Sporting the accolade of winning the UK Pool and Spa Awards in 2018 the Monaco is the largest hot tub available in the Lay Z Spa range. It is also unique in that it features the thinnest walls of any inflatable hot tub. This is thanks to a new drop-stitch construction method pioneered by Lay Z Spa manufacturer Bestway.
If the Monaco is on your inflatable hot tub shortlist and you’re not sure if its the best buy for you, you’re in the right place. In this complete review, we’ll lift the hood on the Monaco and provide the key information you need to know about this unique spa. We’ll uncover everything from how it works and how safe it is to how easy it is to use and maintain.
Monaco Product Information:
Prices & information last updated on 2020-08-07
Monaco Key Features Overview
The Monaco is the perfect social hot tub. Its generous 201 cm diameter makes it the largest inflatable Lay Z Spa hot tub you can buy. It is perfect for get-togethers, parties and lazing in with family or friends.
It also arrives furnished with one of Bestway’s latest pump systems. In previous models it wasn’t always possible to run the massage, water heating and filtration systems simultaneously. This meant the water temperature could drop whilst using the massage system. Or that you could heat the water but not run the massage system too. This is a now a problem of the past and all 3 systems can be used at the same time.
For comfort, the Monaco also features a cushioned floor that many owners have remarked is comfortable for extended periods. It also features a leatheroid cover to help prevent any dirt or debris blowing into the spa when it is not in use.
Drop Stitch System
One of the most striking aspects of the Monaco are its impressively thin walls. This is quite a rarity in the inflatable hot tub market where thick inflated rings or columns are the norm and is by far the thinnest we’ve seen at ReviewLoft.
It is the result of 6 years R&D by Bestway and it not only gives the appearance of a hard-plastic tub but also increases the room within without increasing the Monaco’s footprint. This is why the similarly sized Paris hot tub can only hold 4-6 people, whereas the Monaco can hold 6-8, despite measuring just 5cm larger in diameter.
However, there are some clues that hint to the underlying technology that makes the inflatable walls of the Monaco possible. The most notable of which is the subtle orange peel-like texture of the outer wall.
Beneath each dimple is a polymer thread that tethers the walls of the Monaco together whilst still providing an air gap to allow for inflation. Bestway refers to this a drop-stitch technology and it makes the Monaco quite unique in this respect. It provides all the advantages of an inflatable hot tub without the disadvantage of their traditionally thick walls that encroach on the usable area within.
AirJet Massage System
The AirJet massage system is powered by the main pump housing and effervesces the water within the Monaco into a soothing delight. 90 air jets encircle a separate inner ring located at the base of the Monaco. This is known as the massage seam. Once the AirJet Massage System is activated air is forced into the seam under pressure and escapes through the 90 holes creating a constant stream of comforting bubbles right from the bottom to the top of the hot tub.
Pumping cool air into the water will lower the temperature of the water. And this was a problem with earlier Lay Z Spa tubs. However, the modern pump units will continually heat the water whilst the massage system is working to keep the water toasty warm.
The only appreciable downside to the Massage System is the limited 30 minute run time. After which it will automatically turn off. It can be reactivated with a button press however, we can’t help but feel a slightly longer run time would have been preferable.
Setting Up The Monaco
Setup is an area where the Lay Z Spa range excels, and for good reason too. Portable hot tubs not only need to be easy to setup but also to pack away for safe storage during the winter or when they won’t be used for extended periods. If packing away or setting up is difficult your hot tub will probably end up relegated to the garden shed, never to be used again.
So, it’s great to see that the Monaco follows a system similar to virtually all hot tubs in the Lay Z Spa range. Not only this but it arrives with everything you need to set-it-up too.
The water pump doubles as a useful inflation device and once attached to the side of the tub it can inflate the Monaco in as a little as 5 minutes to take most of the strain out of pumping up the Monaco. The only downside? You need to manually finish inflating the tub by hand using the supplied hand-pump.
Whilst this is a little disappointing when compared to the completely hands-off inflation of the Palm Springs or Miami we suspect the thin walls are the reason behind this. In order to remain rigid and support not just the weight of people climbing in and out, but also the weight of the water and the people within, the walls need to be inflated to a much higher pressure. Which the water pump is not designed to produce.
On reflection this compromise seems a fair one considering the advantages the thin walls provide. As an added final note regarding this: the pump features a handy pressure gauge so you are not left guessing when the walls are inflated to their correct pressure of 0.48 – 0.58 bar.
Heat Up Time
After inflation one of the final jobs is to fill the tub with water and begin the heating process. The inner liner of the Monaco features ‘min’ and ‘max’ fill lines so you can see at-a-glance when the tub is full.
The tub will reach its maximum temperature of 40°C in around 6-12 hours. Although this will vary slightly depending on the ambient temperature.
For example, if the ambient temperature is 10°C it will take around 18 hours for the water to heat to 40°C. Whereas on a much warmer day (25°C) the water can reach this temperature in just 8.5 hours.
You can help the heating process along by keeping the inflatable lid securely clipped on top of the Monaco to help prevent heat loss.
Multi Function Pump With Integrated Control Panel
The heart of the Lay Z Spa Monaco is undoubtedly the multi-function water pump. This all-in-one unit powers both the heating and massage systems and features a top mounted integrated control panel for easy access.
The control panel is simple to use and most major functions can be accessed with little more than a single press. For example, you can activate the heating, massage and water filtration systems with a button press.
Each button is also clearly marked using an easy to understand icon that denotes its function. This was a smart move on the part of Bestway because it makes accessing and using the controls whilst you are inside the tub incredibly easy.
It was also good to see that the buttons are sealed behind a plastic film to prevent dripping water from frazzling the delicate electronics inside. And, whilst we couldn’t find a specific IP (Ingress Protection) rating for the Monaco we assume it is 5. Based on the fact that pump barrel is essentially the same unit supplied with all AirJet hot tubs in the Lay Z Spa range.
This rating means that unit can take splashes of water without the fear of electric shocks or shorting the unit entirely. This point neatly brings us to the next section of this review…
Safety is an important consideration whenever electricity and water have the potential to mix. Especially so when it could impact you and your family members. So, how have Bestway tackled this potentially disastrous problem?
Simply by using two layers of protection for enhanced safety. The first is a Portable Residual Current Device (PRCD) that automatically cuts the power supply to the hot tub in the event of electrical leakage that might be caused by water ingress.
The second is a Ground Fault Detection system that monitors for a safely earthed power supply.
This double layers protection system heavily reduces any risk of electrical shock when the hot tub is used for regular daily use – protecting you and your family.
Lay Z Spa Monaco FAQ
1 How Easy Is The Monaco To Maintain?
The level of maintenance needed to keep the Monaco in tip top shape is really dictated by its level of use. The more it is used the more you need will need to clean the filter and the more chemicals you will need to add to the water to maintain the pH and Chlorine levels.
Broadly speaking these jobs require little more than monitoring and adding chemicals to the water as required and removing and cleaning the filter.
2 Can the Monaco be used Indoors?
Yes, it can. Assuming you have the space in your home, the next considerations are ones of weight and humidity. If you have a raised floor within your home you need to make sure it is able to support the additional bulk of the Monaco. Don’t forget that it weighs close to 1500Kgs when just 80% full of water.
You also need to be mindful of the excess humidity an inflatable hot tub will introduce into your home. This needs to be accounted for to prevent condensation and damp patches, which could eventually lead to mould growth. We recommend keeping the space your hot tub is operating within well ventilated or using a good quality dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels down.
3 Can I Use The Lay Z Spa Monaco In The Winter?
You can on all but the coldest days. In temperatures below 4°C it is advisable to pack the Monaco safely away for storage. The cold can damage the fabric of the spa making it brittle and prone to splitting.
5 How Long After The Setup Do I Need To Wait Before Using the Monaco?
After the initial setup of the Monaco Bestway recommends you perform a shock-dose of chemicals to help keep the water clean right from the get-go and it is an important step in maintaining your hot tub. This typically involves adding 5- 10 times the amount of chemicals to your water than you would usually.
When you combine this with the average water heat-up time, we’d recommend waiting around 16-24 hours before using your hot tub for the first time to allow the high chlorine levels to dissipate and for the water to heat fully.
Pros And Cons
Lay Z Spa Monaco: Should You Buy It?
The Monaco walks a fine line between a rigid hot tub and an inflatable unit. On one hand, its thin, space-saving walls provide the maximum leisure space of its hard plastic counterparts without the bulk of an inflatable hot tub.
On the other hand, it lacks some features of a rigid hot tub, that would have made the Monaco really special. The most notable of which is the HydroJet system, which creates powerful jets of water. However, the thin walls obviously preclude its inclusion.
If you want a large hot tub that’s perfect for socialising but doesn’t feature the bulky sides many inflatable hot tubs have, then the Monaco should be a perfect fit. It provides all of the advantages you can expect from Lay Z Spa such as the simple setup, AirJet massage system and simple to use controls. In short, the Monaco provides the luxury or a rigid hot tub but with the convenience and much lower price of an inflatable.
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Prices & information last updated on 2020-08-07