Dubai Ladies Club
This ladies-only club is best-suited, obviously, to those women who want some privacy and a quality environment. A brand-new renovated beach opened in August to expand the area and introduce new sand. There are swimming pools and a good spa, too, if you want to make a day of it with pampering.
Sun-Thu: Dhs175 (adults), Dhs65 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs200 (adults), Dhs75 (kids). Jumeirah Beach Road, www.dubailadiesclub.com (04 349 9922).
Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa
The tiny beach has plenty of charm in its 60 metres of sands. The cove feels almost like a secret Mediterranean discovery; it's a fine alternative to some of the gigantic offerings around the city. There are swimming pools and a compact kids’ corner, but a visit here is all about just chilling.
Sun-Thu: Dhs100 (adults), Dhs40 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs150 (adults), Dhs60 (kids). Jumeirah Beach Road (04 346 1111).
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Separate to the more adult-orientated Cove Beach club in the same hotel, this family-friendly club is large enough to have two distinct areas – relaxation and pampering, and watersports – and for kids, it has the high standards you'd expect from a Jumeirah property. As an all-round beach club it's hard to beat, owing to the wide variety of attractions and watersports facilities in a single venue directly opposite the Burj Al Arab.
Sun-Thu: Dhs350 (adults), Dhs250 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs450 (adult), Dhs350 (kids). Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8872).
DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach
The second of two Hilton hotels in JBR is something of an undiscovered gem. Smaller and cheaper than its sibling, the DoubleTree beach club has watersports provided by Watercooled – kayaks, paddleboard yoga, doughnut and banana rides are available – while the few well-spaced-out sun loungers and cabanas are comfortable enough to spend the day on. Access to an attractive and elevated infinity pool may tip this lesser-known spot in the favour of many sandseekers.
Sun-Thu: Dhs125 (adults), Dhs75 (kids), Fri-Sat Dhs175 (adults), Dhs100 (kids). The Walk at JBR (04 453 3333).
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort
Just 50 sun loungers and cabanas around the pool and private beach make this one of the more compact beach clubs in Dubai, but that is no reflection on the facilities offered. In fact, the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort has been offering watersports and beach activities since long before most of Dubai was even built, never mind going to the beach. Expect the usual array of windsurfing, wakeboarding, donut rides, jet skis and paragliding. The nearby Wavebreaker bar is a flip and a flop away and recommended for lunch and a sundowner.
Sun-Wed: Dhs180 (adults), Dhs95 (kids), Thu-Sat: Dhs250(adults), Dhs95 (kids). Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk at JBR, Dubai Marina (04 399 1111).
Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort
At 250 metres long, Le Royal Méridien’s beach is big but by no means the longest in the city. It's the depth that makes the beach seem so large. From the loungers to the water, there is heaps of space, ideal for beach games and lying out on the sand. We’d prefer to have the loungers set further apart considering the room available, but the gripe is a minor one in the face of the sheer number of facilities provided. Motorised and non-motorised watersports of course feature, but there is also a large attractive garden, beach volleyball, kids' and teens' clubs and a swim-up bar for adults.
Sun-Thu: Dhs200 (adults), Dhs100 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs250, Dhs125 (kids). Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa (04 399 5555).
Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
Chances are if you have ever stopped to watch watersports in the JBR area it started off here. The Habtoor beach club is home to Nautica, an independent company providing first-rate banana boat rides, kayaking, windsurfing and more. Don’t fancy that? Then hundreds of sun loungers await and swimming pools (with basic waterslides) will appeal to children. Loungers are tightly packed meaning you’ll be very close to neighbours.
Sun-Thu Dhs150 (adults), Dhs100 (kids) Fri-Sat Dhs250 (adults), Dhs125 (kids). Dubai Marina, grandjumeirah.habtoorhotels.com (04 399 5000).
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
With free beaches just minutes away, the steep price you’ll pay here is justified only by the wonderful Ritz-Carlton service. So as you sit in the luxurious loungers and cabanas expect a regular supply of ice lollies, fruit slices and drinks to come your way. The beach is large enough to have areas dedicated to families and an opposite end of the beach more attuned to couples and groups. As well as the beach, which is elevated above the public area alongside, access is granted to the excellent hotel swim-up bars and pretty gardens. For an extra Dhs200 on a Friday, stuff your face silly at the Rotisserie Brunch.
Daily Dhs500 (adults), Dhs750 (couples), Dhs300 (kids). Ritz-Carlton Dubai, The Walk, JBR, www.ritzcarlton.com (04 399 4000).
Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
An ideal beach club for watersports enthusiasts, the club offers paddleboarding, kayaking, pedalo rental and many more activities at an extra charge. There’s even a Thai longtail boat to take you to and from the resort’s East Crescent location. All very impressive but, truth be told, we’re happy to come and just chill. One of the quieter resorts (in a good way) the Asian architecture and over-water villas are something of a rarity in Dubai and sitting out on the comfy loungers and sauntering away for a dip in one of the large lagoon pools is just fine by us.
Daily Dhs250 (adults), Dhs100 (kids). Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort, Palm Jumeirah, www.dubai-palm.anantara.com (04 567 8888).
Fairmont The Palm
It boasts 640 sun loungers, 450 metres of private beach, 30 lifeguards and 18 cabanas. The numbers stack up impressively in this Palm beach club’s favour. Access also means use of the pools and beach soccer and volleyball. Excellent for families, the Fairmont has well thought-out extras such as a kids’ club and yoga lessons on the sand. Views from the Palm back to the shoreline can be enjoyed by relaxing parents, safe in the knowledge children are being well entertained.
Sun-Thu: Dhs200 (adults), Dhs150 (kids), Fri-Sat: Dhs250 (adults), Dhs150 (kids). Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3388).
Jumeirah Zabee lSaray
The opulence and romance of this Palm Jumeirah property is well-known and it should come as no surprise that the luxury extends to the sand. Our tip is to take a lounger on the beach, they’re more spaced out than the pool area and look out towards the still and waveless Palm waters. Don’t leave, however, without dipping in the stunning 59-metre infinity pool. Don’t trivialise the vibe with watersports or club beats – just be still and be happy.
Daily. Dhs250 (adults) Dhs150 (kids). Jumeirah ZabeelSaray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0000).
One&Only The Palm
We consider the beach club at the Palm Jumeirah’s Western Crescent’s outermost tip to be one of the most romantic locations in Dubai. We’ve seen enough Dubai hotels not to be easily wowed but slip into the enormous 850 square metre pool surrounded by palm trees and it is hard not to be ever so slightly blown away. Choosing between this and the still waters is going to be your hardest decision if you allow yourself the luxury of visiting here. For total seclusion and to pretend you are on a honeymoon, this is the beach club of choice. Especially if you arrive by water taxi from the facing One&Only Royal Mirage.
Sun-Thu: Dhs350 (adults), Dhs250 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs500 (adults); Dhs350 (kids). One&OnlyThe Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 440 1010).
Rixos The Palm Dubai
There is a very convincing reason why you should make the trek out to the furthest end of the Eastern Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. The distant location means, according to the hotel, this is the only Palm Dubai club permitted to offer motorised watersports on the beach perimeter. So come here for jet ski, banana boat, wakeboarding and Seabreacher rides. Look out for yoga and aerobic sessions as well, but don’t feel obliged to be active. Rixos has some of the best cabanas in town so if you just want to chill out this is a good spot for doing so, Sun-Thu Dhs175; Fri-Sat Dhs250; Kids half price.
Palm Jumeirah (04 457 5555).
Riva Beach Club
There is something homely and welcoming about this Palm Shoreline beach club. Without the enormity of some more established spots and the pounding tunes of the more party-orientated clubs, Riva offers good facilities at actually reasonable prices. If you want the exclusivity, facilities and service of a private beach club without breaking the bank this is a sensible option.
Sun-Thu Dhs100 (adults); Dhs50 (kids); Fri-Sat Dhs175 (adults); Dhs85 (kids); Dhs50 extra for gym access. Shoreline Apartments Building 8, Palm Jumeirah (04 430 9466).
Waldorf Astoria The Palm
Fans of the legendary New York hotel should forget what they know about the Waldorf name. Yes, it has the amazing service but the vibe here is all about sedentary sun tanning rather than inner city hustle and bustle. We love that the sun loungers are so spaced out and give a genuine sense of privacy lacking in more compact beach clubs. With 200m of sands there is space enough, and we get a vague sense of a Bahamas resort here. We're also and are confident parents will appreciate the on-site kids club and basic watersports provisions as well as the chance to just relax in the properly stylish setting.
Daily Dhs300 (adults). Dhs100 (children). Waldorf Astoria The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 818 2222).
The Royal Island Beach Club
On wow factor alone this offshore beach club is hard to beat. The only way to arrive is on board one of the hourly boats which take refuge-seekers out to The World Island archipelago. Lebanon Island, to be precise. The setting affords views of most major Dubai landmarks and kayaking is a further way to improve the stunning setting. The Beach Club itself is rather routine, but with chic styling and a chill-out soundtrack, you can sit under the palm trees and get your Robinson Crusoe on.
Daily Dhs200 (adult), Dhs100 (kids). Price includes boat transfer from Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 1. Royal Island Beach Club, Lebanon – The World Islands (050 617 6507).
JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort
You don’t have to drive far out of Dubai to feel totally secluded. Great for watersports, this resort has all the usual boards and boats for hire, as well as the Wibit waterpark assault course. The facilities are excellent and the occasional Premier League football team has been known to descend for winter "training" on the shores. One of the better swimming spots in Dubai, you can even enjoy snorkelling, where if you're lucky, you'll spot small rays.
Sun-Thu: Dhs180 (adults), Dhs90 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs250 (adults), Dhs100 (kids), Jebel Ali. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort (04 814 5555).