Dubai’s best pool days to cool off at during the heat
We kick off our flip-flops to find the best deals in town
The best part of living in Dubai is the weather, and what better way to appreciate it fully than with a visit to one of the city’s most sociable pool spots? From the lively to the laid-back, and the cheap and cheery to the full-on luxurious, we’ve rounded them up and are charging to the waters full throttle. The temperature is perfect, the towels are soft and the water is calling our names. Now give us your best belly flop!
INFINITY POOL Anchor Pool Bar If your Instagram doesn’t feature the obligatory infinity pool snap, have you even been in Dubai? Anchor Pool Bar overlooks the beach for lovely views of the Arabian Gulf. It looks picture-perfect, and even more so when you add a burger to the frame (of which the menu offers a decent selection). Dhs150 (Sun-Thu), Dhs200 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 9am-6.30pm. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, Jebel Ali (04 814 5555).
BUY-ONE-GET-ONE-FREE DRINKS Azure Beach One of the newer pool days to pop up along the coast of JBR is at the Azure Beach club at Rixos Premium Dubai. The hotel’s infinity pool stretches out to overlook the sands of the Arabian Gulf and there are plenty of comfy sun loungers and a stylish pool bar selling a range of sushi, salads and more. There’s also a buy-one-get-one-free offer on drinks between 6pm and 8pm daily. The bar gets quite lively as the night goes on, so pack your glad rags and join the party crowd as day turns into night. Dhs300 (Sun-Thu, Dhs200 redeemable on food and drink). Dhs400 (Fri-Sat, Dhs200 redeemable on food and drink), free (kids aged 11 and under). Open daily 10am-7pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 520 0000).
DESERT TRANQUILITY Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa Head out to the desert and enjoy pool access in tranquil isolation. The pools are an impressive piece of design, a maze of separate swimming areas that include an infinity pool, a more intimate space and a central pool where water cascades down a square, overhead framework in the middle. The icing on the cake is the swim-up bar, offering genuinely stunning, panoramic desert views. This one is perfect for winding down away from the hustle and bustle. Dhs295 (Sun-Thu), Dhs395 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 9am-8pm. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Al Qudra Road (04 809 6194).
FREE ENTRY Barasti The winner of Time Out Dubai’s Best Beach Bar 2018 is an absolute Dubai institution and one we find ourselves going back to again and again. The beach bar is completely laid-back and the new pool that opened late last year is a big hit with patrons here. The clientele is made up of a mix of couples and groups of different ages, with everyone out to have a good time at the lively hangout. As day turns to night, you’re likely to find a live band or music festival on the sands. There’s also drinks deals during the day, and with free pool and beach access, it’s a guaranteed hit, time after time. Free. Open daily 11am-1.30am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 3181313).
SPLASHING OUT Burj Al Arab Terrace Pools The two impressive pools on Burj Al Arab Terrace are ideal for relaxing, cooling down and soaking up the sun within swanky surroundings. The 612-square-metre pool has a shaded swim-up bar, while the saltwater infinity pool stretches to 828 square metres. Throw in four Jacuzzis, 126 beach sunbeds, 24 plush day beds and a jam-packed food menu and we’d say we’re onto a winner. Dhs1,800 (cabana for two including soft drinks), Dhs4,000 (cabana for four including soft drinks). Open daily 8am-6pm. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 301 7777).
MIAMI VIBES Coco on 8 How do you fancy a party in the city where the heat is on, all day by the pool until the break of dawn? With palm trees adorned with sparkling fairy lights, private cabanas perfect for lounging in lining the long pool and colourful flowers hanging all around, it’s not hard to imagine you’re lazing at a Floridian pool bar rather than being (possibly) yards from your office. A daily happy hour runs from 5pm to 8pm, where you can take advantage of house mixed drinks for Dhs30 and selected bites for Dhs35. It’s not Miami, but it will do. Dhs80 (full amount redeemable on food and drinks), free (kids under 14 years old). Open daily 7am-7pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
FOR THE THRIFTY Cove Beach This one is an absolute bargain of a pool day, though it looks anything but thrifty. You can get access to the swanky pool for just Dhs100, which will also cover a towel for the day and one drink from the bar. And there’s a ladies’ day here on Wednesdays between noon and 5pm when women get unlimited pink grape and selected mixed drinks, plus a platter of food for just Dhs100. Cabanas are also complimentary, but limited to availability, so grab your girl gang and get down here early for the VIP treatment. There’s also a swim-up bar and tasty French food. It’s a hard life… Dhs100. Open daily 11am-6pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road (050 454 6920).
DOWNTOWN VIEWS DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay The pool at this new, trendy hotel is bordered with sun loungers and umbrellas for you to kick back, relax and while away a glorious day in the sunshine. The adjoining pool bar Bay Club has an after-work happy hour between 5pm and 7pm, when selected drinks and snacks are priced at just Dhs30. It doesn’t get much better than this. Dhs105 (Sun-Thu), Dhs170 (Sun-Thu, couples), Dhs55 (Sun-Thu, kids aged 11 and under), Dhs160 (Fri-Sat), Dhs255 (Fri-Sat, couples), Dhs80 (Fri-Sat, kids aged 11 and under). Open daily 7am-9pm. Business Bay (04 551 1544).
BEST FOR PARTY Drai’s If we needed any more reason to love Drai’s then now we’ve got it. Because as well as being a top nightlife destination, the Meydan hotspot is also home to one of Dubai’s hottest new pool locations – and it’s even got a Saturday brunch every week from 12pm until 5pm in the form of an indulgent pool party. Doors stay open until 7pm so you’ve got plenty of time to dry off and enjoy the tunes being spun out from live DJS. Dhs240 (ladies), Dhs330 (men). Sat 12pm-5pm (brunch), club open until 7pm. Soho Garden. Meydan (052 388 8857).
FREE FRUIT DRIFT Beach Dubai DRIFT is a super-chic beachside destination with laid-back lounge vibes. You can pick from three different pool days here, depending on how fancy you’re feeling. A sun lounger costs Dhs300 on weekends and includes a cold towel, a fruit bowl and a bottle of water. The Island beds include all of the above, plus a bottle of bubbly for Dhs1,500 for two people. And if you’re pushing the lilo out, you can get a luxury cabana with cushions and shades, plus bubbly or grape and all of the above from Dhs1,000 per couple. Sounds ideal after a stressful week. From Dhs250 (Sun-Thu), Dhs300 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 10.30am-8pm. One&Only Royal Mirage, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 315 2200).
IBIZA VIBES El Chiringuito This is the second branch of El Chiringuito, the first of which is in Ibiza, and this outlet brings some of the White Isle’s spirit to Dubai. International DJs play regularly on weekends if you want to party after your pool day. Or you can simply chill out on the sofas or loungers by the pool, which overlook the beach and the rest of the Palm. It’s complete bliss. Dhs100 (Sun, Wed-Thu), Dhs250 (Fri-Sat). Open Wed-Sun 10am-midnight. Closed. Mon-Tue. Rixos The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (04 277 9180).
TOP BARGAIN La Ville Hotel & Suites This City Walk hotel always seems to have a pool deal available for guests, and as the weather starts to heat up, you can head over to the trendy property to chill out all day long for just Dhs100 during the week and Dhs150 at the weekend. Kids can go for half the price, and all visitors are treated to infused water – nice and relaxing. Dhs100 (Sun-Thu), Dhs150 (Fri-Sat). 7am-6pm. Ongoing. City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 403 3111).
GOOD VARIETY Madinat Jumeirah Gorgeous views of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, plenty of food venues to choose from and pools across three hotels – a pool day at Madinat Jumeirah really has it all. The cost of a day pass here allows you to use the pools at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Jumeirah Al Qasr and Jumeirah Al Naseem, for a day of total luxury (and ferrying around on a golf buggy). The gardens at Jumeirah Al Naseem really are something to write home about/post on Instagram to make all your mates in the cold weep with envy. Make sure you’ve got full battery on your phone, you’re going to need it. Dhs495 (including Dhs250 food and beverage voucher), Dhs295 (kids aged five to 12, including Dhs150 food and beverage voucher), free (kids aged four and under). Opening times vary. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6235).
LUXURIOUS RETREAT Nikki Beach This beach club is tucked away at the far side of the Pearl Jumeira, with uninterrupted views over the Arabian Gulf. The Dubai outpost of one of the world’s most popular (and slick) beach clubs features a pool, a swim-up bar, an open beach, cabanas aplenty and a four-level VIP terrace, if you’re really pushing the boat out. The swish interiors are awash with white and the beach is lined with palm trees. You can also get stuck into some Mediterranean salads and seafood if you plan to make a full day of it. Visit Friday to Tuesday to take advantage of the daily happy hour between 9pm and 11pm at Key West, where you can enjoy 50 percent off selected drinks after a day at the pool. Dhs150 (Sun-Thu), Dhs300 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 11am-9pm. Pearl Jumeira, Jumeirah 1 (04 376 6162).
REGAL RELAXATION Palace Downtown Take a jaunt over to the Palace Downtown for complete Middle Eastern luxury right in the thick of Downtown Dubai. The majestic resort is nestled among palm trees and overlooks a still lake for a pool day fit for royalty. We think we’ll make the cut… Dhs263 (adults), Dhs79 (kids aged 12 and under). Open daily 6am-8pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 428 7805).
HALF-PRICE DRINKS Raffles Dubai Soak up panoramic views of the city skyline while cooling off in the cool waters of the pool at Raffles. The bar has any number of fresh juices and light snacks to sustain you through a day of lounging in the sunshine. The most exertive thing you’ll have to do is wade over to the swim-up bar, after that you can take up your (submerged) position and let the refreshments come to you. There’s a daily happy hour between 3pm and 6pm with half-price selected drinks. Don’t mind if we do. Dhs225 (Dhs100 redeemable on food and drinks), free (kids under six). Open daily 9am-8pm. Oud Metha (04 324 8888).
BEST ALL-ROUNDER RIVA Ristorante, Bar & Beach Whether you’re looking to slurp up some poolside drinks, enjoy a beach day with the kids, or get your game-face on for a bout of beach volleyball, RIVA makes for an excellent all-rounder. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features dishes such as crab and avocado salad, grilled sea bass and charred lamb chops, and you can digest in glorious beached whale style on one of the many loungers while the clan take a dip in the kids’ pool. Sun-Thu: Dhs105 (adults), Dhs50 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs200 (adults), Dhs80 (kids). Open daily 7am-7pm. Shoreline Apartments Building 8, Palm Jumeirah (04 430 9466).
TOTAL RELAXATION Rixos The Palm Dubai We’re big fans of the pool day at Rixos The Palm and we really feel like we’re living the dream with the beach and pool package here. The pool itself is massive and surrounded by gorgeous gardens, quaint little water features and woven hammocks if you fancy a venture down to the beach. As part of your day pass you can make the most of Highlights, the laid-back swim-up bar, or treat yourself to a massage at the hotel spa (at an extra cost). Sun-Thu: From Dhs179 (adults), Dhs89.50 (kids aged five to 13), free (kids under five); Fri-Sat: Dhs249 (adults), Dhs124.50 (kids aged five to 13), free (kids under five). Open daily 9am-6.45pm. Palm Jumeirah (04 457 5555).
GOODFOR FAMILIES Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa Kids can enjoy the slides and playground at the Amura Kids’ Club, while adults lay back by one of the pools, or indulge in the 2,500-metre spa (at an extra cost). The extensive range of food and beverage outlets mean that even the fussiest eater will be chomping at the bit, and the fun activities make this a hard one to beat for families. Dhs265 (Sun-Thu, walk-in), Dhs257 (Sun-Thu, with Dhs150 redeemable on food and drink when booked 24 hours in advance online), Dhs315 (Fri-Sat, walk-in), Dhs375 (Fri-Sat with Dhs200 redeemable on food and drink when booked 24 hours in advance online), Dhs100 (Sun-Thu, kids aged four to 12), Dhs150 (Fri-Sat, kids aged four to 12). Open daily 7am-8pm. Palm Jumeirah (04 455 6677).
BIG MUSIC ACTS Soho Beach As well as being a top party spot, Soho Beach is now offering pool days with private cabanas, Jacuzzis, a Mediterranean menu and beach-inspired mixed drinks. Lounge through the day and see the venue come to life at night with festival events and a massive line-up of global superstars. Free (pool use), Dhs150 (lounger, Dhs100 redeemable on food and drinks). Open Fri-Sat noon-7pm. Meydan Racecourse Grandstand, Nad Al Sheba (052 433 3375).
COOL INFLATABLES Summersalt Whether you want pool, beach and loungers, or just sunshine and inventive mixed drinks, Summersalt has it all. A Mediterranean menu and laid-back music from the live DJ create a relaxing vibe, while a load of inflatables bring the fun factor. Entry is a bit on the pricy side at Dhs595, but you do get Dhs250 of that back in food and drink. Dhs595 (Dhs295 redeemable on food and drinks). Open daily 9am-6pm. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 7680).
BEST FOR BRUNCH The Burj Club The world’s tallest building has a fitness and wellbeing centre to match your sky-high health goals – including a smashing pool on the rooftop, with stunning panoramic views. The Burj Club, next to the Burj Khalifa, is open to the public both for memberships and day passes. Described as a “wellness retreat”, the huge five-storey space features a state-of-the-art fitness centre, spa, rooftop pool, lounge and indoor pool for swimming laps. The deal that pricks our ears up, though, is the barbecue dinner buffet every Friday from 6pm to 10pm, which costs Dhs195 with soft drinks and Dhs295 with mixed drinks and includes pool access. Dhs150 (Sun-Thu), Dhs295 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 7am-9pm (outdoor pool), 6am-10pm (indoor pool). Downtown Dubai (04 888 3900).
TOP VIEWS The Gevora Hotel The hotel is now offering pool access to the public and as part of the entry fee, you’ll get complimentary access to the viewing deck on the 75th floor. The deck itself has panoramic views of the Dubai skyline and the majestic pool is 25 metres long with a four-metre kids’ section. Measuring 356 metres, The Gevora consists of 75 floors, 528 guestrooms and, of course, the gorgeous pool. We can’t wait to paddle in it with our heads in the clouds. Dhs150 (Sun-Thu), Dhs200 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 7am-7pm. Sheikh Zayed Road (04 524 0000).
LUCH LANDSCAPE The Ritz-Carlton Dubai This pristine beach club is set between gorgeous bursts of lush greenery and a beautiful stretch of golden sand. Laze on a double bed lounger in between cooling dips into the temperature-regulated pool, or glide through the still waters to fetch refreshments from the swim-up bar. When the sun goes down the party vibe fires up, and a DJ takes to the wheels to get the beats pumping. Sun-Thu: Dhs350 (adults), Dhs200 (kids aged four-12 years old); Fri-Sat: Dhs500 (adults), Dhs300 (kids aged four-12 years old). Open daily 8am-6pm. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR (04 399 4000).
POOL PARTIES Wet Deck This W Dubai Al Habtoor City venue is simple, sleek and quite striking. The combination of soft, glowing light from the heaters, winding blue pool and illuminated sci-fi looking cubes make for a pretty atmospheric setting. While there are regular events held here that cater to Dubai’s all-day-pool-party-loving crowd, on any other night, we could happily while away a few hours over quiet sundowners – we’re willing to give both a good crack of the whip. Dhs150 (Sun-Thu), Dhs250 (Fri-Sat), Dhs100 (kids aged 11 and under). Open daily 9am-11pm. W Dubai Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 435 5577).
INSTAGRAM-WORTHY Zero Gravity Crowned Beach Club of the Year at this year’s Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards for a second year running, Zero Gravity really is the very best. The beach-club-meets-lounge-bar vibe is a popular one, and for good reason. The long, winding path down to the venue gives it a slightly exclusive, destination feel that adds to its charm, and when you get there, the clean mix of white and chrome makes it look shiny and new. There are day beds, loungers, changing facilities and bars, not to mention a cutting-edge sound system and that 39-metre glass infinity pool. Stunning. Sun-Thu: Dhs160 (Dhs50 redeemable on food and drinks, adults), Dhs270 (Dhs75 redeemable on food and drinks, couples), Dhs110 (Dhs25 redeemable on food and drinks, kids); Fri brunch: Dhs295 (ladies), Dhs315 (gents); Sat brunch: Dhs249 (ladies), Dhs299 (gents). Both brunches noon-5pm. Open Sun-Mon and Wed 10am-9pm; Tue 9am-1am; Thu 10am-2am; Fri 8am-3am; Sat 8am-1am. Next to Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).