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SPN APR 2012 Pool&SpaIndustry


www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk RIVIERA FINDS THE ‘PERFECT PRODUCT’


Phil and Sarah Rathbone’s approach to running their award winning Devon hot tub business is based totally on a love and appreciation of the quality of their picturesque all wooden hot tubs


hil and Sarah Rathbone take a different approach when it comes to selling hot tubs. In an industry when plastics and synthetics understandably rule, the classically designed red cedar all wooden tubs sold by Riviera Hot Tubs from their Devon base at Maidencombe certainly stand out as something different. “We sell one hot tub a week and that’s just perfect for us. We are not looking to expand massively. Every hot tub we sell we have to do all the work on including drilling holes for the jets so it takes a lot of expertise and care. We know what we are doing is right,” adds Sarah. Enthusiastic and committed members of BISHTA since 2003, Sarah runs the Riviera business with husband Phil in a controlled and very committed way.


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“We are not looking to hugely grow the business at the expense of quality. Our tubs are very special and it is important to us that we get every sale and installation right. The craftsmanship in our wooden tubs is something you just can’t get in mass produced plastic tubs, let alone the touch, feel and smell of beautiful cedar wood.


“The Canadian wood has to be knot free so it is taken from the centre of the tree then kiln dried. It is perfect heart wood that is used which won’t leak or warp.”


The Riviera business has certainly made the most of its beautiful tubs and almost every year without fail has won recognition at the BISHTA awards. In 2011 the business won a top BISHTA award for a pool in a stunning location on Dartmoor. This year their award winning tub had an even more glamorous setting – an outdoor location in Verbier in the Swiss Alps. “We do have some wonderful locations for our tubs. They are very photogenic and seem made for wonderful locations,” added Sarah. Riviera started as many hot tub businesses seem to when Sarah and Phil began looking for a tub to buy for themselves. The couple had just sold a catering supplies business which was demanding full-on work.


“We wanted to find something different, something we liked as a product. We eventually found these wooden pools and fell in love with them and knew we could do something special with them.”


The couple found their dream tub and the basis of their new business on a prolonged trip to the United States and Canada.


“We had the funds from selling the other business to go and take a proper and leisurely look at what was on the market. And we could afford to be patient about finding exactly what was right.


“We then spent a couple of years learning everything we could about these wooden tubs and trying to get it right. We sold very few to start with but then we didn’t know a lot about the business and it was the classic learning curve. “We now get so many recommendations and satisfied customers we really think we went about things in the right way.”


The BISHTA awards have been a real focus for the business since they started entering five years ago. “We have had some great success and it really helps us to promote the business and get some higher profile for what we are doing but then we are great supporters of BISHTA. The organisation has really come on in recent years and for us it is everything from attending specialist courses like the water treatment course which we found really useful down to the day to day support from belonging to a trade association. I think it is really important.” spn


i FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


F RIVIERA HOT TUBS ( 01803 326638 : www.riviera-hottubs.co.uk


“We are not looking to hugely grow the business at the


expense of quality. Our tubs are very special and it is


important to us that


we get every sale and installation right”


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