Let’s face it – winters in the UK are chilly. Not chilly as in ‘sub arctic ice floes’ chilly, but chilly enough for us not to be reaching for our flip flops and shorts until mid-May (at least).
Until recently our British holidays have been all about afternoons spent huddled around the log burner in woolly socks hugging a cup of tea, and don’t get us wrong; there are few things better to do when the wind is howling outside, and the rain is beating against the windows.
Usher in the age of the hot tub. Not very many glamping properties are without one, and more and more holiday homes are installing them as a desirable addition to the accommodation on offer. Self-catering industry experts Luxury Coastal state that the demand for properties with hot tubs has steadily been increasing over the past 5 years, where Google Trends have identified over 170% increase in searches for ‘holiday cottages with hot tubs’ and a whopping 200,000 average monthly searches for ‘lodges with hot tubs’.
So what’s the big deal? Why is a comfy sofa and the humble fireplace not enough anymore, and why are so many holidaymakers including hot tubs as an essential extra in their search for the perfect winter getaway? We’ll delve a little deeper into this modern-day phenomenon to better understand the allure of winter bathing and why our Scandinavian neighbours have been sold on the idea for centuries.
Archeological evidence suggests that hot tubs have been used as a form of hydrotherapy for thousands of years with the earliest hot tubs dating as far back as 4000BC in ancient Egyptian. Therapeutic bathing was also enjoyed by the ancient Greeks who built pools around volcanic springs to capture the mineral rich water for healing, and later the Romans and the Japanese also bought into the healing and wellness properties of soaking in naturally heated pools. These days, slipping into hot bubbling water seems to still induce an instant state of calm, and there are few things more pleasant after long windswept walks.
A change in lifestyle
During the early months of the pandemic hot tub sales went through the roof with people preparing for a long, home-bound lockdown. At that time eBay reported a staggering 276% increase in the year-on-year sales between 22 March and 6 June 2020 with the highest increase being that of 1080% during April of that year. Fast forward to today and with further restrictions and lockdowns under the country’s belt; many more households have subsequently installed hot tubs as a way of making the most of their gardens while avoiding crowded public spaces like beaches and parks. A bit like a coffee machine, if you’ve got one at home, you’d expect to have one on holiday, so the hot tub seems to have evolved from the category of ‘unattainable luxury’ to that of ‘desirable creature comfort’.
Not quite but hear us out. Winter seas are brutally cold and pool temperatures can be too; but there’s such a freedom to swimming outdoors (especially in the rain) that most of us long to indulge in it. A hot tub fits the bill exquisitely! ‘Wild’ in that you’re in the elements, and ‘swimming’ in that you’re fully immersed in water; what’s not to love about that!
Another string in your holiday’s bow
Coast path walks and country pub pitstops, home-cooking and board games at the dining table after. Winter holidays are cosy, heart-warming affairs but very often our outdoor agendas are severely restricted by the weather outside. Rain or shine a hot tub holiday offers outdoor entertainment no matter the weather.
It almost goes without saying. Most modern hot tubs come with LED lighting and drinks holders, quite literally setting the mood for romantic interludes and magical moments; which is why so many couples’ glamping and lodge sites come with hot tubs as a standard.
Up your Social cred
What could be more Instagrammable than you sipping on shampers, steam rising from your wood-fired hot tub, overlooking the surrounding countryside from your luxury weekend escape’s wraparound deck? It’s envy-inducing stuff and certainly goes a long way to explaining the hot tub holiday’s rise in popularity among a social media influenced generation.