The Top 10 Hot Tub Entertaining Ideas
Hot tubbing can be a wonderfully solitary activity – the perfect way to relax and unwind. But we all get the urge to share our little slice of heaven from time to time, either with a few close friends or a bigger group get-together. At Hot Tub Addict we’re huge fans of a good hot tub party, so we’ve put together a list of tips you should consider before entertaining guests in your spa.
#1: Clean and ‘zhuzh’ your tub
If you don’t want your guests wading into a cauldron of biofilm, scale and foam you should probably do a pre-party clean. The day before, make sure your tub’s pH is 7.4-7.6, which will help your sanitizer perform properly even when the tub is full of revelers.
It’s also a good idea to take your filter out and give it a heavy-duty clean so it can cope with the extra work it’s going to need to do during your party. For the extra wow factor, don’t underestimate the power of some hot tub aromatherapy liquid or crystals! Guests are often amazed at how good a tub smells after it’s had the aromatherapy treatment, so add some to the water before your party. Be sure to avoid regular essential oils – these aren’t made for hot tubs and can throw off your water chemistry.
#2: Get backyard ready!
Having a clean tub is all very well, but if your guests will be knee deep in long grass and thistles when they step out, they probably won’t leave with the best impressions. Don’t underestimate the power of a freshly mown lawn, weeded garden, and water-blasted pathway.
Get out there a few days before your party and spend a couple of hours making your hot tub’s surroundings spick and span. Clean up outdoor furniture, make sure you have enough seating, tip over any standing water to limit the number of mosquitos, and make sure the pathway from the house to the tub is free of dirt and leaves.
#3: Pick a theme
You may think party themes are cheesy but when it comes to your next hot tub gathering, think again! You don’t need to go full Arabian Nights, but even a subtle theme can boost guests’ enjoyment of your soiree and inject it with some extra fun.
Once you’ve picked your theme, think about what you can do to bring it to life. Have a trip to the thrift or dollar store and pick up a few props to help you out. Think: Vegas (dice, waterproof playing cards, inflatable palm trees), Alice in Wonderland (teacups, cupcakes, silly hats), Toga (columns, ivy, urns, sheets), or pick a decade and make your hot tub a time machine!
#4: Party decorations
The first rule of hosting any kind of party? Never, ever, underestimate the power of a well-placed string of bunting. No, but seriously – a few decorations can lift your hot tub party to the next level and fill your guests with the festive spirit.
You don’t need to spend a fortune or go overboard, but some bunting, paper lanterns, balloons or streamers near the tub will go a long way toward setting the party tone for your friends.
If you’re not the decorating type, we’ll let you in on a little secret. Buy a piñata. A piñata is an easy and fun decoration that takes 2 minutes to hang up and a little less to hit down. Just don’t hang it right above the spa!
#5: Make your spa visitor-friendly
No matter how many times you’ve told your friends and family you’re throwing a hot tub party, emphasis on the hot tub, somebody will inevitably forget their swimsuit (we’re looking at you, Uncle Fred). To avoid people skulking around the tub with regret-filled eyes, or worse – a skinny-dipping Uncle Fred – pick up some cheap male and female swimsuits in different sizes and have them on hand for forgetful friends and family.
Keep an abundance of towels to hand. Even if people have brought their own they’ll inevitably be soggy by the end of the party and will need another. Think ahead and be ready to hand them a dry one!
#6: Bring the party out of the tub
Not everybody will want to be in the spa at the same time – and it’s likely they wouldn’t all fit even if they did! Rather than having clusters of friends and family standing on the sidelines and waiting for their turn in the water, provide alternate sources of amusement outside of the tub.
Pull a big outdoor table near the spa so those in and out of it can still chat and socialize. Dust off your favorite outdoor-friendly games like Jenga, a cornhole board, ring toss, bocce, skittles, badminton, and – depending on the space available – croquet or frisbee.
#7: Serve the right food and drink
Everyone loves a party with a spit roast or barbecue, but filling your guests up with heavy, greasy food doesn’t pair well with an energizing soak in your hot tub. Heavy food will make your guests feel bloated and self-conscious in their swimsuits, so think ahead and plan some finger food that’s easy to hold, less-likely to grease-up your tub, and light enough to keep your friends feeling energetic and fresh.
Have your table of food well away from the tub and make it a place where people can graze while they take a break from the water.
You’ve got the food, the decorations, the spare swimsuits and the party games – what’s left?
If you feel like going the extra mile, hot tub accessories can be your best friend. There are plenty to choose from … here are just a few ideas:
- A floating speaker: You’re not entertaining properly if there’s no music! And rather than dragging your stereo outside, why not bring the music to your tub?
- Spa pillows: If your party is a high-energy one these may not be necessary, but if you’ve invited folks over for a relaxing, mellow soak, consider investing in some hot tub pillows for them to rest their heads on
- .Floating games: Bring some competition to the tub! Pick up a floating games board and watch things heat up!
- Spa-side umbrella: Keep your friends from boiling in the direct sun with a spa-side umbrella – perfect if your party is a daytime affair.
- Booster cushion: Will your friends bring their kids with them? A booster cushion is great to keep little heads safely above water, and will even be appreciated by your shorter friends!
- Hot tub lights: If you’re throwing a night-time party, buy some pool lights and watch your tub glow!
- Drink holders: Why? Because everybody loves an inflatable flamingo. Trust us.
#9: Keep the tub clean
You’ve been hard at work clearing your yard and balancing your tub’s pH, and then your guests arrive and drop ketchup and mustard in the water and – worse still – broken glass from a smashed beer mug. Suddenly your spa’s acidity levels are up the wazoo and your filter is clogged with glass and bits of hamburger bun. Not ideal.
Clear ground rules are a must. Let your guests know from the outset that it’s important not to drop food in the tub and serve them drinks in plastic rather than glass mugs. You can even offer your shower to anyone who wants to have a pre-tub rinse down – this will help your spa cope with all the new body oils, lotions and laundry detergents it’s about to be exposed to.
Our final tip for hot tub entertaining sounds like a downer, but it’s the most important factor in a successful spa party – after all, nobody’s going to happy if they have to leave in an ambulance.
Keeping your guests safe should be top priority, and luckily there are a few simple things you can do to make sure that’s the case:
- Ensure your pathways and courtyards aren’t slippery and won’t get worse with splashed water from the tub
- Buy some hot tub stairs so no one falls while getting in or out
- Limit the amount of alcohol you have on offer. Drinking and tubbing makes it easier to get intoxicated – and tipsy folk, water, and slippery surfaces never mix well
- Use plastic or paper plates and cups rather than glass and china
- Make sure to point out any hazards to your guests as they arrive
- Don’t leave children unattended in the spa
- Have plenty of water available – hot tubbing can make you dehydrate quickly!
The most important tip for entertaining in your hot tub? Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
Happy party-planning hot-tubbers! Soak up the fun!