Back in 1996, I bought a 5 or 6 year old, used Calspas spa really cheap. I told myself I'd just see if I liked having a spa, and if I did, I'd replace it when this old one wore out. Well, I liked it, and it never wore out... at least, mechanically, plumbing-wise, wood-wise, etc. Eventually all the pillows completely rotted, but I guess that's to be expected after 10 years of being submerged in hot water.
Anyway, after 8 years of spa ownership, and having armed myself with tons of "internet knowledge" I proceeded to shop for a new spa. I went back to where Calspas used to be. That store is now occupied by a competitor, who tried to convince me that "calspas' spas have always been the worst on the market". I told him I had a 10 year old Calspa that just wouldn't die! He then changed his story, telling me that the company has gone down hill since. He then told me the story about how a metal frame is better than a wood frame. I asked him, "if the wood will rot, won't the metal rust?" He just stared at me with a blank look on his face... Hmmm.
Anyway, I finally figured out where the Calspas dealership had moved to, and went shopping. The sales staff was friendly and informative. The salesman explained to me that the workmanship had only gotten better since my last spa was built, and that they'd also added a lifetime warranty to many of the internal parts... probably because they just don't break. He said they still use that tough shell material that had impressed me before..
I ended up buying the V-400 for $3700. I've had it for 4 month now, and haven't had any problems. Given how long the last one lasted, I'm surprised to see anyone posting that they've had problems. If anything happens, I'll post again, but for now, it's working as advertised, and we use it frequently.
It's nice having those fancy new jets and stuff too... much better feel to them than the 10 year old spa. The seating is more comfortable. You stay in place better when the jets are on. I got the one without the lounge chair because nobody ever used the lounge anyway, so it was a waste of space. My utility bill went down a little, but so I guess it's more efficient, although I really don't care about that... I got the one with no cushions, because I didn't want anything to rot.. besides, you can buy detachable cushions that hang over the edge, if you like them. I didn't get a sterio, because, well, why would I want one? I have a stereo in the house I can listen to. I didn't go with "jet overload" because we really don't need a bunch of jets, so they're not worth the extra $$$. Having digital controls with the temp on them is nice. It has an ozonator, but I guess they all do now. The redwood and frame on the old one lasted forever, so I'm not too concerned about that... Let's see, what else? There's really nothing I'm sorry that I left out. I went with a very basic model because the bells and whistles are just a waste of money. In fact, my recommendation to anyone shopping for a spa is to just ignore the salesman when he says, "If you don't buy the one with all these fancy features, you'll always be sorry you didn't." That's just not true. What he's really saying is, "If you don't spend a bunch of extra money, I'll always be sorry I didn't make more on you." But, we've all got to make a living, so I don't hold it against him.
The only negative to the whole experience was the delivery guy trying to charge my wife a "disconnect fee" to unscrew the old electical line from the old spa. Since the electrician was going to have to pull new wire anyway (bring us up to code), and I wasn't home, my wife actually cut the old wire with an electric tree saw right in front of the guys. When they saw that, they couldn't stop appologizing for trying to charge extra $$$. We both have a good laugh about that when we're soaking in the spa sometimes, remembering her adventure with the tree saw.