scorecardI'm a sunbed saver in Ibiza. I'll go to the hottest spots and save a prime seat by the pool — for 500 euros.
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I'm a sunbed saver in Ibiza. I'll go to the hottest spots and save a prime seat by the pool — for 500 euros.

Mark Ellwood   

I'm a sunbed saver in Ibiza. I'll go to the hottest spots and save a prime seat by the pool — for 500 euros.
Careers5 min read
Alexia Parmigiani.    Vaal Morosova
  • Alexia Parmigiani works for Queen of Clubs in Ibiza where one of her main roles is saving sunbeds.
  • For 500 euros, plus the cost of the sunbed rental, she'll save a seat by the pool for wealthy travelers.

Alexia Parmigiani, 46, first traveled to Ibiza in her 20s. The Spanish island started emerging as a party paradise in the late 1990s, and she was drawn back again and again, always hoping to live there. The issue at the time was her career in London, where she ran her own business as a fashion designer.

But in 2020, she decided to leave fashion behind, closed her business, and moved to Ibiza at last with her husband and 10-year-old daughter.

Parmigiani now works for the luxury-concierge firm Queen of Clubs, a job she described as a personal assistant for people on vacation. "It's not about contacting the client every minute but anticipating their lifestyle," she told Insider.

She looks after visitors during peak season, which usually runs from late May through the end of September. "But August is the scariest month, because everyone is arriving on this tiny island at the same time," she said.

The role is very specific to the destination. "Ibiza is a fast-paced island, and no one wants to go to sleep" — except on a sunbed in a prime poolside position, she said. To facilitate this, one of Parmigiani's regular gigs is as a "Hold My Sunbed" concierge on Europe's party island.

Ibiza, Spain.      NeonJellyfish/Getty Images

One of her key jobs every summer is to save a sunbed for party-hopping clients

The owners of Queen of Clubs came up with the idea for the "Hold My Sunbed" program to accommodate the late-night lifestyle on the island, Parmigiani said. "Everything starts later: lunch is at 3 p.m., dinner might be at midnight, and then you go clubbing and could finish at 7 a.m. or who knows when. How is it possible, then, to be at a sunbed by 11 a.m.? It's a 24-hour island."

The best beach clubs don't offer loungers on a first-come, first-served basis, but instead have started to sell reservations in advance, reflecting the change in clientele over the years. They're not cheap, of course: A lounger could cost up to 500 euros, or around $538, for a four-person round bed to use all day, or 150 euros for a well-positioned single daybed.

Drink minimums also sometimes apply. The most in-demand reservations, Parmigiani said, are at Tropicana, Blue Marlin, or Jondal — especially the latter. "It doesn't even play music, but it's the hottest of them all, and the food is incredible," she said.

When a sunbed is booked directly through the club, sunbathers must arrive on time — within 15 to 20 minutes, maximum — or their sunbed will be resold, and no refund will be issued. That's where the "Hold My Sunbed" service can prove invaluable. Parmigiani's time for the service costs 500 euros a day, whether for a couple or a group of friends, and she then splits that fee with Queen of Clubs. The client also pays a fee for the sunbed itself.

Once she's hired, Parmigiani will arrive around 10 a.m. and negotiate with the club manager for the best spot, which is almost always in the front row along the pool and goes very quickly.

She won't ever sit on the beds while she waits — that risks creasing the linens — and she keeps a fan on hand to stay sweat-free. While she's waiting, she'll keep the staff happy and be in constant contact with a guest's private driver, so she can be prepared for their arrival.

Wealthy, sleepy visitors can be unpredictable. She recalled one group of Americans who were always at least three hours late for every reservation, including their sunbeds, which meant she had to scramble to coordinate the entire day without any word from them. "They would just turn unaware of the chaos and everyone running around stressing — they were having a great time," she said.

At most Ibiza beach clubs, guests can't book both a lounger and a lunch table, since the venues are keen to keep all spots filled at all times. This means Parmigiani will also often be juggling a lunch reservation elsewhere while she's sunbed-sitting. "We had one client who just left the beach club without paying, and they texted me to ask about it, and I said, 'Don't worry, they were being so well looked after they forgot to pay the bill.'"

Parmigiani operates a team of six who can cover the major beach clubs each morning. "The most I've held in a single place at one time was 10," she said, "I just kept saying, 'They're coming, they're coming.'"

After dark, Parmigiani's firm offers a similar option for clubbing

Nightlife in Ibiza.      REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

Once Parmigiani has secured her clients' sunbeds, she'll carry on with other concierge work, like check-ins at villas or coordinating a car to the local private airport. But her firm also offers a similar service at night: For 1,500 euros, you can hire a fixer as a club-hopping, after-hours executive assistant.

Fixers will typically accompany clients on four nights out. He or she will go to a restaurant to rendezvous with the group, having already scouted the VIP table they've booked for later to ensure its placement is premium. Then they accompany the clients to the club and stay with them through the night. The fixer always takes a photo of the check. "Clients like to see what they spent," said Parmigiani, especially if they can't quite remember.

The fixers are so well connected, they can ensure quick and discreet entry to any venue and can secure last-minute reservations, even in peak season when clubs are booked solid. Although they're working, fixers are intended as convivial company. "At the end of the night, clients are always pulling them in to have a shot," she said.

Once a family who hired Queen of Clubs insisted on booking a table at a nightclub where 18 was the minimum age for entry, but one of their sons was younger. "They tried to get him in with an illegal ID, but clubs in Ibiza know all the fake IDs, so they turned him down, and the family lost a table that cost 6,000 euros," she said. "The club would easily resell it, so they probably made at least 12,000 euros that night. But the fixer then took them to Blue Marlin, where the kid could come in for a little bit."

Parmigiani is usually up by 7 a.m., checking messages for that day's itinerary and sunbed bookings. "I have to make sure I have 100% battery — and that I am fully charged myself," she said.

Her work on clients' behalf is simple, she said. "No one wants to worry about arriving on time for anything. They want it there, whenever they're ready."