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Thursday 2 July 2009

Ten Quid A Night

The economy may be in a less than ideal state in the UK right now. But, as the saying goes, there’s always someone worse off than you, and a look across the EU proves this: in Spain, unemployment is well into a double figure percentage. And then there are all those hotels and apartments with increasing numbers of empty rooms.

I did notice, back in March, that there was no problem getting B&B in Alicante for just over 30 notes a night. What I’ve discovered since is that, provided you commit to a month’s booking, a room can be had for the equivalent of a tenner. This news came from a feature in the deeply subversive Guardian, which focused on efforts by the management of the Al-Bahia Hotel to fill rooms during less busy times.

The photo in the Guardian article doesn’t do full justice to the sheer size of the Al-Bahia. This is one very large complex: where the main road coming out of central Alicante towards the north west passes it, the place looks substantial, and that road is well up the cliff, so much so that several of the lower floors are not visible from that angle. You get a better idea of size by taking the half hourly tram-train which goes out to Benidorm: this runs at the foot of the cliff behind the hotel, which means for most of the time the railway is in the Al-Bahia’s shadow, as can be seen here.

So what? Well, when a hotel this big moves to make ten quid a night rooms available, the rest of the market – and there’s a lot of market in and around Alicante – takes notice. When business is bad enough that the name of the game is survival, prices will reflect this. Moreover, there is a good potential supply of takers thanks to the number of budget airlines flying in to Alicante airport. And it’s not always warm and sunny in the UK.

Also, those of suitably rigorous budget mentality can rest easy: from the Airport, there is a regular bus into Alicante, and it terminates by the Puerta del Mar tram station. No taxis needed.


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