Nikki Beach Dubai: The Esquire Review
I can sum up Nikki Beach not in a single word, but in a single picture.
The image is that of a lone man, standing alongside the DJ booth; his bright pink shirt agape, holding a cocktail in one and while fist pumping the air with the other. He sways from side to side, incorrectly mouthing the words to the music of Pitbull. It’s lunchtime, on a Friday.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I can’t show you this image as he’s protected under UAE media laws.
Which is a shame, because this man so perfectly represents everything that Nikki Beach wants desperately to be. In fact, he represents everything that the people who visit Nikki Beach want desperately to be: footloose, carefree, drink-in-hand and belting out the wrong lyrics of “Hey Baby Girl” to an imaginary crowd.
If a place could have a spirit animal, pink shirt man would be it.
Nikki Beach Dubai: What’s the vibe?
Nikki Beach was started back in 1998 in Miami. Its aim was to become the ultimate beach club, something that it certainly seems to be doing rather well. It now boasts 14 international club locations, and four of those are hotels.
The Dubai version is typical of the brand. There are private cabanas and beds that sit alongside a huge swimming pool and mammoth DJ booth. The swimming pool is strewn with blow-up flamingos and unicorns, which make handy props for the swathes of beautiful people who sit about in said pool taking selfies.
On a Friday, the party atmosphere gets dialed up to pink shirt man levels. The DJs play accompanied by electric saxophones while dancing girls swoon and pose about a raised catwalk that divides the pool in half.
It’s not quiet and it’s not peaceful, but it is rather fun if you like that type of thing.
Nikki Beach Dubai: How’s the food?
“Wait, there’s food?”
That’s the typical response when the club’s attentive staff hand over the menu, but indeed Nikki Beach Dubai has spent quite a bit of time on its kitchen. There is a standalone restaurant which serves a mixture of cuisines that are nigh inexplicably served together (it goes far beyond fusion).
Blackened salmon tacos sit alongside Marbella shrimp and traditional mezzeh platters. There are things like grilled cauliflower and cheese, Peruvian-style ceviche and, for the adventurous, why not have a plate of chicken satays with a side of spaghetti?
The menu is a bit all over the place, but the regular poolside fair is nice (think salads, wraps, sandwiches) and the sushi was good. Not as impressive as pink shirt’s dancing, mind you, but it certainly goes beyond the a-typical sushi norm by including things such as dehydrated beetroot and wasabi pea cream.
Nikki Beach Dubai: What’s the verdict?
It’s all too easy to typecast Nikki Beach Dubai as simply a “party spot”. It serves good food, the location is stellar, there’s plenty of sun loungers (always a boon for a club of this nature), and the pool is a great place to bob-about in with your rubber ring.
But let’s call a plastic beach spade a plastic beach spade here; Nikki Beach has its international reputation for a reason, and yes, there are many, many people who come here simply to see and be seen. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just ask the man in the pink shirt.
Nikki Beach Dubai: Where is it?
Nikki Beach is located on Dubai's Pearl Jumeirah, a man-made island that juts out into the ocean near Jumeirah Public Beach and Dubai Marine Beach Resort.