Posted on 18/03/2016 by David
Hot tubs are becoming increasingly popular and we often have holiday makers asking about cottages with hot tubs. Offering a hot tub will make your property stand out and help boost booking levels. It won’t be suitable or practical for everyone but it is worth considering. So what do you need to know about providing one at your cottage?
Types of hot tub
Sizes range from small 3 seaters up to 8+ and come in a variety of styles and build qualities. The higher end models typically have increased numbers of water jets, Wi-Fi speaker systems, LED lighting, waterfalls, a variety of seating positions and even foot and hand massage. Alternatively you can go back to basics with a wood fired hot tub, the perfect match for an off-grid property.
For a holiday let it’s important to deliver a suitable “wow” factor and high quality build level to ensure a long and trouble free operation. Typically an American style hot tub has a great appearance, is built to a high standard with 5 year warranty and has a large number of extras as standard such as automatic dispensers to keep the water clean.
Typically hot tubs are located in the garden. You'll need a flat level piece of ground which can support the weight of a full tub, for the bigger ones that could be as much as 3 tonnes. You'll also need an electrical supply to power the motors and pumps. If you're not sure about this don't worry. The hot tub company will carry out a survey at the cottage as part of the service and can arrange for any preparation work required. The other thing to consider is access, smaller tubs will can be delivered through the front door and into the garden but bigger ones will need a larger entrance such as through a gate, typically requiring at least 4ft clearance.
With each set of new guests you will need to sterilise the tub and change the water. This is done by adding chemicals to the hot tub and running the system for a while before emptying the water using the hot tub pump. The emptying process will take about 45 to 60 minutes and the same to refill it which you can do from a hosepipe. It will take around 6 to 8 hours to heat up the water so if you make this process the first thing you do when starting a turnaround house clean the tub should be ready for use that evening.
Bacteria love the warm water. "Sanitizers" kill the bacteria and keep the water safe. There are several different types including chlorine, bromine and biguanide. These can be dispensed from a "frog" which floats in the water or, a much better option for a holiday cottage, an automatic dispenser which is incorporated into the tub.
You can also use supplemental devices such as ozonators, enzymes or ionizers which can reduce the required levels of sanitizers but are not a replacement for them. You will have to match the type of sanitizer and supplemental treatment to get the best results.
pH levels also need to be checked using dipping sticks which change colour according to the pH value. Any time the levels are too high or low the water can be quickly brought back to the correct level by adding the appropriate solutions.
If the above sounds a bit complicated don’t be put off. Owners have said that once you know what you are doing it’s a straightforward process. The company which supplies the hot tub will talk you through the process and help you.
Pipe cleanser removes a build-up of chemical and organic compounds and should be applied every few months depending on how much use it gets.
Filters - need to be cleaned once a month and replaced once a year, typically as part of the annual service
Servicing – needs to be carried out once a year
Don't forget that not everyone is familiar with hot tubs so if you are offering one at your holiday cottage then you must include information on how to use it in your information pack. Guests are usually good at giving feedback so make sure you review the information you provide based on their experiences.
The same applies to risk assessments which you need to do for your property to make sure you are providing a safe environment.
Make sure your holiday letting insurance includes guests’ use of the hot tub and the cost of any damage that could potentially occur. Also make sure that you comply with any of the conditions set out in the insurance to keep your cover valid, this could include things like minumum age of a person using the hot tub (accompanied and unaccompanied) and how often it's serviced.
Some example costs are given below to give you an idea of the figures involved.
A basic 3 seater tub will cost around £3,000. An American style 4 seater offering a higher quality appearance and features will be around £4,200 and a similar 6 to 7 seater around £6,300.
Running cost would be around 70p a day for electricity (based on 2 hours of use) and £10 a month for water treatment
An annual service will cost in the region of £150 which equates to a couple of hours works and include things like filter change.
This cost can be covered by the extra bookings you could receive and possible increases in rental. North Wales Holiday Cottages will advise owners who let through them as would most other holiday letting agencies. Don't forget to speak to your accountant - you may be able to claim capital allowance
UK Leisure Living in Mochdre, Conwy, have a range of hot tubs in their new showroom. You can try the hot tub experience for yourself and ask any questions that you might have.