This is my first Spa. Before buying I spent hours researching different tubs and looking at various models. The spa that I chose was the Orion Spa from Hawkeye. The dimensions are 96"X96"X39"..it's a big one that weighs nearly 1000 lbs on it's own. This model has four distinct therapy seats with a total of 73 jets, a volcano jet in the center for feet jets for each seat, a waterfall and three other seats with one or no jets. The "therapy collars" are on two of the seats..they are nice and they kind of cradle you into the seat. I bought this directly from the manufacturer. The communication was good with them and shipping was fine, although they seem to be content with the sub-par finish of the spa. I was not able to see a hawkeye spa in person before buying..only the images on the internet. According to poolandspa.com, hawkeye is four star manufacturer. After recieving the spa, I would sternly disagree that they are a four star. In comparison to the cal spas or dimension 1 spas that I looked at, I would rate hawkeye a two or a three star. The spa works fine and feels great. I do not regret buying this model, but I do feel the build quality leaves alot to be desired. Here is why I feel this way:
My spa has the "pearl" finish. Looks great...however in several places, it is very visable where there must have been dust or dirt in the fiberglass mold when the lucite finish was vacuum formed because the dust is very evident and sticks up causing bumps in an otherwise smooth finish. Also there is one spot where there seems to be an air bubble about the size of a pinky fingernail in the surface.
The outside shell of the spa is "mahogany" with a gray stain. The stain seems to be applied unevenly with light and dark spots. Not a big deal, will probably go away with time and re-staining. The removable panels are what is made of mahogony. The mahogany is about 1/4" thin and put in slats for each panel. The panels tend to vibrate against each other causing for a loud vibration during filter cycles. I'm going to take off the panels and line them with a thin foam to hopefully cure this problem. The base of the hot tub is another eye sore. The base is constructed of 2X4's that are painted black. The assembly of the base looks like is must have been completed by a disgruntled employee on a friday afternoon at 4:59pm. The nails are all over the place, with no uniform pattern some are not even nailed in all the way! It just looks really poor.
On the inside, the quality of the plumbing seems fine. All the fitting seem good aswell as the motors (sta-rite) and the spa pack/heater. It all appears to accessible and easy to work on. The insulation seems very thin around the front of the spa..almost sparsley blown in. There are sections in the front that I can see the fiberglass. I'm not sure if this is normal. The insulation seems to be put on thicker around the sides and the back. I would expect to see more insulation all the way around, however we'll have to see the monthly electric bills for the next few months to gauge how much it costs to run.
One other thing to mention is the keypad on the top of the spa. The controls work fine, but there is silcone around the pad...which is another tribute to the low build quality.
So to summarize, I really enjoy the Hawkeye Spa. Going directly to the manufacturer is a good way to save money, but I don't think I would do it again. If I had purchsed this tub through a dealer I probably would have paid $1500-$2000 more, however I would have a parts AND labor warranty aswell as a warranty on the lucite finish (my warranty covers parts for three years and the fiberglass shell itself is covered for twelve years but the lucite finish of the tub has no warranty). The Hawkeye is a good way to get alot of features for a reasonable price, but don't expect the quality finish of the product to compare to the Cal-Spa or Dimension One. It's like buying a Dodge compared to buying a Mercedes. The Dodge is good vehicle with lots of features, but you can certainly tell the difference between the two and can easliy see where one had to cut corners to keep the price down. Also poolandspa.com should drop the star rating to two or three - this is where I'll be writing another review and petition that rating be dropped.