My husband and I started thinking about a hot tob after using a friend's and experiencing how great we felt afterwards. We had seen an infomercial on "TermoSpas" and sent for their DVD. They looked great; however, they were very expensive, had no dealer to go to if you had trouble, and their reviews were terrible. After a lot of research, we narrowed it down to three brands that could be purchased locally. The first one we looked at was "Hot Springs" and we liked it enough to put a deposit down. We decided to go ahead and try the other 2 anyway. The second was "Beachcomber", but unfortunaely, the dealer had just done a home show and did not have any filled for wet testing in his showroom. The third was "Artesian" and I am so glad we went and tried it out. The Island line of Artesian spas offered everything we were looking for at a reasonable price. After taking our available space, number of people using the spa (most of the time, it will just be me and my husband)into consideration, we decided on the Antigua. The size was right, the price was right, but the deciding factor was the "Therapy Seat", which has a "collar" to slip your neck into, and special neck and shoulder jets. I suffered a broken neck about 3 years ago, and I also have a lot of trouble with fibromyalgia; it has been several years since I could turn my head or tilt it back to look at the ceiling. Between acupuncture treatments and the therapy seat in this spa, I am free of pain for the first time in years! We both like the lounge seat, and my husband likes the 7 jet seat for his back, but I find that one a bit overbearing. You can adjust the force of the water with the diverter and with the individual jets, so you can really custominze the force on any given body area. There's a nice variety of jet configurations, so everyone should be able to find a seat that does what they want. If you just want relaxation, put the pump on low speed, light a candle, put on some nice music and make sure you don't fall asleep!
The spa was delivered one month ago today, and it is everything we hoped for. The set up was fairly easy - my husband had it up and running in one evening after delivery. So far, we have had zero problems and we have used it about 5 times per week. I really had some doubts as to how often I'd want to take the plunge on cold winter nights, but after the first night, I was hooked. It's just a short dash from the tub to indoor warmth, and I don't care if my ceramic tile floor gets wet, so the cold weather has not been an issue. I have had trouble convincing guests of this, but once I get them in there, they all agree with me - it's not bad getting out, and it is soooo worth it! The Antigua is a five man tub, but 4 people fill it up quite nicely (in fact, with 4 adults in it, it tends to overflow, which is not a problem where we have it, but I can't see squeezing a 5th person in it). The Antigua is a smaller version of the "Grand Bahama" model, and if you are going to regularly have several people in the tub, I'd look into the larger model. But if it's just 2 or 3 adults, the Antigua should do just fine. We chose the middle number of jets, and got the upgrade on the filters and the cover, along with the microban shell. There were a lot of other bells and whistles available, but our great local dealer (Olympic Pools in Whitehall, PA) did not pressure us, and we are very happy with what we chose.
Before we made our final decison, I went on the Better Business Bureau site (BBB.org) and checked out the manufacturers we had considered. The firt one, Thermo Spas, had 143 unresolved complaints in the past 3 years (HUGE red flag, and I couldn't afford their tub anyway - the one I liked was $18,000!); Hot Springs had 19 unresolved complaints in the past three years - not real encouraging, but not bad enough to stop me from buying one); Artesian, on the other hand, had ZERO complaints! That, along with other glowing customer reviews, really sealed the deal for me. Every manufacturer will tell you how wonderful their product is, but it's the customers that tell the real story. I'm happy to say that I have joined the legions of happy customers of Artesian Spas, and I would highly recommend this brand to everyone.