It’s one of Dubai’s smaller, boutique-style offerings… so how does it hold up against the city’s more sprawling hotels? We checked in to check it out.
Nikki Beach Club, which celebrated its first birthday earlier this year, is now a big sister.
The younger sibling that’s arrived to steal some of the limelight? Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, a slick and sleek hotel complex just metres away from the beachfront party destination on Pearl Jumeira.
With club beats and well-dressed cliques taking up residence at the beach club, we weren’t sure what to expect from the accommodation arm of the Miami import.
But, it turns out the resort has plenty to offer those seeking R&R as well as R&B. We had a whistlestop visit to test it out…
The resort is the latest addition to the Nikki Beach complex, which first arrived in Dubai in 2016 with the opening of the beach club on the Arabian Gulf waterfront. Sister resorts also exist in holiday favourites such as Koh Samui and Bodrum, though the Nikki Beach Club was first established in Miami back in 1998.
Amid Dubai’s bulging accommodation scene, Nikki Beach has a restrained, boutique-level offering of 117 rooms and suites (along with 15 deluxe villas if you really feel like splashing out).
While the beach club is all glitz and glamour, the five-star hotel feels more laid-back and island-holiday-inspired from the outset. A mostly white colour palette, beachy wooden details and smiley staff are visible from the lobby onwards, with slatted balconies creating an almost-Balinese feel.
It’s simple and it’s understated, but still evidently luxe, from the cushioned chairs you sink into at check-in to the glass-walled corridor that transports you from the lobby out to the pool, beach and restaurant. Polished concrete floors add to the minimalistic cool-factor, with uber-wide corridors creating a soothing, open-plan ambience.
We bedded down for the night in a 64-square-metre Luux Room, which is, in short, achingly chic, but not sterile or unwelcoming.
And in long? The highlight is easily the memorable floating bed, which dominates the centre of the room and looks out onto the beachfront through full-length windows. It’s beyond enormous, cushioned better than a cumulus cloud, and incredibly hard to get out of on an overcast Saturday morning.
There are seats aplenty, and an intriguingly unique room layout – behind the bed is attached a long, business-traveller-ready desk, while tabletops and drawers are built into the bed itself.
A tiltable TV is embedded into the wall (and can be wired through your smartphone or laptop within minutes, if you’re more tech-savvy than us), while the mini bar is neatly tucked into the wall.
The bathroom features a free-standing bath, double sinks, a glass-partitioned, walk-in shower (with pleasingly powerful water pressure), and toiletries from NYC label MALIN+GOETZ. A wardrobe-cum-dressing-room is tucked behind the wash room, just off from the front door, creating a suitably closed-off layout for those who shy away from the lack of privacy of glass-walled bathrooms.
Decor-wise, expect plenty of cool whites, blues and greys, polished concretes and wooden accoutrements, for an effect that feels a little bit Scandi, a little bit New York loft, and a little bit international space station (a large strip of the entire left wall was decked out in shards of mirror in multiple futuristic hues).
Overall, it feels expensive, but not in a flashy, overdecorated way – and that’s something we’ve come to crave in Dubai’s opulent accommodation scene.
Alas, the aforementioned spa in the Nikki Beach Resort & Spa name was not open during our visit. The 1,650-square-metre relaxation hub is due to launch in April, so we didn’t get a peek inside as construction was still ongoing.
However, the pool and beach area offered enough R&R, even without a massage on the cards. The two-tiered pool blends a bubbling spa with a shallow, kid-friendly paddle section, seeping into an infinity pool. On the lower deck, a lap pool lies under a raised level featuring curved sun loungers that just dip into the clear water. So hey, you can easily splash yourself cool during the summer months.
The two-seater, pool-side loungers are a particular highlight, with a Tetris-style makeup that lets you hide water and phones away in a concealed compartment, or can even be configured to let you sit facing your lounge partner.
On a sleepy Saturday morning, we found it sparsely populated with quiet couples and gal pals, creating an intimate and not-overcrowded feel. The beachfront was equally as relaxed, with sea-facing cabanas spread apart over the sand. Wooden decking created a sand-free way to get around the complex, with the pathway leading you past the villas to the beach club if you want more of a party atmosphere.
Food And Drink
We checked in in time to partake in the St Tropez-inspired brunch at the poolside Café Nikki (Dhs310 with soft drinks, Dhs395 with house drinks).
And, call us biased, but the setting was more stunning than the south of France. Sitting on a sun-drenched patio overlooking an infinity pool, which stretched out towards the Arabian Gulf, five minutes at Café Nikki was enough to forget about a long workweek.
The self-titled “urban bistro” promises to whisk diners away to the Côte d’Azur at their new weekly brunch, held between 12.30pm and 4pm. And the intent is evident from the outset, from the rustic raffia runners and sprigs of lavender on the table to the classic white crockery.
But is the food equally as chic? The set-up certainly is – forget pacing back and forth to the buffet; here you get six dishes served to your table. However, for those worried about the smaller plates, never fear – there are two buffet sections to quell any hunger between courses, one dedicated to seafood (with prawns so gigantic they could be the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the sea), and the other a mixture of salads, fresh breads and hot pots.
The hero dish of the day was easily the boeuf bourguignon, loaded with hearty chunks of meat that split at the gentlest push of the knife. The truffle-infused hunks of crusty baguette made mopping up the thick, moreish gravy a real delight, as we bemoaned the fact we hadn’t been served a vat of the stuff.
The vegetable broth, sea bass and charcuterie were all perfectly passable, but it’s the pudding and pastries that delivered the second most memorable moment. From a fruit gratin that was a little sweet, a little savoury, and plenty tart, to strawberry, cream and chai-infused choux buns, we pushed our waistbands to their breaking points.
Aside from the not-yet-unveiled spa (which we had been forewarned would not yet be open, so we couldn’t be disappointed), the only thing we didn’t get to experience was Nikki Beach’s signature MyBar mini bar service as, alas, ours was empty. However, a phone call down to the front desk could easily remedy this – and indeed, a concierge brought up a selection of loose-leaf tea after we enquired about a cuppa.
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, Pearl Jumeira, Dubai. Tel: (04) 376 6000. nikkibeachhotels.com/dubai. Rates start from Dhs1,760 for a Luxx Room.