12 of Dubai's best private beach clubs and sandy party spots
Check out some of the city’s newest and coolest private hangouts for lazy days, parties and watersports in the sun.
Cove Beach New Club This stylish stretch of private beach – a new addition next to the existing beach club within the grounds of Jumeirah Beach Hotel – looks like it’s been plucked from the shores of southern France. An airy restaurant with a glass front offers the option of all-year-round dining, while outside there’s a bar decked out with white tables and chairs, plus plenty of sofas set back from the sand and sun loungers on the private beach. A chilled-out crowd relax at the bar or on the sofas, mingling with fully committed beach-goers soaking up the sun.
Highs and lows: It’s great being able to move between the different areas, each one with its own vibe. There are no real lows; service is sharp and the atmosphere relaxed. Beach mattress: Dhs200 per day; single sunbed: Dhs300 per day; double sunbed: Dhs500 per day. Cove Beach, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim, www.covebeach.com (800 2683).
Eden Beach Club Day-to-night party This is one for the adults only. There’s no entertainment for kids; the vibe is very grown-up and sophisticated. Behind the row of stylish cabanas is a long pool designed more for taking a cooling dip rather than lapping, but you can swim up to the well-stocked bar. Latin beats play throughout the club at just the right volume, and the staff here are friendly, courteous and accommodating. When the sun goes down at the weekend, this far-flung corner of the Palm ramps up and is transformed into an Ibiza-style beach party with high-tech lighting, top international DJs and dance acts.
Highs and lows: We love that we can top up our vitamin D levels during the day and then take a shower and get ready for a party, all in one venue. It’s not one for families with kids, but we reckon the crowd here are quite happy about that. Sun-Thu: Dhs100, Fri-Sat: Dhs200. Welcome drink included. 10am-midnight. Eden Beach Club, Rixos The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, www.edenbeachclub.com (04 277 1477).
JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort Perfect for families Here, the sea moves with the rhythm of the ocean – not passing speed boats. There’s seaweed under your feet and even vendors selling coconuts. Sure, it absolutely feels like a holiday resort, but it’s also like a more organic seaside experience. The resort manages successfully to be all things to most guests. Sip and relax at one of two swim-up bars. Dine at one of two à la carte restaurants on the beach. Try several watersports options available at Watercooled. The resort also feels very family-friendly. Take the kids for a camel ride on the beach, and then come sunset, there’s a regular beach party with cheesy ’80s tracks cranked out as teenies and toddlers dance along on the sand.
Highs and lows: Unless you adopt tunnel vision, the scenery beyond the beach here isn’t very scenic, with the industrial cranes of Jebel Ali to your right and what looks like a half-built highway to nowhere to your left. However, the beach looks and feels very clean and has achieved a Blue Flag award to prove it. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort: Sun- Thu: Dhs180 (adults), Dhs90 (children). Fri-Sat: Dhs250 (adults), Dhs110 (children). JA Palm Tree Court: Sun-Thu: Dh280 (adults), Dhs190 (children). Fri-Sat: from Dhs350 (adults), Dhs210 (children). Jebel Ali (04 814 5555).
Jumeirah Beach Hotel Best for water loving families! Sitting in the magnificent shadow of the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s luxurious maze of pools, watering holes and restaurants makes it a genuine something-for-everyone spot. The split beach offers relaxation and pampering on the one side and excitable kids and assorted watersports on the other. There’s a choice of no less than five pools. All are lovely, but the kids’ one – identifiable by its sloping entrance, water cannons and small slide into the pool at the back – is a family delight, designed and staffed with fun and safety as top priorities.
Highs and lows: The beachfront by the kids’ club is either a little pokey or nicely self-contained, depending on your point of view. Ours? It’s a great enclosed space where the kids can run free while you relax with some (excellent) calamari and a cold one. Sun-Thu: Dhs550 (adults), Dhs250 (adult residents), Dhs150 (kids). Fri-Sat: Dhs550 (adults), Dhs400 (adult residents), Dhs250 (kids). 8am-8pm, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8872).
Nasimi Beach Partying and posing Muscular men posing in the direction of bikini-clad women dancing to chilled beats – Nasimi is largely the same day or night. Tightly packed sun loungers and large private cabanas overlook a small beach and sectioned-off area of the sea, which acts as further posing territory rather than a swimming or sports location. Mixed drinks deliver the chilled, Ibiza-style atmosphere of blissful beaching.
Highs and lows: The clubbing vibe will not appeal to families or sanctuary-seekers, but as an extension of your weekend party hours this is perfect. It is a shame the beach is currently overlooking construction, but thankfully, the noise is lost in the Balearic beats. Dhs150 minimum spend per person on sun loungers and sofas, Dhs800 minimum spend for cabanas (max three people) on weekdays. Dhs250 minimum spend per person on sun loungers and sofas and Dhs1,000 minimum spend for cabanas on weekends. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa Beach and brunch deal! It may not be the Palm Jumeirah’s best-known beach option, but the launch of a new brunch-and-beach package in March means this classy spot is starting to get the attention it deserves. A glistening central pool is surrounded by carefully arranged sun loungers (no sitting on top of your neighbours here), while more reclining beds line the beach at the end of the resort and amphitheatre leading down from the main reception. Staff are friendly and keen to fetch whatever you need, and complimentary slices of cold apple are very welcome on a hot day. If you’ve opted for Moana’s Ocean Brunch package, you’re in for a major treat – four courses, featuring three stages of sublime seafood dishes. For beach-goers with ants in their pants, there’s eco golf (hitting balls of fish food into the sea), paddleboarding, water volleyball and much more.
Highs and lows: We love the daily beach and pool happy hour from 4pm, as well as the little buzzers for food and drinks service to your sunbed. Early morning paddleboarders with SeaYou at the hotel may also be lucky enough to catch a rare glimpse dolphins swimming through the waterways. Sun-Thu: Dhs250, Dhs100 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs300, Dhs150 (kids). Discounts available for two or more children. Fri beach and brunch package: Dhs300 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (house beverages). Membership packages from Dhs2,000. Palm Jumeirah (04 455 6677).
Rixos The Palm Dubai Must-try new packages Positioned on the furthest strand of Palm Jumeirah’s East Crescent, Rixos has just launched a series of special beach packages. The Surfer includes a private cabana, bucket of hops, a burger and one hour’s use of the paddleboards, while The Pro-Surfer offers the same benefits, plus a ride in the resorts hair-raising new Seabreacher watercraft. The Cure is designed to help ease the pains of a big night, with a tomato-based mixed drink or house beverage on arrival, a burger or pizza lunch, a private cabana and a 30-minute in-cabana massage. Despite having had a quiet night the previous evening, we opted for the latter, resulting in the most relaxing start to a weekend we’ve had so far this year.
Highs and lows: With its location at the end of the East Crescent, Rixos is ideal for watersports. If you’ve got a day off, there’s a 20 percent discount on all package prices on weekdays, too. Dhs250 (standard day pass), Dhs475 per person based on two sharing (Surfer), Dhs725 per person based on two sharing (Pro-Surfer), Dhs500 per person based on two sharing (The Cure). Palm Jumeirah (04 457 5555).
Riva Ristorante, Bar & Beach Good value As soon as you step into Riva, there’s a lively and laid-back vibe. The pool is ideal for children to play in, with a shallow faux-beach kids’ pool complete with fountains in clear view of the nearby sun loungers. The pool looks out over the beach and there’s plenty of shade around the edges. A small bar sits poolside, but well out of reach of children. As the club is tucked on the east side of the Palm Jumeirah’s trunk, the beach has a lagoon feel; pack snorkels – there are lots of fish to be spotted – and kayaks and paddleboards are available for hire.
Highs and lows: The sun loungers on the beach face away from the water, which is a shame given the lovely view of the Burj Al Arab. The restaurant, on the other hand, serves superb Mediterranean food from a more varied menu than you would expect of a beach club, and impresses enough to warrant a visit on its own. Day pass: Sun-Thu: Dhs100 (adults); Dhs50 (kids aged five to 16); Fri-Sat: Dhs175 (adults); Dhs85 (kids aged five to 16); Dhs50 extra for gym access. Shoreline Apartments Building 8, Palm Jumeirah, www.riva-beach.com (04 430 9466).
Fairmont The Palm Perfect for all ages This place is perfect for just about everyone – families can lounge by the winding pool (with lots of lifeguards) while their kids frolic. And if they don’t fancy a dip there’s also a play area with water cannons. Just off the pool, Seagrill on 25° Restaurant & Lounge offers a nice setting, with a Mediterranean vibe. If you don’t have kids, that’s fine too. The pool is big enough to give them a wide berth or head down to the beach itself, where the loungers and cabanas are set away from the action, looking out onto the West Crescent and the Dubai shoreline in peaceful, near silence.
Highs and lows: The selection of fresh and tasty mocktails is impressive and when you’re relaxing on a lounger it feels like a real getaway. There aren’t any lows as such, other than us grown-ups couldn’t play with the water cannons. Sun-Thu: Dhs200 (adults), Dhs150 (kids), Fri-Sat: Dhs250 (adults), Dhs150 (kids). Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3388).
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai Ideal for couples The Ritz-Carlton Dubai’s beach club (complete with six pools) on the hotel’s lush grounds feels like an oasis of calm and offers sheer luxury in the midst of a bustling JBR. One side caters to families with a playground, pool with waterfall and shallow pools for toddlers. The other caters to those flying solo, couples or groups. The shaded cabanas offer the perfect spot to experience the friendly service, great food and quiet seclusion of the club. We love the swim-up bars and stretch of sand elevated from the public JBR beach. Visit on Fridays for brunch, at an additional cost, and the DJ playing ’80s soul and disco classics. Use of the gym and spa’s facilities are also included in the package price.
Highs and lows: There’s free ice-cream and fruit skewers, but to enjoy the sea we have to head down onto the public JBR beach. Day pass: Dhs500 (adults), Dhs300 (kids); When guests book a table for Rotisserie Friday Brunch: Dhs200 (adults), Dhs100 (kids). Rotisserie Friday Brunch: Dhs450 (soft drinks), Dhs560 (sparkling grape), Dhs690 (bubbly). A special rate of Dhs750 per couple is also available.. The Walk, JBR (04 399 4000).
One&Only Royal Mirage Best for alone time The beach club is partially by the pool and the hotel’s property and partially on the sand overlooking sailing and watersports activities. The crowd consists of older couples and families. With no music playing, it’s the ideal place to cram in some reading.
Highs and lows: There’s only one pool, however, it is large, and in the summer months you’ll be grateful for the heavily shaded areas around it. Don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot, only drinks are served by the pool and you’ll have to walk to other restaurants around the property if, for example, you’d like fries with your toasted sandwich from the pool bar, as they won’t deliver from one to the other. Day pass with reservation: Dhs300 (adults), Dhs225 (kids). Day pass without reservation: Dhs400 (adults), Dhs350 (kids). Al Sufouh Road (04 315 2105).
Zero Gravity Good for groups The crowd here is mostly adults in couples or groups of friends. There’s no pool but the beach is clean and is great for sunbathing or taking a swim in the sea. The venue has a relaxed ambiance, and while it’s suitable for families, there isn’t much by way of entertainment for young kids. Staff are never far away if you need to top up your order of food and drinks, but it’s worth upgrading to a cabana and getting a picnic package or the DIY barbecue ‘Grilla’ option where the culinary team provide you with all the ingredients and tools you need to create a beachside barbie.
Highs and lows: We love the free ice lollies, cool cucumber for the eyes and a steady stream of cold towels. On Saturdays, there’s also great live music from Adam Baluch, who provides a hypnotic mellow soundtrack to the end of the weekend. Keep your eyes on the skies for the day’s parachuting crowd. Day pass weekdays: from Dhs150 per person, (Dhs50 redeemable against food and beverage purchases). Day pass weekends: from Dhs250 per person (Dhs100 redeemable against food and beverage purchases). Free for children under four. Dubai Marina, near SkyDive Dubai, www.0-gravity.ae (04 399 0009).