Fancy a dip but don’t have the luxury of your own swimming pool?
1 Best girls’ day out Dubai Ladies Club: Ladies, this is your chance to tan with the girls without feeling intimidated by crowds of guys. The infinity pool is big enough for swimming laps, offers both shade and sun and looks over the club’s 200 metres of private beach (which you’re also free to use). If you have little ones in tow, there’s also a kids’ pool with slides. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 9922). Weekends Dhs200 per adult and Dhs75 per child; weekdays Dhs175 and Dhs65 respectively. Includes access to the pool, beach, tennis court and basketball court.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Ladies only.
2 Best for indulgent sun-shunners Burj Al Arab: Ladies: pay Dhs500 and you’ll get to use all four of the Burj Al Arab’s indoor pools at the Assawan Spa; gents can use two of them. There are two straight swimming pools – one mixed and one for ladies – as well as two infinity pools, one of which is also for women only. All pools have 18th-floor views out to the city or the sea. The pools aren’t quite long enough for laps at just 13 metres, but they’re deep enough for you to sit and comfortably wallow in the unadulterated extravagance of it all.
Jumeirah Beach Road (04 301 7338). Dhs500 per day. Includes use of Assawan Spa’s facilities (gym, changing room, sauna and steam room). Pools open daily 6.30am-10.30pm.
3 Best for musos Grand Hyatt: Yes, of course you knew this hotel has swimming facilities, but you probably didn’t know it has four pools: three outdoor and one indoor. Outdoors there’s a lagoon option that’s a prime pick for sun worshippers, plus a pool for children aged 10 and above with slides and that sort of revelry, as well as one for little ones aged 10 and under. Our favourite, however, is the 20-metre indoor option, which is temperature controlled and has an underwater sound system. Synchronised swimming, anyone? Al Quateyat Road, Oud Metha (04 317 1234). Dhs250 per day, including use of all four pools, spa changing facilities, gym, 450-metre jogging track, four floodlit tennis courts and two squash courts.
Outdoor pools open daily 8am-8pm, indoor pool 6am-10pm.
4 Best budget day out Al Mamzar Beach Park: Surprisingly few people know about this park, which sits on a peninsula that extends into the Persian Gulf. The four beaches are the real highlight, but if salt water’s not for you there are also two pools, including a large lap pool that in our experience is always clean, offers separate times for women only and has good changing facilities and showers. Head down on a weekday or a Saturday (Fridays are rammed), do a few laps and then protein-load with a family barbecue. As an aside, this park offers air-conditioned bungalows for rent – we laugh now, but come July we’ll be getting our dirhams out.
Al Mamzar, Al Hamriya area, just before Sharjah (04 296 6201). Dhs10 for park entry and pool use. Parking is often easier on the Sharjah side. Open Sat-Wed 8am to 11pm, Thu-Fri 8am-11.30pm. Pool is for ladies only on Wednesdays.
5 Best for afternoon lounging Mövenpick Jumeirah Beach: Brand new on the block, this hotel’s swimming spot sits on a bridge over The Walk at JBR. It’s more for floppy hats and bikinis than Speedos – it’s a bit of an odd shape that’s not great for swimming laps – and you’ll need to go after 12.30pm if you want sun because the JBR buildings block the rays in the morning. We recommend arriving in the early afternoon, munching on a sushi platter, sipping on a cocktail from the poolside bar and indulging in a spa treatment from the comfort of your lounger. When you’re done tanning, have a few drinks while watching the sun set smack bang in front of you.
The Walk at JBR (04 449 8888). Weekdays Dhs200, weekends Dhs250. Includes use of pool and changing rooms with steam room and sauna. Open daily 8am-8pm.
6 Best boutique experience Jumeirah Garden Guest House: This little gem proves that the best things come in small packages. The guest house is run by a long-time hotelier from London and offers an alternative to the city’s many mammoth hotels – it welcomes people to come down and have lunch or dinner cooked by celeb chef Andy Campbell, then use the facilities for the day, which include a decent-sized pool as well as a lovely garden with a croquet area. Ideal if you have friends visiting from abroad: treat them to a reasonably priced lunch, followed by a lounge by the pool.
14a Street, Al Manara area, Jumeirah (050 956 2854). Pool access is free for guests dining at the restaurant. To book lunch or dinner, email firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning Time Out. Pool open daily 10am-10pm.
7 Best for serious swimmers Dubai Men’s College and Dubai Women’s College: Both of these colleges offer lane pools, and both are segregated so you’ll suffer no distractions while working on your front crawl. The men’s college has one of the only Olympic-sized (50-metre) pools in Dubai, but it’s not for morning swimmers – bizarrely, it doesn’t open ’til 1pm. It’s outdoors, but it’s shaded and the water temperature is well controlled. The women’s college pool is indoors and half the size of the men’s, but at 25 metres is still decent for laps.
Dubai Men’s College, Dubai Academic City (04 403 8637). Swimming membership is Dhs300 per month or Dhs50 per visit. Open daily 1pm to 10pm. Dubai Women’s College, Al Nahda area near Al Qusais (04 208 9656). Membership is Dhs540 for the first three months, then Dhs180 monthly. Open daily 8am-8pm.
8 Best cheap laps Mushrif Park: This massive park never ceases to surprise us. On our first visit we stumbled across models of the abodes of the world, on our second we found rabbits, and on our third we saw two 25-metre lap pools. The pools are segregated and are well hidden from public view, catering to shy swimmers. They’re not swanky by any stretch, and you’ll need to wear a swimming cap, but this all adds to the public pool vibe.
Al Khawaneej Road (04 288 3624). Park entry is Dhs10 per car; pool entry is Dhs10 for adults and Dhs5 for children. Open daily 9am-9pm.
9 Best hotel bargain Coral Deira: At about five metres long, this small pool is modest by Dubai standards, but it’s a plain bargain and is good for people in the Old Dubai end of town. It has a jacuzzi, a shaded majlis area and is open early in the morning until late at night, so caters for early birds and evening loungers.
Al Muraqqabat Street, Deira (04 224 8587). Dhs45 for men, Dhs35 for women, Dhs25 for kids and Dhs75 for families. Includes use of the gym and sauna. Open daily 7am-midnight.
10 Best scenery Hatta Fort Hotel: Less than an hour’s drive from Dubai, Hatta Fort Hotel is perfect for a cheap and quick escape from the city. The hotel is refreshingly kitsch – the consistently chilly pool even has its own waterfall. The best bit, though, is the view of the rugged Hajar Mountains. Top tip: remember to have your Emirates ID or passport with you on the drive as there is now a checkpoint en route to Hatta.
Hatta-Dubai Road (04 809 9333). Use of the Rock Pool is Dhs50. Open daily 8am-6pm.
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misho Oct 13, 2011 07:29 am
I was wondering why on earth would women hang out alone without the gents ... and vice versa. would the world be a better place without the other sex so we will find ourselves another planet to elope ... lol but really wish you a good time without us ..... enjoy life while you can
Dina Laghmich Feb 22, 2011 08:52 pm
I would like to know if the swimming pool is mixt or separated for women (because we're muslim women and want to swim without men)