Are Hot Tub Boats Actually Coming to Chicago? We Found Out.

Published On 05/11/2015 Published On 05/11/2015
Courtesy of HotTug

In some European cities like Amsterdam and London, floating hot tub tugboats actually exist and people use them to lazily soak and sip drinks along major urban waterways -- you know, because why the hell not? Fittingly called HotTug, the Netherlands-based company announced it is eying the U.S. for a major expansion in hopes of bringing leisurely hot tub rides to a body of water near you, causing some speculation as to when they'll arrive stateside and where. 

Specifically, a months-old blog post titled "Hot Tugs: Chicago launching a hot tub tour?" raised a few eyebrows when it resurfaced online in recent weeks, leading people to wonder if Chicago would be among the first U.S. cities to get the crazy hot tub boats, presumably on the Chicago River, as early as this spring. But it turns out, the highly-polluted Chicago River isn't likely to be the beneficiary of hot tub tugboats anytime soon. 

When reached by Thrillist, HotTug said that while they are hoping to bring the boats to the U.S. this year, there are currently no specific plans to launch HotTug boat tours in Chicago. 

"Currently, there’s no dealer or destination or orders coming to Chicago," said Scott Wilson, of HotTug USA. "So there's no hard and fast plan in Chicago yet, but they are going to come. They are coming to the U.S. -- it’s going to happen soon."

The handmade hot tub boats are powered by underwater wood-burning stoves, which keeps the water at around 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be used both on the water or while stationary, according to HotTug. Wilson said that the U.S.'s first demo unit is en route to him now and that he's hoping to receive advance orders for the first fleet of the boats here in the coming months with hopes of delivering by mid-summer. They currently cost a whopping $30,000 each, he said, but noted the price could come down as manufacturing ramps up. 

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and suggests never the Chicago River. Ever. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.



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