THINK of an autumn or winter self-catering break in Scotland and your first thoughts may not instantly be of soaking in warm bubbles under the stars in a hot tub.
But that is exactly what you can enjoy at half a dozen escapes that offer the decadence of a hot tub in the heather.
As a travel writer I have been lucky over the years to soak in more than my fair share of hot tubs and, hand on tartan heart, I reckon Scotland offers the best in spectacular locations.
Each accommodation has its own unique appeal whether you are a couple or are looking at a bigger family gathering. All that you have to do now is sit back, read about your ideal escape and snare the break you’ve been promising yourself.
Kicking off in the Borders is Roulotte Retreat. This glorious couples’ hideaway sports seven sumptuous wooden French roulettes – think luxury train carriages more than mere caravans.
The owners can offer free-range eggs for breakfast and yoga sessions. You can also enjoy a soak in their wood-fired eco hot tub.
There is little light pollution and it’s adults-only so you can savour blissfully quiet stargazing. It’s reasonable, too, at £115 a night – look out for special deals online.
Moving on to Argyll we come to Portavadie.
What most impresses me about the set up here is that there are a variety of hot pools to choose from. The hot tubs by the large swimming pool in the spa complex are enjoyable in themselves, but it’s another world outside.
Here, a brace of whirlpools gaze out over Loch Fyne.
Then there is the heated infinity pool down on the rocky shore – you can recline here looking out for otters and dolphins!
There is a wide range of self-catering accommodation at this award-winning resort and marina – we love the apartments with their own saunas.
Also in Cowal is a private self-catering escape that ticks myriad boxes.
The star attraction at Kilfinan House is a top-of-the-range Villeroy & Boch hot tub in their large garden.
The fun doesn’t end there, as your exclusive party (it sleeps 16 guests so it’s perfect for a special family gathering) can also enjoy the pool table, air hockey, table tennis and table football.
On Loch Long, Forest Holidays Ardgartan have lodges that offer a range of lodges equipped with their own hot tubs.
We had one gazing out over the Loch Long and the Argyll Hills.
There are quite a few lodges here, a bar and a shop, so if you like more company this is ideal.
It’s into Perthshire now and Highland Heather Lodges.
There are only five luxurious self-catering lodges and this is an ideal getaway if you want to explore sights and attractions as it lies on the outskirts of Comrie.
Easing back in your hot tub, listening to the local farm animals mooching around and the odd owl hooting it feels a million miles away from anywhere and a long way from care.
Deep in Highland Perthshire just back from the banks of Loch Tay is the expansive Mains of Taymouth.
They offer a multitude of accommodation, with my favourites the old stone lodges grouped around a courtyard, which have all been done up to a high spec.
I recommend Granary Court, which has a large hot tub and also an adjacent Finnish sauna.
Like all of the hot tub retreats in the heather you just won’t want to leave.