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Bed and Breakfast, but no Roof Letters Blog | Barrie Mahoney

'Writing Inspired by an Island in the Atlantic'

Bed and Breakfast, but no Roof

It is holiday time again, and the ‘big getaway’ is about to begin in most countries. Those of us who live in Spain and the Canary Islands will hardly be surprised to read that Spain and the USA are jointly the second most popular countries for tourists to visit in the world with 75.6 million visitors each. Figures show Spain and the USA just behind France, which had 82.6 million visitors.

With all this holiday travel, and particularly during the peak holiday season, finding sufficient accommodation for all manner of guests with different budgets can be a problem. In the Canary Islands, for instance, it used to be a simple matter of recommending a tried and trusted hotel for visiting friends, yet this is currently becoming more of a problem with most hotels at full capacity for much of the year. Whilst innovative ideas, such as Airbnb have helped to ease the load, this form of accommodation is increasingly being eyed with suspicion, especially by tourism officials who are concerned about wide variations in the quality of such accommodation, as well as tax and local authority officials who are concerned that taxes are not being paid.

I was intrigued to hear about one innovative offering from Airbnb on the deliciously unconventional Spanish island of Ibiza. Since accommodation on the island is in short supply, and prices have increased to unrealistic levels, some locals are offering a bunk bed on their balconies for just 50 euros a night. One such ‘hostel’ offers up to nine bunk beds on a small balcony. Guests have use of the bathroom and living room, although understandably, this area is heavily monitored with a security camera.

If this isn’t quite up to usual standards, guests can opt to stay in a wooden shack and delivery vans converted into ‘caravanettes’, although these alternatives are more expensive at 90 euros per night, but they do have the added advantage of a roof. It is probably worth paying extra for protection during a sudden storm or a mosquito attack. Intending guests might find it useful to know that Ibiza is an all-day party island where quality sound proofing could be quite useful, particularly at night.

One enterprising businessman in Spain recently bought an old plane from a bankrupt airline with a view to converting it into premium accommodation for tourists. I am often told how comfortable planes are to sleep in during long haul flights, so logic tells me that they could make comfortable night time accommodation on the ground too. This form of holiday accommodation could well appeal to aviation fanatics and those seeking something different. Personally, once I have arrived at my destination and left the plane, the last thing that I would want to do is to spend my holiday in one; still, it takes all sorts.

This businessman may well be on to something big, since there are several converted planes around the world that have been successfully converted into hotels, bars, restaurants, homes and even a McDonalds! There is one plane in Georgia that has been converted into a kindergarten, which will no doubt appeal to aspiring pilots of the younger generation. In New Zealand, one 1950s Bristol Freighter twin engine aircraft that was used in the Vietnam War has been converted into a motel, although guests have to pay extra to sleep in the cockpit. Another airplane in the Netherlands has been converted into a romantic getaway with all those holiday essentials, including a spa, jacuzzi, infrared sauna, mini bar and three flat screen televisions. I am curious to know what happens in an infrared sauna…

Personally, I think I will give these alternatives a miss, since I am desperate to stay in one of the new ‘virtual reality’ hotels with accommodation that adjusts to the specific needs of individual guests, such as the prototype recently demonstrated at Madrid’s tourism fair, but that is a story for another time. Finally, if you find yourself sleeping in unusual holiday accommodation, such as a garage, kennel or disused swimming pool, maybe a little more research is needed next time.

© Barrie Mahoney 2024

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