Written on: 09/10/2006 by NoelMG (3 reviews written)
Excellent value for money, lots of extras, high quality, relaxing
Could maybe do with a light
We decided on a Sapphire Spas - Coral Sands Quartz, after having an above ground pool for a few years. We discovered that we always kept the pool heated to around 30C and just liked to sit in it rather than actually doing anything else. When we decided to revamp our garden we were torn between buying a proper inground pool or a hot tub. Now our garden is a typical British semi-detached 80s house garden - i.e. not very big. A pool would take over half the garden and reduce the value of our house. A hot tub seemed the obvious solution. It could take pride of place in the garden and give the garden some reason for existing. Both of us suffer from muscle and joint problems so it would be ideal to help us with that as well.
The issue we found was the price. We set ourselves a strict budget of £3,000, knowing that it would be difficult to get a "proper" tub (i.e. not a plastic half barrel or an inflatable spa) for that price, but also knowing that we wouldn't be left skint after buying it!
Almost everyone was telling us to spend more than £5000 on a spa to ensure we get good quality, and not some "cheap Chinese import". We were even told by one showroom to "come back when we've won the lottery". Gee thanks, "Vision Spas" of Hucknall, way to get yourselves some customers (not).
Anyway, after some searching, we visited Leicester Hot Tubs who were selling a Coral Sands Quartz for £2995. This includes delivery in Leicestershire but being in Notts, this cost us £75 for delivery and installation. A very good price if you ask me. This model is around the £3k mark at most Sapphire Spas dealers in the UK.
Sapphire Spas are not a "cheap Chinese import" we had been warned about, but a reputable Australian firm. They are imported from Australia, even having an Australian plug on them when they arrive! They are modified for the British market by having a more powerful heater, and a better-insulated cover for our cold winters!
Before it was delivered, we made a wooden frame, filled it with gravel and slabs and dug it into the ground. This is more than sufficient for the weight and is perfectly level, with gravel around it, you don't even see the wooden frame. We had an electrician wire in some armoured cable from the fuse box in the garage to the garden, the installers wired this in when the hot tub came and we buried the cable.
Within 2 hours the tub was full, and within 8 hours was warm enough for a soak!
The tub is incredibly relaxing. It has all the jets you want, a two speed pump and three speed air blower. It features Ozone (a feature commonly found on more expensive spas to help keep the water clean) and has more than adequate room for 4 people. It will seat 5 but one of you has to sit on the "bench" seat, which isn't moulded.
We can easily sit in comfort for ages on a crisp, cold, winters night, watching shooting stars overhead while we bask in 40 degree water massaging us, taking the weight off our bodies.
We are using the tub at least once daily and once a week we have to put Aquagarde in (200ml), a chlorine tablet in the dispenser, and clean the filters. All in all this takes maybe 20 minutes a week and maintenance is done. We have to budget for this though, as it is £90 per quarter, but you don't have to buy any further chemicals, and there is no nasty chlorine smell.
All in all, I simply cannot see why anyone would want a more expensive hot tub than this. Showrooms with more brand name spas (Arctic Spas, Jacuzzi, etc) will tell you to buy a more expensive spa as it is high quality and has a long warranty. The workmanship on our Sapphire is impeccable, the case is high quality and the insulation is perfect. Once it's up to temperature, the 2Kw heater just keeps it ticking over, hardly ever kicking in as the combination of insulation and the heavy lid keep all the heat in.
There is a 10 year warranty on the shell, as well as 5 years warranty on pumps/parts.
The only way I would improve it is to put a light in, but if you go for the Coral Sands Opal (next one up), you get a light as well. We are planning to erect lights on the gazebo over the hot tub anyway so it isn't a problem.
All in all I am very satisfied, and feel very smug that we have a high quality, Australian built, great hot tub for a fraction of the price we would pay for another brand.
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