A a rule I try never do work for friends or family...too deep a discount...they usualy want it for free. A friend is a having a spa and water feature built. It is in the furthest corner on the opposite side of the house from the main panel, a run of about 80 ft. I'm sure he'll want the timer setup. He will require a sub panel. He wanted to know if he should keep the Spa panel and sub panel at the main and run the circuits in conduit out to disconnects near the spa or keep the spa panel and everything in the spa area? Or is it six of one or a half dozen of the other?
It is certainly a local call based on what you need but bear in mind the sub panel can be wired using article 300 wiring methods but pool branch circuits must be wired using 680. That could make a difference. Usually the feeder ends up cheaper than several branch circuits. It also gives them the opportunity to more easily upgrade to a SpaLink or other "smart" controller.
Something to think about might be who will be servicing the spa, and how accessible the controls will be to them. If a Pool/Spa service will be doing the work and the controls are in the house (with nobody home) it could be a problem.
We do several spas. I'd put a spa panel out at near the load. They sell those GFCI panels with a couple of extra spaces so you might be able to pick up the other circuits from it and save some coin. You'll wind up using less breaker spaces in the panel too. Those are always at a premium.
It'd also be easier to reset the GFCI when it trips (not if), and for general servicing.