TO borrow the estate agents’ mantra, a successful day at the beach is a question of ‘location, location, location’.
You can either choose to base – and baste – yourself at a beach club, or on the sand itself. Which brings me to the Giles Brown Beach Rule Number Two: when you find that pristine stretch of sand, check the calendar. If it’s Sunday, pack up and go home. Otherwise, within half-an-hour of rolling out your beach mat, applying the Hawaiian Tropic and opening the latest Jackie Collins, you’ll find yourself surrounded.
What may look like the encampment of Attila’s hords is, in fact, 20 Spanish families enjoying Sunday on the playa. An afternoon with Attila would be preferable.
As well as the ice boxes, picnic tables, beach umbrellas, folding chairs and emergency kit for the baby, Spanish families love to set up camp 100m from their Seats and fling the doors open, blasting music from the car stereo.
The kids will be running between the sea and their beach base camp (spraying sand over you, of course) with whatever stone, bottle or unmentionable item they’ve found. Then one of the little darlings falls over, gets soaked by a sibling or is gobbled up by a great white shark (OK, I made that last one up, but it’s a fervent wish sometimes).
If you find a quiet spot and its not Sunday, stay alert. A gang of mulleted morons on quads are bound to race over the horizon and start tearing up the sand around you. Quads are my current bete noire – but I’ll save my spleen for a future article.
Your next task is to decide, what kind of beach bar? You could plump for the luxurious Nikki Beach, Ocean Club or La Cabane at Los Monteros, all full of beautiful people doing beautiful things to each other. (The eastern European teenager being entertained by the 70-year-old George Hamilton lookalike is his niece … no, really). Just watch out for the champagne spray when the guys from Sintillate are holding one of their extravaganzas. Or you can head for somewhere you can feel the sand between your toes and chill out with a couple of Mojitos – Victor’s and Mistral are always popular.
On to Beach Rule Number Three: avoid doing anything energetic on the beach. Dancing is out, especially when directly linked to the number of drinks consumed. You’ve only to see the scrum at Sharkey’s on a Sunday to see why. And the big no-no is watersports.
I’m still recovering from Fun Marbella’s press lunch last year, when I foolishly accepted an invitation to go on the Flyfish, the invention of a deranged aquatic sadist. If I’d wanted a salt water enema I’d have booked myself a session at a Thalasso spa, thank you.
Rather than be dragged behind a speedboat, watch from the bar. If anybody asks you why you’re not wind surfing, kite surfing or jet skiing, just say you’d love to but you’re competing in the nationals next week and your coach doesn’t want you to get injured.
Follow these golden rules and you’ll be sure to enjoy a fabulous summer on the beach. I’ll be the one with the Mojito and surf shorts by the bar…
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