Yes, the gym is beautiful, clean, the trainers are friendly, etc. It's hard not to get caught up in raving about the place to everyone. I know, I used to do that too.
But I think the real measure of a business is not its appearance, or how nice everyone is when things are going well -- it's how well you're treated if there's ever a problem.
I don't expect a great deal; my only criteria are that the management are reasonably responsive (get back to me within a week or so?), and attempt a fair resolution of the problem... That's it.
On those simple measures, I'd give Equinox negative stars. Surprised? Me too. Here's what happened:
When my girlfriend and I joined ~ a year ago, I told the member counselor we'd likely be moving out of state in a few months, for 6-8. Could we get a short-term membership?
""Don't worry about it,"" he said. ""Just send me proof of your new residence by X date, I'll cancel it with no fee.""
So we did. He never replied, so I asked in person next time I was there: ""Don't worry, I'm on it."" I emailed him a week or so before the move, just to confirm: no response.
So at the end of my next visit, I stopped by the front desk: there was no record of our request. The guy said he couldn't do anything, except give me a form to fill out to end the membership 30-45 days later -- the earliest possible date.
I filled it out and asked if there was someone I could talk to. The manager, Mr. Smallcorn, had left early for the day, but I was able to leave a note for him with my name, cell, and email asking him to get back to me.
He never did. I emailed him a week or so later, and again: no response. Meanwhile, the membership continued to renew monthly at ~$140 or so.
Several weeks later I was back in the area, and made a 45 minute trip out of my way to Tyson's.
Mr. Smallcorn was not around... Could I come back tomorrow? I said I'd rather wait until he showed... 2 minutes later, the woman returned -- Mr. Smallcorn would see me now.
He'd clearly been in his office the whole time, and greeted me with an apology, ""Oh yes, so sorry I didn't get back to you, how much do we owe you?""
At that point, $347, I explained showing him the original email with the proof of residence and dates. I also asked him to look into my girlfriend's membership and make sure she got an appropriate refund as well.
""Of course, I'll take care of that straight away... So sorry again..."" Apparently the original member counselor was ""no longer with us ... because of issues like this.""
Alright, so it was that other guy's fault. Still:
Why not check his company email for a while, or forward it to his replacement?
And why instruct the front desk to pretend he wasn't there?
But hey, I thought it was taken care of and the manager had apologized. I felt much better and was prepared to let it go.
It was weeks until $274 showed up on my card... What? I called (no answer) and emailed Smallcorn, again, to ask about the other $73... Didn't he issue the refund for $347?
I got a response. Apparently he couldn't control the amount (?), was ""just as puzzled"" as I was, and forwarded it to corporate. They refunded the additional $73 and inquired, would they see me again if I ever ""worked or lived near an Equinox?""
Since then I get spam emails from them on a near-constant basis: ""We want you back!"" ""Last chance day to rejoin at $0 initiation!"" ... I've clicked ""Unsubscribe"" and gone through the process of opting out of ""all future emails"" on the their website at least three times. I even emailed Smallcorn (whose personal address was the reply-to) asking him to take me off of the list. (no response...)
I just got another one today, which prompted this review.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When you visit, the gym will sparkle and you may be smitten. But BE WARNED: the quality of the service is nowhere near that of the interior design. For ~$140/mo, I expected (and was promised) a better experience.