Product Review: Vidalux Sensual Spas Essence 900 Steam Shower Cabin
At 900*900mm the Sensual Spas Essence 900 steam shower by Vidalux is large enough for a family bathroom but still compact enough to find a place in an en suite. In either case, it packs in a whole lot of features and functionality into a very small footprint and can easily replace a bath to free up valuable floor and wall space.
Since there are so many different styles of bathroom, from colourful and quirky to minimalist and serene, the Sensual Spas Essence 900 has been designed to fit right in to any form of bathroom decor. Available in crisp white or mirrored glass, the build quality of the Sensual Spas Essence 900 is evident at first glance and even more so at first touch. Quick-release door runners mean that hands large and small can open and close the doors without any effort and the low step into the shower is generally a whole lot easier for older family members than getting in and out of a bath. The reinforced acrylic base is strong enough for even larger users, particularly since it contains a steel frame and there are adjustable feet to permit maximum stability. The panels are all made of safety glass, so you’re free of the worry of cracks and splintering.
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Vidalux backs its commitment to quality with a two-year warranty (upon registration), which can be extended if the purchaser wishes. Customers can have confidence in this guarantee since Vidalux has been a leading player in the shower industry for the last 15 years and provides support from its UK base.
Key Features and Benefits of the Sensual Spas Essence 900 Steam Shower
As the Sensual Spas Essence 900 is intended to offer a great showering experience to a wide variety of users, there is the option to purchase a free-standing stool or a flip-down “cabin-style” stool as an upgrade. The free-standing stool can, of course, be moved in and out of the shower as required and can also provide useful seating elsewhere in the bathroom (or indeed in any other room). It has been specifically designed for use in the shower and hence has a synthetic wood seat, which is hygienic and free from issues such as rotting and splintering. The metallic legs are, of course, anti-rust. The flip-down alternative is reassuringly robust in use and leaves the full cabin space free when upright. If this option is chosen, the stool is positioned so that seated users are in exactly the right place to feel the full benefit of the three multi-spray massage jets, which provide a much better experience than single-spray jets.
It’s also ideally placed for users to make the most of the steam functionality. The 2.8KW steam generator gets to work in no time and its outlet, at the base of the column, is as elegant as it is functional. As an added benefit, there is a capsule for you to add your favourite scent to the steam. Use a ready-made blend to capture a particular mood or get creative yourself with essential oils. Lemon is an obvious choice for when you’re desperate to find your get up and go, whereas lavender is the oil for when you need to calm down. Menthol oils are always useful for clearing up stuffy noses in winter (use pine at Christmas!).
Of course, the main purpose of even a steam shower is to be a shower and the Sensual Spas Essence 900 has plenty to offer here. The roof enclosure contains a monsoon shower head for the best possible showering experience. It’s like having a bath standing up. You are cosseted in warm water, which is guaranteed to stay exactly at the temperature you want because the monsoon shower is controlled by a thermostatic cartridge with Vernet wax element. This is about more than just comfort. It is an important safety feature since it would be dangerous for a user to be drenched in ice-cold or scalding-hot water as can happen with manual showers (besides which, who wants to fiddle around with temperature fittings when their eyes are covered in shampoo suds?). Even the hand shower is also thermostatically controlled for the same reason. Although it is the accessory shower in the Sensual Spas Essence 900, it is still a high-quality shower in its own right, certainly the equal of many wall-mounted showers and far superior to a number of “over-bath” showers. It has three settings to deliver anything from a brisk jet to a soothing mist and is on a riser so that it can be easily adjusted to the height of any user. This means that in addition to being a convenient way to rinse of the shower after use, it’s also perfect for when you really need to be both quick and thorough, like when you just need to wash your hair before a night out or get mud off a pet with minimal hassle.
Of course, when you do have the time for a leisurely shower, it’s nice to have plenty of shower products to enjoy, which is why the Sensual Spas Essence 900 comes with a glass shower on which to put them so they stay off the floor and ready to hand.
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Speaking of hands, the control panel which is used to access the advanced features of the Sensual Spas Essence 900 is deliberately placed high enough up the central column to be out of reach of younger children so they can’t set off the steam function by accident. Adults however, can keep little ones amused (and indeed amuse themselves) with lights and sound. The monsoon shower head is surrounded by a ring of LED mood lights, which are low energy but high impact. The roof enclosure also contains a high-quality speaker, which has been selected specifically to offer the level of performance needed to make itself heard when the shower is in full use.
You have two audio options. The first is the integrated FM radio, the reception of which reaches the places DAB (currently) can’t, both geographically and in terms of where it can get a decent signal in your home. It also offers lower energy consumption than DAB, which is why it forecast to be a feature of the UK radio scene for at least some years to come. If you’re wondering what kind of radio can be integrated into a shower, the answer is “a very good one”, which supports the same sort of functionality as you’d find in a standard radio, e.g. station presets. The second is to use the Bluetooth connection to pair your smartphone or tablet with your shower. This allows you to listen to your own content or to use your home WiFi to access content from the internet.
It’s absolutely fine to leave your (expensive) mobile device outside the Sensual Spas Essence 900 when it’s going “full steam ahead” because self-contained shower cabins such as the Sensual Spas Essence 900 are exactly that. All the water and steam stays safely inside your cabin so not only is your smartphone or tablet kept safe from the effects of moisture, but so are your walls, hence you can save yourself the time, hassle and expense of having to tile them.
The Sensual Spas Essence 900 comes with an extractor fan, which can be used during and/or after your shower, to ensure that any steam is fully dispersed before you open the door to dry yourself and collect your nicely dry mobile device. Just before you exit the shower, activate the ozone cleaning function and let your shower clean itself while you are getting ready. Aside from the obvious benefit of saving you time and effort, this process offers the additional benefit of ensuring that your shower really is hygienically clean, instead of just looking clean.
Technical Details Of The Vidalux Sensual Spas Essence 900 Steam Shower
The Sensual Spas Essence 900 shower is designed to function at a water pressure of between 2 and 3 Bar. The pressure must never drop below 1 Bar (it will continue to operate below 2 Bar although the shower’s functionality is likely to reduce) and must certainly never exceed 3 Bar as this is very likely to cause damage, which will be outside the scope of the warranty. Most household water systems will be able to cope with this easily, but gravity-fed systems may require a pump to be installed. Mains fed systems may benefit from having a pressure-reducing valve fitted. In hard water areas it is strongly recommended to fit a water softener as limescale damage is excluded from the warranty. The minimum flow rate is 7.5 litres per minute.
A qualified electrician must connect the Sensual Spas Essence 900 to the mains for the warranty on electrical components to be valid. This is also likely to be a requirement of the home owner’s insurance and possibly also of the law.
Due to its size, the Sensual Spas Essence 900 will be delivered in several boxes. One of these boxes will contain an installation manual, which includes a checklist of the included items. The home owner should confirm that the contents of the boxes is as indicated on the list and contact Vidalux if any items are missing or damaged. Provided that this is done within 48 hours of receipt and before starting to assemble the shower, Vidalux will be happy to provide replacements. The manual also contains a sheet with details of the installation which will need to be completed and submitted to activate the warranty. Home owners are strongly advised to retain this and ideally to keep an electronic copy as a back up.
The shower will come with all the hardware needed to assemble it, the home owner will simply require a standard set of DIY tools plus two flexible, braided hoses and two isolation valves. The home owner will also need to make sure that they purchase sanitary silicone rather than the standard variety as the former is anti-bacterial and therefore safe to use around water, whereas the latter can provide a home to harmful bacteria.
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Assembling the Sensual Spas Essence 900 is definitely a two-person job, although only one of the people needs DIY skills. When putting the shower together, it’s recommended to leave the fittings slightly loose to begin with, this makes it easier to line up pieces and also easier to move them if you discover you’ve made a mistake. If you’re not used to tackling jobs of this size, you may wish to do a “dry run” without applying the silicone to see how you get on. Then, if need be, you can take the shower apart again and call in a trades person.