Tried and tested: Privilee beach club membership

June 9, 2016

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UK-based readers, you might want to look away, as this is the very definition of a first world/Dubai problem being solved, thanks to new membership card Privilee.

Please suspend your disbelief and pity, but we don’t have a pool at home. I know. Hearts bleeding everywhere. But it is a bit of a pain, especially in the summer months when all you crave is a cool dip to refresh. And with a baby who loves water almost as much as I love a glass of rosé on a sun-lounger, access to a pool or beach club makes a big difference to the weekend.

Enter Privilee.

I remember reading the founder of Dubizzle explaining that the secret to their success was that they solved a problem for Dubai residents, and Privilee has done just that too.

Sign up to a Privilee card and you have unlimited access to pool and beach clubs across Dubai, meaning you don’t need to commit to pricey annual membership at just one hotel – you’re footloose and fancy-free to turn up everywhere from the Waldorf Astoria on the Palm to the Conrad on Sheikh Zayed Road. Simply flash your card, sign in (do note that there are limited Privilee spots at each location, so going early is recommended at weekends) and kick back by the pool, use the sports club or enjoy discount in restaurants.

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Want to know more? Here’s my take on it.

The good

  1. Variety

Kids get bored. I get bored. But the card allows you to switch up where you spend your days in the sun (or nights at the bar). Take your pick from Dubai Polo Club at Arabian Ranches, The Palace, Kempinski on the Palm, Fairmont The Palm, Riva Beach Club, Shangri-La, Doubletree at JBR, Sofitel The Palm, the Sheraton at JBR, Rixos the Palm and more. They have also added some destinations in Abu Dhabi, including the gorgeous Saadiyat Beach Club, the Ritz-Carlton and the St Regis.

  1. Price

The average cost of an annual beach club membership at a five-star hotel in Dubai costs about the same as my rent when I first moved here. Privilee starts from Dhs499 per month, and there’s the option of paying monthly.

  1. The extras

Each of the hotels offers something extra, whether it’s bringing two under 15s for free, half price in the kids’ club, 25% off yoga classes and spa treatments or a whopping 30% off your food bill. Be sure to check out the Privilee venue guide online before visiting to make sure you get all the benefits.



Need to know

The early bird catches the worm, or the sunlounger in this case. We’re early risers thanks to an energetic toddler so we’re always at the hotels around 9am, and have never had an issue with there being availability for Privilee members, but you might have difficulty finding space if it’s a weekend afternoon. You can call ahead to check, but hotel staff can’t reserve a spot on the list for you. Also check the details of the hotel you’re going to, as there might be T&Cs at the weekends eg no valet parking.

The verdict

We signed up a few months ago and have absolutely loved it, both taking Phoebe for a family day, and going as a couple for a quiet afternoon at the no-kids pool (what a fantastic invention they are) at the Waldorf Astoria.

Even in this heat, getting to Riva at 8am for a croissant from Sophie’s on the beach, followed by a quick swim in the sea has been a great way to start the weekend, and once it gets cooler we’re planning full days lounging around, popping the sprog into the kid’s club for a few hours, before having an early family dinner (discounted, of course).

It’s a rare product in Dubai that I feel offers truly good value, and if you’re a sun worshipper, gym junkie, bargain hunter or just have kids to entertain, this could be money well-spent.

You can apply online here.

One response to “Tried and tested: Privilee beach club membership”

  1. Tarana says:

    You’re right, this service was very much needed!

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