Dubai is one of the few places to enjoy a beach holiday within a thriving city
Experience a holiday Dubai style combining high energy city action with the beauty of the Arabian Gulf. The city towers over stretches of Arabian Gulf coastline, and white sandy beaches lie literally on its doorstep. With a vibrant nightlife and shoreside shopping scene, luxury resorts and seaside adventure sports, Dubai offers the best of both the city and the sea. Here are some of the emirate's best urban beach icons.
Relaxing beach clubs
Only in Dubai can you climb the world's tallest building one minute and sip mocktails on the beach the next. Luxury daybeds and blissful beats are in abundance at Dubai's paid-entry beach clubs, where cityscapes and coastal views shuffle for attention. All-white Miami import Nikki Beach on Pearl Jumeira features 14,000 sqm of luxury amenities and is quickly becoming one of Dubai's most exclusive urban beach escapes. Zero Gravity sits on a private beach off Dubai Marina and its glass-fronted infinity pool is the perfect spot to size up the skyline. Meanwhile, the private cabanas at Rixos, The Palm's Eden Beach Club, come equipped with a plunge pool and offer silhouettes of the city.
Beachside dance spots
See the sunset with your feet in the sand and some tunes from some of the world’s biggest DJs. At Barasti's shoreline location in Dubai Marina, DJs spin tunes right on the sand (past gigs have included DJ Jazzy Jeff and Vanilla Ice). The beach club vibe at Zero Gravity picks up during the cooler months, with a roster of “day-to-night” gatherings and festivals including One Big Friday, featuring headliners Paul Van Dyk, Erick Morillo and Sam Feldt. They follow in the footsteps of Atlantis, The Palm’s Nasimi Beach, which has long been hosting outdoor fun and big live music acts, including past performers Rudimental and Kings Of Leon.
Luxurious beachside resorts
Home to a wealth of five-star hotels and coastal resorts, Dubai knows a thing or two about urban beachside luxury. One&Only The Palm's palatial-like space can be found at the end of the West Crescent on Palm Jumeirah, far enough away to feel removed, but with jaw-dropping views of the skyscrapers dominating Dubai Marina. Luxury knows no bounds at Jumeirah's Al Qasr, where water canals weave between beachside villas, or the city’s newest luxury resort Jumeirah Al Naseem, which offers views of the waves and the stunning Burj Al Arab right from your hotel room. Both are just a dhow-ride away from Madinat Jumeirah's restaurants and shops. Meanwhile, DoubleTree by Hilton in Jumeirah Beach Residences’ infinity pool overlooks a peaceful beachside cove and is within walking distance to entertainment and shopping precincts The Beach and JBR Walk.
Shoreside shopping spots
In a city that thrives on retail, it was only a matter of time before Dubai combined two of its biggest loves. Shopping and beach life come together a treat at outdoor entertainment district The Beach at JBR, where retailers including Adventure HQ and Victoria's Secret can be perused just metres from the sand. On the same strip, The Walk at JBR is scattered with restaurants and lesser-known stores good for knick-knacks. In Jumeirah, Sunset Mall behind Sunset Beach and Kite Beach, has become the stomping ground for the city's most stylish shoppers, who browse the racks at hip West LA Boutique between ocean dips.
An adventure beach playground
For active holidaymakers and sports fans, Dubai makes for the ultimate urban paradise. Ever wondered what Palm Jumeirah looks like from space? Jump out of a plane over Skydive Dubai's Palm dropzone to get an aerial view of the city's golden coastline, manmade islands and turquoise seas. There's something for spectators, too, with the game of kings, Beach Polo Cup Dubai, taking place every year around April. Meanwhile, a more leisurely stride can be taken at Kite Beach and Sunset Beach, where watersports such as SUP offer a unique perspective of the city.
Hungry? Grab a bite to eat at these beautiful beachside hotspots.