Dubai, the land of sun, sea and prosperity; the place where people come to become who ever they want to be. It doesn’t matter where you came from or who you were, here you can reinvent yourself the moment you step off the plane. There’s nothing wrong with that, this city hands you all the tools on a silver platter, from high end shops to world renowned restaurants and clubs – becoming the big I Am here is not a hard task, but does that mean that those of us who don’t want to become “so Dubai” should have to suffer?
As a general rule I avoid beach clubs in the city because I just don’t fit in there, I am not a size 10, I do not believe in wearing make up to the pool and I have no issue getting my hair wet. For me spending the day by the pool or at the beach should be relaxing and fun, I shouldn’t be worrying about posing for the perfect Instagram shot or who’s at the table next to me but that’s how I feel whenever I do go. Which brings me to my Nikki Beach Dubai experience.
For a friends birthday we decided that a ladies afternoon of free flowing drinks, nibbles and some much needed vitimin D was the perfect thing for a Tuesday, and all for AED 125. Why not. We arrived at around 12pm, got our beds and a glass of prosecco, lathered up in suncream and started to enjoy our afternoon.
It didn’t take long before we started noticing the flaws, a 20 minute wait for water and drinks in a venue where staff outnumbered guests, an incredibly strict bag check on the door and a pretty dire lack of staff on the floor actually looking after the guests, there were plenty of people working but most of them stood by the bar having a natter.
After a little while we decided a dip in the pool was in order and made our way waterside; not two seconds from getting ankle deep the lifeguard starts yelling something at us and turn and see him wildly gesturing at my friend and yelling something inaudible above the thumping house music.
As it turns out the issue was her shorts. Dressed in a swimming suit and board shorts my friend made her way over to him to find out what the problem was where she was rudely informed the shorts were not allowed in the pool…why? Because. Despite them being swimming shorts she was not allowed to wear them and would have to remove them before entering the water.
Now I understand that clothing is not allowed in the pool for various safety and hygiene reasons but these were no different to what the men dotted around the venue were wearing and I didn’t see them being told to take those off. When asked why she couldn’t wear them the staff could give us no other reason than just because they were not allowed; so because she is female she has to wear a bikini or one piece only – despite not being comfortable dressing as such.
After a more than a few angry words were exchanged, mostly from the lifeguard and security staff, the manager intervened and it was all okayed because they were in actual fact swim shorts, but in this country should a woman wanting to cover up a little really be made into such an issue? When did modesty become a bad thing? Why should someone be penalized for not wanting to have her bum on show?
After our dip we ordered our food, a platter of fruit and nibbles of which everything was delicious and light, perfect for a day by the pool. But again we had an uncomfortably long wait for our next round of drinks and by this point we seemed to have our own personal body guard.
From then on it felt like big brother was always watching with the security standing around just waiting for some one to step out of line. In the next few hours we had another issue with a friend wanting to cover up a little in the pool wearing a swim skirt – a small piece of costume material designed for this exact purpose – which it was a firm no on, we then had a run in with a fairly heavy handed security guard regarding the use of a Polaroid camera – go figure, you’re not allowed cameras inside the venue. During the security check our cameras were checked and played, no one told us we could not use them inside but after three clicks anyone would have thought we had robbed a bank. Never mind the barrage of selfies people were taking my on their phone or securities lack of intervention when a man was taking pictures of all the girls sunbathing in the pool despite not knowing them or asking their permission.
From the no camera rule to the zero tolerance for anyone who doesn’t want to bare all I have to say the staff at Nikki Beach Dubai did a pretty great job of ruining our entire day and left us feeling more than a little deflated. I cannot support any venue that makes a spectacle out of a woman for wearing too many clothes and making her feel out of place because she doesn’t want to bare all. I am sorry if that does not fit in with your ideal customer.
It is safe to say this particular beach club will not be receiving my patronage again.