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SportsClub/LA was purchased by Equinox in 2011.
The Sports Club/LA (SCLA) is the second entrepreneurial ventured founded by Michael Talla and Nanette Pattee Francini (the first being Foxy Lady, a swimwear line founded 20 years prior). The first SCLA gym-then called The Sports Connection-officially opened in Santa Monica, California, and quickly became a mainstay of Hollywood celebrities looking to work out and stay in shape. Talla and Francini went on to open The Sports Club/LA in 1987 along with a chain of larger gyms called the Spectrum Club. Later, they sold the Spectrum and Sports Connection clubs to concentrate on The Sports Club/LA. The company's official name, Sports Club Company, Inc., went public on the stock market in 1994. Since then, the owners have expanded to the east coast in cities like New York City and Boston.

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The Good

  • Upfront Fees
  • Hidden Fees
  • Equipment
  • Cleanliness
  • Trainers and Nutrition

Upfront Fees

The Sports Club/LA requires a $75 initiation fee upon signup. This is inexpensive for a luxury gym. Even the YMCA charges a higher enrollment fee of $100. In fact, we found several lower-tier gyms with higher upfront fees than the Sports Club LA.

Hidden Fees

One perk is that there are no hidden costs for members at The Sports Club/LA. When compared with other gyms, a common hidden fee may be annual cleaning/maintenance fees or an early termination fee. SCLA's high membership fees perhaps counter the need for any hidden fees. This makes SCLA superior to other gyms in this regard.

Equipment

SCLA has great equipment and training areas. Its equipment is state-of-the-art and is maintained on a one-month maintenance cycle. Machines are replaced every two years, or as needed. The company's staff members are constantly wiping down equipment and picking up towels, etc. The workout area is one large room with everything from elliptical machines, to cable machines to various types of free weights. Even the company's smaller locations have plenty of space. People who have been working out at SCLA clubs for a long period of time have stated that they cannot imagine ever switching back to a "normal" gym. Many reviewers state that they're now in the best shape of their life because they feel so calm and rejuvenated by their experience every time they finish a workout, that they're already anticipating their next workout.

Cleanliness

The club itself is really high-end and the decor is sleek and modern. Customers feel as though they are somewhere special, away from the noise, in an almost spa-like environment. The fit and finish is very nice. The locker rooms are spacious and well appointed. The spa-like facilities make The Sports Club/LA superior to many gyms we reviewed that were either "low-frills" or average.

Classes

When it comes to classes, The Sports Club/LA offers a variety of eight classes included in your monthly membership at no additional charge: Vinyasa Yoga, Kickboxing, Total Barre, Pilates, Zumba, Bootcamp, Tread and Shred, and Cut to the Core. Regardless of location or region, customers find the classes to be high quality and have affinity for The Sports Club/LA's class instructors. The company is well-known in its communities for offering some of the best group fitness classes available in the fitness world, always updating its class schedules and instructors to keep abreast of the latest fitness and industry trends.

Trainers and Nutrition

For those seeking additional assistance, The Sports Club/LA offers personal training sessions. In the past, the company has offered a special including two free one-hour sessions with a personal trainer. Nutritional counseling is also offered. Because of the small number of fitness locations, SCLA is able to recruit and hire only the best personal trainers and employees. Personal training comes at an additional cost once the two complementary sessions are completed. This cost varies per location but since SCLA is a luxury gym, the cost for personal training sessions tends to be higher than the average gym.

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The Bad

  • Price and contracts
  • Other available amenities

Price and Contracts

The Sports Club/LA offers a month-to-month contract of $141/month; it is not cheap to attend this gym. Many customers feel that you get what you pay for and although they would prefer to pay less, they are satisfied with the amenities and features they receive for what the company charges. One reviewer said, "I imagine heaven will be a lot like The Sports Club/LA . . . only hopefully a little cheaper."

Other Available Amenities

Other amenities the company offers at their fitness centers include:

  • Full-service spa
  • Pool and sauna
  • Juice bar/café
  • Childcare
  • Fresh towels
  • Lockers

Some of these amenities come at an additional cost. We recommend pricing on café items be reconsidered, (such as the salads, which cost $10 to $15). Also, these amenities are not available at all SCLA locations. Some locations, for example, do not have a pool or a spa. This is disappointing for the company's customers.

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The Bottom Line

Overall, the Sports Club LA is a top notch, high-end fitness club that is designed to be a luxury gym. Members can expect top-of-the-line equipment, amenities, and fitness classes like Zumba and Yoga for all fitness levels. SCLA also employs some of the fitness industry's top trainers and fitness facility managers. The monthly fees are higher than the average gym at $141 per month. Their enrollment fees are surprisingly lower for a gym of its caliber. There are also no hidden fees members need to be aware of.

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