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The number of UK homeowners investing in a hot tub has seen an unprecedented increase since the start of the pandemic. The last 12 months have witnessed persistent lockdowns that have removed the ability of most families to make plans or have something to look forward to. With much of the world still inaccessible to holiday makers, and the cost of staycations sky-rocketing as a direct result, many are looking for different ways to make the most of the summer holidays this year.

Camping equipment is the new gold, as many families rush to outdoor stores to grab one of the last remaining tents, so they can at least get away from the same four walls that have held them captive all this time. So, with the desire to enjoy our outdoor space increasing, so is the market for high-ticket leisure items, such as ebikes, hot tubs and swim spas. The problem, as I found out, is getting hold of one!

Are there any Hot Tubs left?

One of the biggest impacts the pandemic has had this year, is on international trade and manufacturers’ abilities to move goods around freely. Most major ports have stayed open throughout, albeit with severe restrictions in place. This has meant that the cost of goods made abroad has increased also, as shipping companies respond to the increased demand for their own reduced capacity. The majority of hot tubs available the UK market are either made in the USA or China, meaning that although demand has increased, supply has been limited, creating the perfect conditions for a price increase.

I’ve heard several horror stories of people being promised 3-4 week delivery after paying their deposit for a hot tub, only to find that the hot tub they’ve been promised hasn’t even left the factory in China. With shipping routes restricted and capacity limited, getting hold of a new hot tub can now take twice as long as it used to. Similarly, Swim spa vendors tend not to hold too much stock of these items, as the cost is so high, and it’s not uncommon to be quoted 12 months between paying your deposit and your swim spa arriving at your home.  

The Best Hot Tubs Available Now

As a father of two, I’ve been keen to find a spa for my own house so the whole family has an extra source of enjoyment while holidays abroad remain a distant dream. As a result, I have been researching the industry and find out who actually has hot tubs and who doesn’t. It’s always important when you speak to a vendor, to ask if you can see the actual tub that you are going to buy – especially when stories of deception are rife. If they cannot provide evidence that its already in the UK, then the likelihood is that the tub you have been promised hasn’t even been built yet. If that’s the case – it is safe to assume that it won’t be arriving on British shores for at least another 8-10 weeks.   

That said, I am told that there are still one or two vendors around the UK that actually have hot tub inventory available – they may not be the exact model you are looking for, but when choice is limited and the kids are bored to the point of frustration, actually getting hold of one is a bonus in itself.

Shortly after contemplating this conundrum, I saw a social media ad claiming that a UK vendor has hot tubs in stock, and better still, they were offering installation within 2-3 weeks. Knowing that the supply is strained, I decided to get in touch with them to see if their claim was true.

The company I contacted is called Allspa – a UK hot tub distributor and vendor based in Farnham, Surrey. I took a look through the 30 or so models on their website and decided to book a visit to their showroom to see if there was any substance to their claim. To my surprise, the company actually had stock of a handful of hot tubs – mostly display models, but new hot tubs all the same. The stock they had available only represented a small proportion of the total choice detailed on the website, however the prospect of buying our first family hot tub was potentially becoming a real one.

Choosing the Right Hot Tub for Your Family

My partner and I have two daughters, so the prospect of adding a hot tub to our household offered quite a bit of excitement to our little family of four, a much-needed boost after a torrid year of home-schooling and travel restrictions. Any parent with more than one child will know that ensuring everyone gets an equal share is crucial to keeping the peace. For this reason, I had my eye on The Marrakesh 5 person hot tub – securing one of these would give each of us plenty of space to relax and enjoy our outdoor space without feeling like we were all sharing a cramped bath.

Following my own advice, I asked the salesperson if I could actually view the hot tub they were offering me. Their stock was held off-site and due to covid restrictions, accessing their warehouse would be problematic. This all started to sound a little like an excuse, but given the restrictions placed up on them by the government during the pandemic, I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. The salesperson could see that I was becoming unsure, and to his credit, offered to connect me via video call to their warehouse, so that I could see the tub that way instead.

Within a few minutes, he’d managed to facetime their warehouse manager and I was shown (albeit remotely) to the stock they had available. Fortunately for me, there was one Marrakesh available. Still suspicious of potentially getting gazumped by another customer, I asked the warehouse manager if he would write my name on the side of the packaging. He dutifully agreed and the salesperson and I sat down to negotiate terms.

Getting Your Hot Tub Installed

Not all hot tubs simply plug into the mains – the majority of the higher powered models available require their own direct electricity supply. After agreeing a delivery date with the vendor, and them making a visit to our home to check the suitability of the site, I organised for an electrician to do the necessary work to prepare for the hot tub.

The area we wanted to position our new hot tub was already paved, which meant that we didn’t have to undertake any additional ground works before it could be installed. Once the power supply was in place, it was simply a case of waiting for our new hot tub to arrive. The excitement in. The excitement in the house was palpable.

Fourteen days after the purchase was agreed upon, our hot tub arrived. The Allspa team took about an hour and a half to get the tub in position, connected up and fully commissioned. They talked us through all of the features, but I could tell my daughters just wanted the guys to get it over and done with so they could jump in, so after a brief, but thorough induction we were ready to take our first plunge.

I have to say that our experience of buying our first family hot tub has been fantastic and the team at Allspa have been brilliant throughout. I’m so pleased we managed to find a vendor with genuine stock, but I know many others haven’t been quite so fortunate. It seems the key to a successful hot tub purchase is asking the right questions. Don’t be keen to hand over a deposit if there’s no proof the product you are buying is actually available.

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