By Sophie Norris
A family have revealed footage of a ‘stampede’ of holidaymakers in a desperate bid to reserve sunbeds – which they claim ruined their £3,000 holiday.
Stephanie Monks and boyfriend Robert Bailey had taken their two children on holiday to Puerto Azul, Gran Canaria, but claim they faced only one sunbed for every three people.
Holidaymakers were allegedly ‘packed in like sardines’, while the 26-year-old mum says they faced queues from 7am to get sunbeds and even a rush to get seats for meals in the evening.
Others who visited the Sunconnect resort also complained on TripAdvisor that the hotel did not have enough room for its guests, while Stephanie claimed it left her six-year-old daughter, Nicole, wanting to go home.
Stephanie, from Preston, Lancs, said: “We couldn’t find a sunbed anywhere. It was the worst place I’ve ever been to.
“People had been queuing from 7am to get one. The pool area didn’t even open until 8.45am
“You could see people running as soon as the man removed the chain. There were towels being chucked everywhere.
“We got up the morning after arriving and went down to the pool area.
“There were not enough sunbeds for all the people in the resort. Luckily, we met another couple who were also from Preston who let us use theirs a few times.
“On the second day, we got up and again, no sunbeds. At this point we were thinking ‘are you joking?’
“The next day we got up really early and went down to speak to the reception about it. They just said there’s nothing we can do about it.
“There were signs all around the pool saying you weren’t allowed to reserve sunbeds.”
The family claim they spoke to the reception staff and the holiday rep at the resort, but both said there was nothing they could do to stop sunbeds being reserved.
Like other holidaymakers who complained on TripAdvisor or Thomas Cook’s website, Stephanie claims there was nowhere near enough room to facilitate to number of people there.
Stephanie said: “We spoke to the rep as well because by this point the kids were getting fed up. We had to sit near the bar area so couldn’t let my two-year-old, Paige, run around or anything.
“We spent £3,000 on this holiday. I was really upset and the holiday didn’t get any better.
“The kids even said they just wanted to go home. It was mad.
“Quite a lot of families were saying the same thing as me and Robert.
“The place was massive – there were about three or four sides to it.
“The whole area looks huge but we couldn’t move or walk around properly.
“There were probably 50 apartments per block with your average family of four, so I’d say around 600 people were there and about 200 sunbeds.
“I watched families sit every day on them, not moving. Even young kids would have their own.
“We did meet a few families who would sometimes give theirs up for us.
“Even at night, you’d go for tea and there was no way we were sitting down first.”
Her partner, Robert, 34, also reiterated her point and said he would never book with Thomas Cook again.
Robert said: “The hotel pool area is nowhere near big enough for all the people in the hotel.”
On Thomas Cook’s website, other recent holidaymakers said there were far too many people for the area.
One customer said there were ‘far too many people’ and ‘not a big enough area’, while another claimed they were ‘packed in like sardines’ and that they had queued for over an hour for sunbeds.
A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: “We did everything we could to help Ms Monks and her family during their stay.
“They booked their holiday online, where we highlight that one bedroom apartments have a ceiling fan only, and in resort they declined the option of upgrading to a room with air conditioning or renting a unit for their room locally.
“There are 700 sunbeds available at this hotel, many of which were not occupied during the family’s stay. We will be contacting them again to further address their concerns.”
However Stephanie claims she was frustrated by the lack of sunbeds around places where they would want to sit such as by the pool, rather than in secluded terraces.