An invitation to review a Lay-Z Spa hot tub is never going to be turned down by this family of fish. The fact the invite came during the longest summer holiday in the history of summer holidays made it doubly appealing. Super fun and extremely relaxing, the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados went a long way to relieve the disappointment of our cancelled flights to Italy, too.
We thought we'd review this hot tub so as to determine whether it really is one of the best inflatable hot tubs out there. Our verdict? It comes in at 4.5-stars, for a deeper insight you'll have to keep reading.
Lay-Z Spa Barbados specifications
- Size: H66cm x 1.8m dia.
- Seats: 2-4 adults
- Heat-up time: 6-8 hours
- Power cable length: Approximately 7m
- Power type: UK 13amp/240V socket
- Jets: (number of) 120
- Added features: App control, built-in cup holders, lid included.
Unboxing the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados
In the huge box you get the spa itself, an inflatable lid, the pump/heater unit, air pump pipe, chemical release and filter attachments. The box is very heavy but luckily has carry handles as it took two fairly strong people to drag it from the front door to the patio (we were out when it arrived). Try to get the delivery folk to put it as close to its final destination as possible, especially if they have a trolley onboard.
Lay-Z-Spa Barbados setup
Although getting the Barbados hot tub up and running wasn’t hard, it did take a bit of sussing out. We didn’t find the picture-based instructions very easy to compute and I’d say we’re pretty practical people. Far easier to just skip online (www.bestwaycorp.com/support) and watch the YouTube tutorial. As it happens, all you need to do is plug the heater unit in, inflate the tub and lid (using the bubble button and a hose), attach three tubes between heater and tub, and then screw on the filter and chlorine attachments inside. Simples.
The rest of the instruction booklet is much more useful, and easy to follow; especially the run down on where to position it (on a solid, level surface) and a guide to the control panel. It took about 30 minutes in total, and a further hour to fill. Then it was just a case of waiting for the tub to heat up; around eight hours to get from 19-35ºC. Connecting the Barbados hot tub to Wi-Fi so I could control it from my iPhone involved downloading an App and following the instructions. Do think about the distance from your router to the hot tub if you want to use this handy feature. I added a signal booster socket in the kitchen to push the Wi-Fi closer to the hot tub.
What is the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados like to use?
The main control panel is an easy access flip up display on the heater unit. The buttons feature intuitive symbols; bubbles on the spa button, flame sign for heating etc. The controls include a three second unlock to prevent little ones from meddling.
Getting into the Lay-Z Spa Barbados is nothing short of bliss. We found 35-36ºC really cosy but not too warm for the children. It is much more comfortable than I was expecting, my only hot tub benchmark being the polycarbonate built-in ones with ergonomically shaped seats common in spa hotels.
The height was perfect for resting my head and neck on the inflated rim of the tub, and my feet stretched to the opposite side, which meant I didn’t slip under! You can buy a pillow attachment, but I can’t see the need. The bubble jets – there are 120 around the full perimeter – did an impressive job, too. I really appreciated the two power settings, 100% or 50%, as the latter was far more relaxing (not to mention quieter). But if you do like a good bubble blast, the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados won’t disappoint.
Lay-Z-Spa Barbados energy consumption
One of the most exceptional features of the Lay-Z Spa Barbados was its insulation. Apparently, this is down to the new EnergySense Insulated Liner and Lid, which keeps it 40% warmer compared to other Lay-Z Spa models. The beauty of better insulation lies in lower running costs. You can turn the heater off when not in use and it only takes a short while to heat back up. For example, we’d usually turn it off at around 8.30pm, after an evening dip. Kids in bed (but still in earshot, Childline) – yesss.
In the morning the temperature would be around 26 to 29ºC, depending on the ambient temperature outside so it would only take about two-three hours to reach our fave 35ºC. If we left it off for a few days, it took about four hours to reheat. Note: we tested it in August, when the outside daytime temperatures were around 16 to 20ºC. We haven’t had our electricity bill for August yet. But since we were only heating it for about three-four hours a day in the week, and maybe six or seven on weekends, it shouldn’t cost more than Lay-Z Spas’ predicted £7 to £10 a week for constant use.
Lay-Z Spa Barbados maintenance
The best way to keep the Lay-Z Spa Barbados’ water clean and healthy is by using chemicals. It arrived with one filter, and a spare, but no chemical cleaners. Luckily, I happened to have everything we needed in stock as the girls’ Bestway 10ft Pool uses suitable stuff.
Just add the following to your Amazon shopping basket and you’ll be away: ClearWater multifunction Chlorine tablets, around £9 for 50; ClearWater pH plus, £19.79; and ClearWater Dip Tests, £10.50 for 25, to make sure the levels are correct.
Both our girls have eczema so we couldn’t afford to get the doses wrong. You don’t have to use chemicals but if you don’t, Lay-Z Spa recommend emptying the pool after each use. Yikes. Then all you need to do is clean the filter every day. It unscrews easily from inside the hot tub and can be rinsed under the garden hose or tap. Lay-Z Spa recommends a new filter once a week, but we stretched it to two weeks. Rebels.
Lay-Z Spa Barbados design
I’m not going to lie, it’s not the prettiest hot tub I have ever set eyes on, but it’s not the ugliest either. The greige colourway is far nicer than some of the lurid blue/green portable tubs out there and the heater unit is sleekly designed. I did make sure it was positioned in the corner where it would be fairly hidden from view when looking out from the kitchen windows or sat on the patio.
Is the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados worth the money?
This is a new model for Lay-Z Spa so there’s precious little online feedback from customers as yet. In terms of comparison products, it is probably closest to the Miami (£449) in size but is superior in terms of features, insulation and number of jets. Well worth the £150 price difference, in our opinion. If you were comparing to a more expensive rigid hot tub, the main benefit of the Lay-Z Spa Barbados lie in its portability.
You can take it with you if you move home, without the need to hire a crane, and you can easily store it away for winter. It is a little on the small side; the recommended use is two adults or a family of four. We only tried all four of us together on one occasion and it wasn’t relaxing but that’s possibly because children are not relaxing, period!
On the plus side, a smaller hot tub means less water to heat, buy and clean. Our final verdict has to be a big, fat thumbs up. We’ve used it a LOT more than we anticipated. The remote-control App has been awesome for putting the heater going while we’re out so we can jump in a lovely warm tub on our return. I’ve been particularly delighted by how much more time the girls have spent outdoors and away from their screens, too. It’s not quite the same as actually going to Barbados but, in the current circumstances, staying at home and splashing about in the Lay-Z Spa Barbados feels a whole lot safer.
If you’re looking to recreate that holiday-at-home vibe but you're on a budget, there are always plenty of hot tub deals floating around online.
When can I buy Lay-Z Spa Barbados?
The hot tub goes on sale at the end of November. You can preorder (opens in new tab) it at the Lay-Z Spa website.