The Ugly Truth About Spas

When we set about revamping our Web site, I had no thought that the process would be so much fun. True, it took a bit longer than I had hoped, but it was such a wholesale upgrading of our old site that I should have expected the delays.

One of the new features I like most about the site is this blog, which gives me the opportunity to say things directly that I simply wouldn’t say in the magazine. Here goes with one of these outbursts, just to show what I mean:

As someone who sat in a spa for the first time in 1970 and has relaxed in a great many of them through the years, I have to confess that I’m not a fan of most I see physically attached to swimming pools.

Yes, I love the way they feel when I sit in them and confess to having passed many a carefree hour being pummeled within their confines, but I generally hate the way they look – like flaws in otherwise wonderful gems.

Given my druthers, I prefer designs in which spas, if they must be included at all, are tucked inside a corner of their associated pools at the waterline: This hides them about as well as can possibly be, making them less obtrusive and less significant sources of visual noise.

I confess as well that the artistry of David Tisherman once persuaded me to give pool-adjacent and even raised spas another, more positive look: I genuinely admire his spillway systems and their small flows of water (especially when he’s arranged them asymmetrically) and think they bring enduring visual value to his compositions when he uses them.

There are some other exceptions I can think of, too, but I can only wish that all watershape designers would figure out, as David and some others have, that something really needs to be done to make pool-adjacent spas – especially when they’re raised – make any visual sense at all. At the moment, I don’t get the general impression that designers put enough thought into this part of their projects.

Agree or disagree, please let me know what you think.


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2 Responses to The Ugly Truth About Spas

  1. I definitely agree. They should double as a beautiful water feature by adding a nice spill way….. like a stainless steel insert or tishway or sconces or even a combination.
    I also think something needs to be done about the inside design of the gunite spa. I can’t believe someone has not created molds- similar to what is used in creating gunite rock work- to create nice contoured seating just like a fiberglass spa.

    • In regards to Poseidon pools. I R&R a fair share of commercial spas in a resort community. Long gone are the days of square sided bench seating with a handfull of jets. I personally tilt the backs about 18 to 20 degrees sometimes even change the contour along a wall on purpose. The tile bed is also tilted back to create an area that ones head can rest or fit within normally without the coping jabbing you. At least 2 corners become ” Captains Chairs’ if you will. Usually a 10x 15 spa will have 3 sets of jets for a total of 28 to 32. The corner seats have half round cut outs for the occupants feet. A series of multi jets in key configuerations for those sensitive areas that need a direct massage. “Stations” if you will starting with neck jets moving to the next seat that has rib or kidney followed by a very low back or buttox jet formation. A spa built out of hand cut stone at a nearby ranch has 4 jets for the inner thigh. It’s a blessing after being on a horse all day i am told.
      For the commercial projects I also add a corner stand up area where one can place a foot, calf and a middle placed jet so the person can manuever their body to get the desired kink removed. The local health department does not allow loungers. I believe that they take up too much room in a spa that usually will see 40 to 50 people after the slopes close.
      Mandatory on ALL my commercial installations are programmable pumps, sand filters, ORP, Ozone and auto water fill.
      I can forward pictures if you like.

      Stan @ Zee’s WaterWorks

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