In a region famous for its glamour, high-end shopping and dining, constant sunshine and golden shores, luxurious beach clubs perfectly fit the mould, offering a chic beach experience that’s a far cry from dodgy deck chairs, sand in your sandwiches and plastic bucket and spades. Sky-high standards of service and competition between brands ensure Dubai’s beach clubs are among the best in the world with beautiful aesthetics, gourmet food, boutique facilities and every guest pampered and treated like a VIP.
The collection continues to grow, with several new places debuting in the last year including a private enclave at Rixos Premium Dubai and another at the recently-opened La Mer development. Although there are standalone clubs, some of Dubai’s beach clubs are owned by five-star resorts that you can access with a day pass, allowing you to sample the beach and poolside comforts of iconic hotels such as Atlantis the Palm, for instance.
Whether plotting up on a private cabana with a beach butler attending to your every need; soaking in some spectacular swimming pools; or grazing on delicious freshly-prepared food by the waterside, beach clubs are a quintessential part of the Dubai experience. Here are ten of the best to try on a visit to Dubai...
Beneath the drop zone of the city’s renowned Skydive Dubai, this independent club is one for travellers who enjoy their beach experience with a dose of high-octane action, where you can watch skydivers parachuting in to land. Centred on a seafront pavilion at Dubai Marina, the club has a modern slick and sporty design including a 39-metre circular glass-fronted infinity pool. Decks and balconies overlooking the ocean make an ideal spot for a meal, while large daybeds spaced out along the palm-studded lawn, pool and private beach are popular with sun worshippers. Food and drink is always imaginatively presented and on trend with everything from activated charcoal burgers to freak shakes delivered straight to your sunlounger. Zero Gravity is open long after sundown, doubling as an evening venue for romantic drinks on the beach, all-inclusive ladies’ nights, music and dancing in the sand.
The brand famous for its chain of luxury lifestyle beach clubs and chic signature white minimalist design was a natural fit for Dubai, opening Nikki Beach Dubai a couple of years ago. One of Dubai’s smaller more boutique-style offerings, the palm oasis arranged around a pool faces onto a private section of Pearl Jumeirah beach. Water beds encircle the pool, letting you dip your toes in the water while you bask in the sun, and you can choose from sun loungers, day beds and cabanas on the beach. Nikki Beach’s Pour Elle Ladies Day is every Tuesday when girls can get six beverages and a complimentary day bed for Dhs130 (around £25).
This large tropical beach club on a palm-lined curve of manicured sand is dramatically positioned at the foot of Atlantis the Palm. Here you’ll find beachfront wooden decking areas where you can nibble on dishes from Nasimi Beach Restaurant’s excellent menu, as well as laying up on inviting daybeds, shady cabanas edging the beach, and loungers and sunshades close to the waves. Social spaces offer a place to chillout during the midday heat, and double as cocktail hangouts in the evening. A happy hour every day around sunset tempts beach-goers to stick around for sundowners when resident DJs begin stoking up a beach party atmosphere.
Right next to the iconic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab building, Cove Beach is a crisp club with a pristine private beach on one side and smart marina on the other, offering a jetset experience with the added bonus of ticking a key Dubai landmark off your sightseeing list. Created by Jumeirah Beach Hotel, it has relaxed outdoor lounging areas and terraces perfect for brunch, shisha, drinks or lunch with friends, plus a dedicated rose bar for lovers of the pink stuff. During the week the club has very reasonable day rates for sunloungers around the pool and beach that come with towels, water bottles and attentive waiter service, but expect to pay double on the UAE weekends (Friday – Saturday).
Marble stone square pools, blue sun-shades and white latticed screens give Drift the look of a chic Greek island resort with romantic Arabian influences. Attached to the deluxe One and Only Royal Mirage resort, it’s one of the pricier beach clubs but its design, peaceful ambience and location on 1km of exclusive beachfront – plus the Provencal cuisine served up at the restaurant and a limited menu to the beach – make it particularly appealing for an elegant day at the seaside.
Inspired by luxury beach clubs in the Balearics, Azure Beach is one of Dubai’s newest seafront spots with a fun and relaxed vibe. Set on Rixos Premium Dubai’s private waterfront in the JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) district, the beach club has already won fans, and the giant rainbow unicorn float in the swimming pool has featured in so many selfies that it’s become instagram-famous. Visitors can get a day pass to plot up on one of the infinity pool’s padded private island beds with views over the ocean to The Palm and Dubai Eye, where you’ll be provided with fluffy towels and cool drinks. Sunloungers and shades line the sand on the private beach, and children are welcome with a kids club providing fun activities and a cafe catering to the whole family.
Riva Beach Club
A dedicated beach club and restaurant set on a sandy front of the Palm Jumeirah, Riva Beach Club is reminiscent of a Balinese resort with thatch and stone architecture and nature tropical plants providing shade from the sun lending it a feeling of tranquillity. The family-friendly club has cool interiors, simple fresh and tasty food, and half-price day passes for kids. Peaceful places to rest border the sand and a huge circular climate-controlled infinity pool melts into the ocean with Dubai’s dramatic Downtown skyline and the Burj Al Arab on the horizon. Promotions include a daily Happy Hour and Bella Wednesdays when ladies can get two-for-one day passes.
If you are staying in a hotel away from the shore, or even if you have your own resort beach, it’s well worth seeking out one of these clubs for a blissful beach day. On a longer stay, why not hop between a few different venues to get a real picture of all the luxe experiences Dubai has to offer? The list of Dubai beach clubs is fast expanding to include a wider spectrum of options too – Sea Spice will soon be providing boutique beach facilities to visitors at the waterfront La Mer development, and fusion beach and night club Drai’s and Soho Beach brings its Vegas pool party vibe to Dubai’s Meydan this month.