Dubai: It’s 7:30pm on a Thursday night. As I push open a very heavy door, Maroon 5’s One More Night blares into my ears. Even as I am tempted to try some moves, a group of gorgeous girls shaking their legs on a disco-lit dance floor steals my attention.
Dressed in party wear in frocks and gowns and dancing their hearts out, they look every bit gorgeous! At one end of the room a bunch of boys sip a drink and soon one of them decides to join the girls on the dance floor.
If they didn’t look so young, if it wasn’t so early in the evening and if they weren’t sipping non-alcoholic drinks, I would think I was in another happening night club. But this is Club West, a teenage club at Grand Midwest Hotel serving only mocktails and giving these ‘wannabe adults’ a sense of freedom they may be secretly yearning for.
“It’s my daughter’s 13th birthday and I thought this was the best way to ring in her teens,” gushes Rania Salib as she points to her daughter and friends who were busy setting fire to the dance floor.
“We want to give them the feeling of being an adult,” says Westleigh Flynn, General Manager, Grand Midwest Hotel.
Bringing his expertise of running teenage night clubs in Ireland, Flynn shows his clear understanding of what ticks young adults -- 3D projectors, 10 X Box 360, 10 PlayStation 3, a mixing desk, a 10,000 watt sound system, 60-inch plasma TV, amongst others.
“The teens need to look presentable, but also maintain certain manners. Once they get a stamp at the door, they can book their own tables and order mocktails and non-alcoholic champagnes. Music plays on, but if you want an in-house DJ, it comes with an additional charge. We’ll soon start a FIFA competition where up to 40 people can play against each other in the club itself. We want these youngsters to get an adult feel -– but under strict supervision.”
Over 30 CCTV cameras run throughout the club ensuring that the teens are visible at all times.
Charges at Club West are between Dh50 and Dh100 per head, inclusive of one drink.
As the youngsters run to the bar for their mocktails -– we make a dash to Club Rush at Atlantis The Palm where soft romantic Bollywood music greets us.
“We recognise the importance of treating teenagers as young adults. In fact, an entire part of the Atlantis is transformed into a haven for them to socialise,” says Katy Edkins-Jooste, Manager, Kid’s Club and Resort Operations, Atlantis The Palm.
At Club Rush, it’s a strict no kids, no adults environment, which means it’s a place for teeny boppers to hang-out all by themselves. A latest number from Bollywood movie Student of the Year gets teens holding hands and dancing.
“We keep parents away as we want teenagers to enjoy their freedom and make informed choices. Here they watch movies on the big screen, grab a snack or smoothie from the bar, make use of the latest games and consoles, stay connected in the internet lounge or listen to the latest tunes while dancing the night away,” says Edkins-Jooste.
Charges at Club Rush are Dh25 per head and the teens can choose a time slot in the day between 2pm and 6pm or in the evening from 7pm until midnight. “We also have three-day passes for Dh100, five day passes for Dh200 and 10 day passes for Dh400,” says Edkins-Jooste, adding, “The parents come for a tour, sign in their wards and make the payment. The teens are held responsible for the charges they incur while at Club Rush. The parents are not required to sign any approval for the teens to join in the activities.”
The Club is fully supervised. “There is a certified team to give first aid. Trained counsellors ensure teens are accounted for at all times and they have fun and are safe,” she said.