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Written on: 22/05/2013

My wife and I retired last year and decided to join a good gym. We were already members of a local council-run health centre which was OK but lacked in 'pamper' facilities like a sauna, swimming pool, restaurant etc. So we spent a few days touring the entire Dartford/Gravesend/Bexley area, settling on David Lloyd Dartford as top of our shortlist. What nearly put us off - and thank goodness they didn't - were the awful reviews on this and other review websites ...?? That was in January and now, 4 months later, neither of us can find the tiniest fault with the place. It's clean, friendly; the equipment's really well maintained and the staff are almost over-helpful - always willing to listen, whatever the problem or query. There are lots of nice little touches like having drinking water fountains throughout, if you forget your towel and they'll happily lend you one - without deposit - and hot showers so powerful you feel guilty running it for more than a few seconds! There are masses of extra classes from yoga to spinning to aqua-aerobics - all included in the subscription and all (the ones we've tried anyway) expertly run.
I've been gym-ing since the days such places were called 'Body-Building Parlours' when resistance training meant busting a gut with a few dumbbells, barbells and benches; when aerobics meant a couple of swift sprints around the block or running on the spot with a skipping rope. But David Lloyd Dartford is in another solar system from that and an absolute joy to visit with oodles of variety - and it certainly represents the best value for money we've had in a long time considering we bought and paid for a year's membership up front.
It really is a mystery to us why there are so many whinges although most seem to be about cancelling membership. Well, it's quite simple ... read the terms and conditions, otherwise you only have yourself to blame. Certainly at Dartford, their sales representative went out of his way to explain the notice periods and the anomalies that might be misconstrued, advising us strongly to ensure that we were quite happy to commit ourselves.

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