Drought & climate change: Facing the hot tub issue head on

March 10th, 2023 Sustainability

There’s no doubt that a soak in the hot tub with friends is the perfect end to a day on the slopes, and for this reason a hot tub has become a natural prerequisite for a chalet holiday.

However, the sustainable growth of our business, as well as the ski industry as a whole, requires that we rethink how we do things, and the energy and water intensity of maintaining hot tubs is something we are unwilling to ignore.

This became an especially pressing matter for us last summer (2022) when the French Alps (along with most of the northern hemisphere) entered into a difficult drought period – the worst in 500 years. A combination of record-breaking temperatures and low rainfall caused rivers to dry, wildfires to rage and crop failures to compound already high food prices due to the impact of the war in Ukraine.

In the Alps, the water deficit had been ongoing since August the previous year, with a major lack of rain/snow in the spring. Sadly, similar patterns seem to be emerging this year. It’s another painful warning that climate change is having a very real impact in our beautiful part of the world.

So let’s take a moment to look at the facts around hot tub usage. On average a hot tub that is refilled weekly, as is the case with our chalet hot tubs, uses 1500 litres of water and 200 kWh of electricity per week in the winter to keep the water at 37.5C.

To put this into perspective, this is around half the amount of water three people are estimated to use over a whole week in a British household, and almost the same electricity usage as a 3-bedroom British household over a whole month (estimated at 250 kWh).

Incredible right?

So, what does this mean – no hot tubs?

In an ideal world, we would provide chalet holidays without hot tubs. But here’s the rub…..

For a very large proportion of our clients, a hot tub is currently an absolute Must-Have and if we were to get rid of all our hot tubs, our business would really suffer and we would struggle to pay the salaries of those who depend on us for their livelihoods.

We can’t change our industry overnight but we need to start a conversation and do something to start moving the dial on this difficult subject

So, our approach is not to cut out the use of hot tubs at our chalets, but to make people think twice about how they use the hot tub, and, in the warmer seasons, question whether or not they really need one.

Last year we introduced a Responsible Hot Tub Initiative to make hot tub use ‘opt-in’ only in the summer, and to give winter and shoulder season guests the option of opting out. We made sure that guests received considerable monetary rewards for making the green choice of not using a hot tub.

So far, only a minority of our guests that have booked for summer 2023 have opted-in to include hot tub usage on their holiday, plus so far a few winter guests have opted out. Not using a hot tub has saved these guests €200 on the price of their chalet holiday.

We’re delighted at the uptake and positive feedback we have had on the scheme and as we head towards the warmer months of spring and summer, we’re hoping to see more guests join the initiative. These green options are built into our booking process so all guests receive the information, but to find out exactly how it works check out the details below.

Finally, if you are joining us and planning to use the hot tub, please remember to help us prevent unnecessary mid-week water changes. You can do so by showering and removing all make-up and sunscreen before entering the hot tub, and keeping all breakable objects, especially glass, away from the tub.

As we step up our efforts to counter the climate emergency, we thank all of our guests for supporting us on this journey. For more ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your holiday and receive customer rewards, take a moment to discover our Green Rewards scheme.


When booking a summer chalet holiday with AliKats, Hot tub use is now opt-in only:

  1. Hot tub use is not included in the quoted price of your holiday
  2. You will be given the chance to ‘opt-in’ to hot tub use before arriving at your chalet
  3. If you choose to ‘opt-in’ a fee of €200 will be added to the balance due for your week-long holiday booking (or €100 for weekend bookings)
  4. If you booked a summer chalet holiday before 1st October 2022 and do not wish to use the hot tub, we will subtract €200 from your balance due
  5. This initiative is valid between the following dates: 25th June to 1st September each year.
  6. If during your holiday you decide you would like to use the hot tub, we charge the same fees to prepare it for you
  7. NB: it takes at least 24 hours for the hot tub to get up to temperature


During winter and the cooler shoulder seasons we realise hot tub use is more appealing and an important part of your holiday experience with us. We have, therefore, kept hot tubs included in the quoted price of our chalet holidays but introduced an ‘opt-out’ option which will reduce the cost of your holiday.

  1. Hot tub use is included in the quoted price of your holiday
  2. You will be given the chance to ‘opt-out’ to hot tub use before arriving at your chalet
  3. If you choose to ‘opt-out’ €200 will subtracted from the balance due for your week-long holiday booking (or €100 for weekend bookings)
  4. If you have already booked a chalet holiday and do not wish to use the hot tub, we will either subtract €200 from your balance or refund it (if paid already)
  5. We need at least 48 hours notice prior to arrival if you want to opt out
  6. NB: it takes at least 24 hours for the hot tub to get up to temperature
  7. This initiative is valid between the following dates: 1st September to 24th June each year

About the author: Al
After an interesting but ultimately unrewarding 10 years working in banking in London and Geneva, I made the move into full time mountain life and have never looked back. When I am not looking after our 3 energetic and hilarious children, I oversee the commercial and business change side of AliKats. I also helped set up a local environmental charity called Montagne Verte, along with Kat. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn

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