We headed to West India Quays to test out London’s latest group experience – Hot Tug
When we told our colleagues we were heading out for a Hot Tug experience, we not only got some dubious looks, we also got bombarded with questions. They didn’t seem quite able to fathom the fact that we were heading out on an electric, self-driven, wood-fired hot tub in the docks of Canary Wharf.
Hot Tug founder Stuart ‘Tommo’ Thomson brought the concept to London after seeing it on a trip to Rotterdam in Holland. After successfully sourcing more than £30k through crowdfunding, Tommo launched the first Hot Tug on the canals around Angel and Old Street in July 2017. Less than two months ago, the company opened its second site in West India Quays, which is where we trekked to for a soak.
We were sold the moment we saw the sailor hats you get kitted out with for your trip (hello, sailor). That is if you upgrade your experience to VIP which we, for an extra £15pp, thought was totally worth it. Not only do you get to keep the hats, but you also get an ice bucket to keep your drinks chilled. It also includes a robe and a towel, which come in handy when you step out of the 38O
-heated water and onto the cold docks (the experience is available all year long – even during snow and rainfall).
We couldn’t hide our excitement as we stepped into the steamy tub after our safety instruction. We had been talking excessively about it in the office for weeks leading up to it, so we were both relieved and elated that the experience was just as good as we had hoped. What could beat the combination of hot water, drinks (it’s BYOB), an epic back-drop (few things can beat Canary Wharf at dusk) and good company (if you like your colleagues)?
The captain (the one steering the tub) has to be sober during the entire trip, so be prepared to have a designated driver with you. If you’re expecting an overly boozy experience, you might be disappointed to hear that there’s a strict alcohol allowance – no more than two bottles of beer or half a bottle of wine per person are permitted. If you appear drunk on arrival, you will not be allowed into the tub. We would therefore recommend this as a nice teambuilding/pre-party experience before you go out for dinner or hit the bar.
Operations manager Austin Mackle told us that Hot Tug has been reluctant to launch the concept to the corporate world due to many finding the idea of sitting close to your colleagues or clients only wearing swimwear inappropriate. Although a valid argument, we felt that the experience was nothing but a bonding one. Anyone who got treated to this would appreciate the fun of it, the luxury and having people waving at them from the docks.
If we’re forced to point out a draw-back it would be that it could have lasted for a lot longer – 75 minutes just wasn’t enough. We could sit in that tub for hours.
One Hot Tug seats seven people and costs £225 with a £15pp upgrade for VIP (sailor’s hat to keep, towel, robe, ice for BYOB drinks).
Angel: Hot Tug House @ Islington Boat Club, 16-35 Graham St, Islington, N1 8JX | Canary Wharf: HotTug @ Canary Wharf, West India Quay, Off Hertsmere Road, E14 4AL London | 02072052827 | hottuguk.com