Regardless, I think it’s time that some hotels take a coast guard-style approach to beach & pool chairs. 😉

Do you think hotels should allow guests to reserve spots at the pool and beach? What restrictions should they have in place?

  1. This is not unique to just hotels and beaches. This is probably every cruiser’s number one gripe about cruises. There is even a name for it, “Chair Hogs”.

    I’ve been on over 15 cruises and now I usually just watch and wait to see if the person is actually there or not and then after 10 mins or so I remove their stuff and stake my claim. Then if they come back, which they never do, I just say, oh sorry someone must have moved it this seat was free when I got here.

  2. People are extremely libertarian in actual behavior even if they spew some other political ideology. All about me and my comfort, others can take care of themselves.

  3. Also called the “towel game” this is an issue at most beach resorts. Some hotels are great at enforcing it, other times the rules are in place, but they look the other way.

  4. So just move the towel and accept the possibility of a toe to toe confrontation with the towel’s owner. I’ve even done that with orange traffic cones that people put out on the street in my ‘hood to reserve a street parking spot (I live in a ‘hood with a beach). One guy ran out of his house when he saw me move the cones, but I stood my ground and my car stayed in the spot. I was polite but very firm. He backed down. Be ballsy!

  5. I just returned from Calabria and I laughed to myself how the “lifeguard” hovered over the chair and umbrellas (his real $ maker), while never looking towards the water once. He placed reserved signs on chairs (disgraziato)

  6. I applaud the Italian Government for this decision. This should happen everywhere. It is disgusting to arrive at a resort pool in Hawaii where all chairs are taken and there is nobody there. Some people “reserve” the chairs and don’t even show up to use them.

  7. The Intercontinental Bali was great about this. They even had a little marker with the expected time of return when you left so they would know when they could clear your stuff.

  8. Definitely a first world comment, but there are many lovely places around the world, Fregate, Amanpuri, for example, where no guests would ever consider such a thing. Just depends on the what some may think that their traveler “colleagues” may or may not visit. All sorts of people read your posts, Lucky, and we are grateful for what you do.

  9. Some people are just selfish. I understand that they want a chair, but leaving your belongings there for a very long time just frustrates me and probably a lot of others.
    On the other hand, it’s a kind of a good idea if there are many ignorant chavs (Google this term if you don’t know what it means, if I explain there will probably be huge uproar in comments) who will take your chair at any possible moment.
    But I don’t see the need to “reserve” a seat anyway if you are around good people who are respectful and considerate.

  10. OK, I have been upset when I’ve seen this at high-level resorts (putting a book and then gone for literally HOURS). However, I’ve also not been too happy when told at resorts that I can only be gone ONE hour and then my stuff will be removed. I’m snorkeling. I’m walking the beach trail. I may be playing in the pool that has a great river ride. An HOUR isn’t going to cut it for me. Two hours, I get it. But one hour? That sounds a little ridiculous. Plus how do they know how long you’ve been gone? How could you prove it?

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