The best (and cheapest) ways to cool down in Dubai
On our last count, there were nearly 600 hotels in Dubai. By our calculations, that means there must be at least 600 pools by now. And that’s only hotel pools – there are thousands of residences in Dubai, most boasting their own pools, which surely pushes the total number of swimming pools in the city towards 2,000. But why does it matter, and why are we insisting on using the word ‘pool’ so much? Because there’s no better way to combat the heat than basking in a chilled pool (there we go again).
Yet with the exception of sneaking into one of the JBR pools for free (don’t do this, it’s naughty), there are very few swimming pools you can access without having to fork out at least Dhs200. What’s more, despite Dubai hosting the 2010 FINA Swimming World Championships (the venue was drained to make way for, um, handball), there aren’t many public pools in the city. Time Out has thus rounded up 10 swimming pools around town that you can use for Dhs100 or less per day (hurrah!). Some are in hotels, others are in parks – all are a great way to keep cool this summer.
Radisson Blu, Deira This outdoor swimming pool is located on the first floor of the hotel, offering great views of Dubai Creek. The pool itself is a generous 16 metres in length and 15 metres wide, and there’s also a kids’ area, which is under constant supervision. Day guests can make use of the tennis court, fitness club (which also features a ladies-only gym), squash courts, table tennis, steam room and sauna. Dhs75 (Sun-Thu), Dhs99 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 7am-10pm (the gym is open 24 hours). Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek (04 222 7171).
Hatta Fort Hotel Bask in the cool waters of one of Hatta’s two temperature-controlled pools and drink in views of the surrounding Hajar mountains. Well worth the trip out to Hatta (though remember your passport – there are checkpoints along the road). Dhs50 (day entry), Dhs30 (kids under 12). Open daily 7am-7pm. Hatta Fort Hotel, E44 Dubai-Hatta Road (04 809 9333).
Best Hotel lap pool Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate’s pool is located on the eighth floor and, at 30 metres long, is one of the best lap pools to be found at any of Dubai’s hotels. A day pass also affords you access to the gym, and those with two kids under six in tow can drop off said tiny terrors in the kids’ club. Dhs75 (Sun-Thu), Dhs100 (Thu-Sat). Open daily 6am-10pm. Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, Ibn Battuta (04 444 0000).
Best views The Address Dubai Mall This pool’s proximity to Souk Al Bahar and, of course, The Dubai Mall makes it a great places to lounge before or after a shop. Under the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, this luxurious 36.5-metre pool also offers some of the best views to be had in all of Downtown Dubai. Dhs99. Open daily 6am-8pm. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 438 8888).
Novotel Dubai World Trade Centre This no-nonsense budget hotel is just minutes away from Trade Centre and all the wonders of DIFC. Its modestly-sized 16-metre long, nine-metre wide pool is a great place to relax and bask in the sun, and the affordable entry fee also gives you access to the gym, pool, and steam room. Dhs30 (Sun-Thu), Dhs50 (Fri, Sat). Open daily 6am-10pm. Novotel Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 310 8173).
Best for pre-party pool time Barasti Some clever person thought it would be a good idea to clean out the pool at Barasti. What we have now is a very pleasant, functional pool that’s open to the public every Friday and Saturday. With this being Barasti, free pool entry is accompanied by discount drinks (half price between 2pm and 9pm) and resident DJs spinning chill-out music in the background. Free. Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Spa Al Sufouh Road, email@example.com (04 318 1313).
Best for serious swimmers Dubai Men’s College This is one of the few 50-metre lap pools in Dubai – the only downside is that it’s men-only most of the time. Women can take a dip on Mondays and Thursdays, but everyone is advised to call ahead before visiting because the college team often trains without giving notice. Dhs50. Open daily noon-8pm; women only Mon and Thu 1pm-3pm. Dubai Men’s College, Dubai Academic City (04 403 8637).
Al Mamzar Park This park, which lies on the coastline just before Sharjah, features four beaches as well as a generously proportioned lap pool. There are plenty of sun loungers and shaded areas, plus changing rooms, showers and a shop, as well as lifeguards. Park entry Dhs5 per person, Dhs30 per car; pool entry Dhs10 for adults, Dhs5 for kids. Open daily 9am-9pm. Al Mamzar, Al Hamriya, just before Sharjah (04 296 6201).
Mushrif Park It’s getting a little hot to explore Mushrif’s sandy expanses, so we suggest heading straight to one of the ’50s-style pools (one for ladies, one for gents), where you can take a dip and then lounge in one of the plentiful shaded areas. Granted, Mushrif’s pools aren’t the cleanest, but their semi-dilapidated state is half the charm. What’s more, at 25 metres, the pools are great for lengths. Park entry is Dhs10; pool entry is Dhs10 (adults), Dhs5 (kids). Open daily 9am-9pm. Mushrif Park, Al Khawaneej Road (04 288 3624).