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Review of Seattle Executive Fitness

by Nicholas Barnard on June 11th, 2014

I’m a bit new to Yelp and I discovered that my review was limited to 5000 characters, although I had 6600 or so characters of stuff to say. So this is the full review.

This gym is consistently sets expectations then breaks them. I’ve been a member since February 2008 and I’m canceling this month.

When I joined it was Epicenter and the location was at 3rd and Pike. That location was nothing fancy, but it was reasonably expansive, had equipment that worked, and locker rooms that were reasonable. (FYI, what is now the T.J. Maxx was the Epicenter gym.)

I walked in one morning to workout, and I was told that location had been closed, and I could now go to the Allstar Fitness on Olive Way in the Medical Dental Building. I was helpfully handed a map that showed me how to get from the old gym to the new gym.

This change was a mixed bag. There were little things and the crazy narrow steep staircase and having to bring a lock. The old location had tanning beds, but the new one didn’t. (Yes I know its bad for you, but one here and there helps with the Seattle winters.) There were also some improvements. The showers and the lockers were nicer, the actual workout rooms also were nicer, plus the location included free towels. In addition, I eventually gained access to the location in the Municipal Tower, which wasn’t as great, but also had some helpful features and great views.

The gym changed names a few times to Epicenter Executive Fitness, then Seattle Executive Fitness. They also stated that everyone who was a member was a “Founding Member” and their dues would be locked in and they’d have free towel service. Contrary to the owner’s responses to Yelp reviews, my membership has never had an annual fee.

The Medical Dental Building location then became the incredible shrinking gym. It started slowly. A small portion of the workout floor was remodeled off to become a Trudy’s Florist. Then the downstairs lobby was closed and it became a Weight Watchers location. These were little things as far as space goes. A nice space to sit was converted to a Spa of some variety. Then the main workout floor was cut roughly in half. The other half stayed empty for several months, but recently its been remodeled as offices. Finally, the desk downstairs was removed and you had to scan your card at the door. No friendly face to greet you. At this point I looked around for other gyms, but nothing was at a price I was willing to pay.

There were also a few instances of the gym shortening their hours without notice. This started at the Epicenter location on Pike, then continued. The Olive Way location used to be open until 11 pm, but then cut back to closing at 9 pm. The weekend hours used to be until 8 pm, but are now cut back to 6 pm. (Although the website still shows that the location is open until 8pm!)

They’ve also been horrible about communicating when they have shortened hours for holidays. Sometimes they’ve failed to communicate them at all. (On their website, on Twitter, on Facebook, and maybe they post a note at the last minute at the location.) I’ve had a few times when I’ve been aware of their posted holiday hours, only to arrive to a sign on the door that they’ve closed earlier than their posted holiday hours. What is the point of posting hours if you’re not going to follow them? (Yes, holidays probably will be slow, but if you’ve made a commitment to be open, you should be open.) I’ve tweeted at them about this, but I’ve never received a response.

The communication about the new Smith Tower location was poor as well. I saw that they were opening the location and emailed the GM of the new location. He responded, but never informed me of any special membership requirements to this location. I was able to access this location just fine, but then I got a call that starting next month, I wouldn’t have access to it any more. Poor communication.

The final straw for me happened over two days. I work out as much for my mental health as for my physical health. I realized that I needed to get to the gym, and made plans to go at about 6:10 pm on a Sunday. I had checked the website earlier in the day and it stated that they were open until 8pm. I put on my workout clothes and headed out. I went by the Municipal Tower location first, and it was closed. I checked their website on my phone and the Medical Dental Building location showed as being open until 8 pm. I then walked to that location, only to find that it too was closed. I was so pissed that I had gotten over my procrastination only to be denied a workout due to SEF’s lack of proper communication.

The next day I went to the Municipal Tower location only to be greeted by signs that the club is closing on June 30th, 2014, and due to increased theft of towels there was no longer any towel service. Now, I had previously been promised towel service for the life of my membership, so I didn’t bring a towel. I understand that they had an increased towel theft problem, an adult way to deal with the problem would’ve been to be empathetic to the fact that their members might not be aware of this policy. (Something like providing each member a “now you know, but here’s a towel for today.” then cross their name off a member list or provide a towel in exchange for them holding an ID or something like that.) No, instead Seattle Executive Fitness treated their members like middle schoolers, and said “NO TOWELS FOR YOU!” They also posted signs all over the gym reminding folks of this.

Now I wasn’t about to skip my workout, so I went and worked out. Then, I took a shower and discovered how many paper towels it takes to dry myself off. I finally had enough with the signs, and started tearing them down as I walked by. Once I got to the elevator the manager confronted me and asked if my middle school antics were necessary. I told him yes. (I’m slow on good comebacks, I should’ve said, “Well, you’re treating your members like middle schoolers so don’t be surprised when they act like them.”) He then offered to cancel my membership, but not refund the pro-rated remainder of the month. A few words were exchanged, and once the elevator came I got on it to leave. He then asked my last name so he could cancel my membership. Funny how when they’re done with you they’ll cancel your membership, but if you want to be done with them they’ll make you jump though all sorts of hoops.

I’m done with putting up with Seattle Executive Fitness’s constantly changing and broken promises. I’ve found a new gym. LA Fitness has purchased the old Vision Quest location at 2nd and Columbia. Its a very similar price. The physical plant isn’t as great, but its under new owners and they’ve stated they’ll be remodeling the place as they go, keeping all the same space.

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