Spain: Tourist hotspot Benidorm empty in coronavirus pandemic
Benidorm has long attracted Britons fed up with life on gloomy UK shores and keen to escape to sunnier climes. The resort in Spain has become synonymous with debauched behaviour thanks to the crowds of Stag and Hen parties as well as other rowdy holidaymakers. ‘Brits abroad’ may have gathered a bad reputation – but without them Benidorm is “eerie,” says one expat.
Chris Green, 47, originally from Leeds, worked as a bar manager in Benidorm after relocating to Spain.
He explained to Express.co.uk that it’s easy for many outsiders to think the drunken and unruly behaviour so often photographed or filmed is throughout Benidorm.
However, in reality, this only goes on in a very small area while the rest of the town is “really beautiful.”
“Benidorm is actually quite a big place, and unfortunately it does get a lot of bad press for rowdiness and drunk behaviour – and there is a lot of that in the English Square,” Chris explained.
“But if you go into the old town Benidorm, it’s so quiet and it’s so different. And it’s beautiful.
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“Only the English Square bit is the sort of nightclub area, the area where all the stag and hen parties go to, and that’s where they’re catered to .
“Unfortunately a lot of people think that is Benidorm, and it’s not; Benidorm is actually a really, really beautiful place.”
Of course, that’s not to say that as a manager at popular Benidorm bar and grill Showboat, Chris didn’t witness some shocking behaviour.
The bar had a “massive terrace with a hot tub” where they’d hold private parties, including hosting Stag and Hen dos.
“I remember one incident where we were doing cocktail training and as I was doing the cocktails,” recalled Chris.
“When the girls turned up, they’d literally been off the plane 24 hours and had just been drinking so you can imagine the state they were in when they got there.
“The idea was to get them into groups and do fun games with them while they make their own cocktails and everything.
“But this particular party decided that wasn’t going to be the case and it was just an absolute free for all.
“I ended up with girls coming behind the bar wanting to have photos taken, trying to get the bottles off the shelf and it was just absolutely crazy.
“They’d also booked a butler in the buff, which was basically a butler that comes in – a good looking guy, he’s just got the apron on etc – and the things they were trying to do to him were unbelievable; and eventually, it was kind of like no, this really isn’t working.
“But then, you know, we’ve had other parties and it has been really good fun and they’re very well behaved and just have a really good laugh.”
Of course, now, Benidorm has been emptied of wild party animals due to Covid – and the disappearance has made a huge impact on the resort.
“We need the tourists there, without the tourists it’s an absolute ghost town,” said Chris.
“It’s really eerie, you know when you’re used to the hustle and bustle.”
It’s terrible news for local businesses, too.
“A lot of people rely on tips, which obviously come from tourists,” the expat said.
“Without people there and without the work, you know, bar owners are closing bars left, right and centre at the minute because it just can’t keep going and they’re not getting a lot of help from the government either.
“It’s really hard, people can’t keep going on.”
However, Chris remains optimistic Benidorm will return to its former greatness eventually.
“I do think it’ll get better,” he said. “There are so many people that absolutely love Benidorm and they’ll always go there. As soon as it safe to go back there and get flights, they’ll be back.”
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