Monte Carlo Beach Club
Gate E, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi | Daily 8am-sunset for swimming (restaurant closes at 10pm, bar closes at midnight or 2am on weekends) | 02 656 3500
The original Monte Carlo Beach Club in celeb-saturated Monaco was built in 1929 and has been a holiday hangout for the jet set ever since. And now, in true UAE-style we have our very own incarnation – only the second in the world. Sitting on the 27sq km of luxury that is Saadiyat Island – the gorgeous complex is next to a 9km curve of beach and overlooks the most turquoise waters we’ve seen this side of the Maldives, with the azure ocean blending perfectly with the oh-so Riviera blue and white décor. Plus, the sun loungers are so comfortable we had a wee post-swim snooze on our last visit. But do wake up for lunch or dinner at Le Deck – which serves up fresh Mediterranean dishes courtesy of Australian chef de cuisine, Mathew Goodlet (the torched shrimp are unparalleled), or party hard at new hotspot Sea Lounge. Just make sure to keep an eye on the water – when we were there we half expected a Pucci-clad J-Lo to rock up in an Italian speedboat, toyboy in tow!
Cost Dh400 per person or Dh550 per couple on weekdays; Dh600 per person or Dh900 per couple on weekends.
Sheraton Jumeirah Beach
Dubai Marina | Daily 7am-9pm (swimming at the beach until sunset) | 04 399 5533
This conveniently located option along The Walk at JBR has a quiet, understated feel – and is affordable enough to make visits there a regular event. It’s smaller than other options, but sometimes you just crave a more boutique experience in this city of superlatives. There are around 50 loungers, but we like to spend most of the day perched at the swim-up bar.
Cost Dh100 weekdays; Dh180 weekends
Riva Beach Club
Building 8, The Shoreline, Palm Jumeirah | Daily 6am-8pm (restaurant from midday-11pm) | 04 430 9466
Dubai’s newest beach club (well, it was Al Shalal Beach Club, but it’s had a revamp) is also arguably its most glam. Perched upon the Shoreline of the Palm Jumeirah, Riva has its own stretch of private beach boasting 200 loungers, all available on an à la carte basis for day hire (which includes use of the underground parking and the steam rooms). There’s also a gorgeous pool, a gazebo bar and an al fresco restaurant, making for a very Greek Islands vibe. We say get there early, enjoy the sun all day long (load up with factor 15 please Scenesters!) and then unwind with a Balinese massage at the nearby Dreamworks (www.dreamworks.ae).
Cost Dh100 weekdays; Dh150 weekends
Joumana Beach Club
Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa | Daily 8.30am-6pm | 04 814 5061
Had a tough week? Feel like truly getting away from it all? Well tie a scarf around your hair, borrow someone’s convertible and feel the wind in your face as you head to Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. It’s 20 minutes out of the city, but feels a world away, and you’ll find three pools, as well as nearly a kilometre of pristine private beach, lush gardens and a range of bars. Post-splash give your brain and biceps a workout with a game of giant chess, or enjoy a free camel ride à la Kim K. This is as close to that ‘holiday feeling’ as you’ll get in Dubai. Jamaica, eat your heart out.
Cost Dh180 weekdays; Dh220 weekends (or Dh325 with a
Dubai Ladies Club
Jumeirah 2 | Daily 8am-7.45pm (swimming in the sea only until sunset) | 04 349 9922
Fancy a testosterone-free day with the girls? Then look no further than Dubai Ladies Club. If you don’t like to get all sandy – we do hate how a day at the beach means a sweeping session once we get home – but still like to hear the waves lapping against the shore while you tan, then the two pools boast glorious Gulf views. There’s the beach as well, along with free towels, comfy sun loungers and umbrellas if you’re going for the Nicole Kidman look. They also offer dive courses, which costs Dh175 for
a try dive for non-members.
Cost Dh175 weekdays; Dh200 weekends
Al Sufouh Road | Daily 9am-8pm | 04 399 3333
Sometimes a girl just likes to have plenty of options in life – a handbag for every day of the month, shoes for every weekend of the year or five pools to choose from in one day. That’s right, Club Mina, which is part of The Westin and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, boasts five swimming pools – all of which are temperature controlled and have pool bars and waiter service. Life’s tough in this city sometimes. And once you’re all pool-hopped out you can flop out on one of the 1,300 sun loungers, opt for the 500-metre stretch of private beach or hit one of the four tennis courts. Finish off with a session in the sauna and steam and get yourself somewhat presentable for a super-thin crust pizza and a cold drink at the beachfront Bussola terrace – it really is the best slice
Cost Dh175 weekdays; Dh250 weekends
Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa
Jumeirah 1, Daily 7am - 8pm 04 346 1111
This is the only beach club in ‘downtown’ Dubai and has a laid-back party vibe (definitely come clad in only your finest togs – ready to strut, chat and artfully lounge). The private beach has fine white sand and there are two big pools if saltwater’s not your thing. Plus, the beach bar – nay, shack – is legendary. Order a cocktail accessorised with an umbrella and be transported back to the beach holidays of your younger years. Last time we visited we left well after sundown, stopping by Loca for the lip-smacking ribs.
Cost Dh75 weekdays; Dh125 weekends
Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah | Daily 9am-sunset for swimming, restaurant from noon-11.30pm, lounge from 9am-1am (2am on Fridays) | 04 426 2626
Most of us are familiar with this little beach beauty after dark, but did you know it’s also home to a delicious al fresco lunch spot? And, that’s not all, if you eat there you get to use the beach for the day. The current offer is that if you spend Dh150 at the Nasimi restaurant you get full-day use of the facilities (except the pool, but chlorine is sooo 2011) – so lay back on a lounger or cosy up in a cabana. Then, after dark Nasimi transforms into a major party zone, so make sure you pack a beach-to-bar kaftan!
Cost Free with a Dh150 spend per person on food or drink