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During lockdown, once people were confident they had hoarded enough toilet roll and paracetamol, the new in- demand item was the portable hot tub. That's right- there was not a Lay-Z-Spa to be had in any Argos or B&M across Northern Ireland as people created their own garden spa retreat.

If you were not lucky enough to have enjoyed a garden spa of your own, don't worry. I have found some great self-catering accommodation boasting a 'real deal' hot tub- I mean jets throughout, bluetooth speakers, drinks holder, the works!! A perfect little added luxury for any staycation.

Here are my favourites:

The Bakers Cottages, Seaforde, County Down

Located just outside Seaforde, with the Mourne Mountains as a back drop, The Bakers Cottages is a 5* luxury accommodation with wild flower gardens, covered BBQ terrace, hot tub house with 6 seater tub, childrens' outdoor play area and dog building so you can bring your four-legged family member too! The hot tub house also offers a cosy seating area with wood burning stove and doors to the outdoor dining terrace.

Largy Coastal Apartments, Carnlough, County Antrim

These four luxury apartments boast the most stunning views over the sea to Scotland. Each apartment in the block has its own separate entrance, set on an acre of woodlands.

The apartments sleep 2- 6 people (depending on the apartment). The log cabin and outdoor decking has picnic area & chairs. The outdoor hot tub (seats 6) overlooking the coastline is my idea of bliss. Ideally located for water sports, angling and hiking.... if you can tear yourself away from the hot tub.

Belfast Cottages, Gilnahirk

Located on the edge of Belfast in the Castlereagh hills, Greystone cottage offers luxury accommodation for up to 6 guests across 3 bedrooms. One of the rooms is downstairs and fully wheelchair accessible with wet room. There is a private garden to the rear with hot tub. One of my favourite things about this accommodation is the packages available to book- The Girls Reunited package includes Prosecco, girls' nite hamper, dinner delivered, bathrobes and breakfast pack from just £99 per person (Sun- Thurs).

Corralea Cottages, Belcoo, County Fermanagh

Corralea self catering cottages are situated in the forest on the banks of Upper Lough MacNean. The lakeside accommodation is managed by the Corralea Activity Centre so you can arrange to go canoeing on site, hire an ebike, enjoy the water park and more (pre-booking essential). Corralea offer a Forest Eco Spa package which includes use of their Eco spa and sauna tucked away among the trees (prebooking essential). Personally I really want to try their new lake swing!

Waterfall Caves, Limavady

Waterfall Caves are quirky, subterranean self-catering chalets located at the foot of Binevenagh Mountain, Limavady. I love all things quirky so for me these had to be included. Chalets can accommodate up to 4 guests. The hot tub is exclusively for chalet guests and is available on request at the time of check in.

For more information on the accommodation featured, availabiity and booking, just click the name for a link to the website. Please be advised that summer availability is limited.

Of course, this is not an exclusive list of hot tub staycations- just my picks.

Next week: Glamping (which will feature a few more hot tubs there too)


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