Party at the beach in Dubai

Indulge in the pleasures of Dubai's beach bars and clubs Photo: Kristin Hendricks

DUBAI, April 22, 2012 – From hundreds of high rises to lavish hotels that are literally paved in gold to malls that are more like amusement parks to man-made islands shaped like palm trees, it’s impossible to define Dubai.

In a city that was created around the social implications of what luxury should look like, it’s difficult to pinpoint one thing about Dubai that stands out.

Instead of trying to cram everything out in a single weekend, it’s best to focus on one aspect of Dubai because I can guarantee you’ll be itching to go back for more.

Start at Nasimi Beach, which is located at the Atlantis Palm Hotel. The trunk of the palm serves as the main highway, while the branches are where the homes have been built. A friend told us that the smallest house on the island is a humble 3,000 square feet. Upon handing over your car keys to one of the valets at the Palm, all of whom happen to be Indian, you’ll step into the hotel. The all-white-on-white décor makes it look like a more elegant version of what you would envision a swanky Miami joint to look like.

Nasimi faces the Dubai skyline and is steps away from the water. Although the food and service are average, the strong drinks, particularly a shooter called the doudou (Yes, it’s pronounced just as it looks) should keep you happy enough so you don’t rip your waiter’s head off for serving you cold French fries.

Down a few of these vodka and Tabasco concoctions that resembles a really strong Bloody Mary, chase it with the olive they give you, and the doudou will definitely make you feel like doodoo the next day.

Most people can’t afford to enter the Burj Al Arab at Jumeirah Beach, so if you think you’re going to try and just swing by to see what all the hoopla is about, don’t bother. They stop you at the gate upon entering and confirm your tea-time, dinner, or room reservation before allowing you further onto the premises. Hotel rooms here will easily cost well over $1,000 per night, but you’ll have a personal butler and Rolls Royce car service to chauffeur you around. Everything about this hotel screams money.

However, if you want a great view of the hotel without having to hide from security guards, head to the 360-degree bar at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which is right next to the Burj. This disk-shaped bar, which sits on its own island off the coast of both hotels, provides a wonderful view of Dubai when the sun goes down. House music plays on the DJ’s turntables and they also have a daily happy hour menu.

The best atmosphere for Dubai beach bunnies is by far Barasti Beach Club at the Le Meridien hotel on Jumeirah Beach. I was fortunate enough to visit during St. Patrick’s Day, when there was a live band dressed from head to toe in leprechaun gear performing eighties and nineties hits.

While this bar typically plays house music, this laid back beach bar gives you a little piece of almost every type of atmosphere. The indoor bars broadcast large sporting events, the beach area has beds and umbrellas for those who want to lounge, and there’s an area to dance with a live band or DJ performing in the sand. Like most places in Dubai, they also have an outdoor area where you can smoke shisha while munching on a wide variety of options like pizzas, pastas, tapas, and seafood. Regardless of the multiple atmospheres blended into one, the crowd is what really stands out at Barasti. The good humor and friendliness of energetic ex-pats is infectious.

Dubai’s beach bar scene is plentiful and will not disappoint, no matter where the heat waves take you.

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Puja Amin

Puja Amin is a dedicated travel writer, enthusiast and perpetual dreamer. Her free spirit and drive to better the lives of the less fortunate led Puja to a career in international healthcare nonprofit where she has been given the opportunity to travel and explore various parts of the world, especially urban and rural India.

Puja is in the process of writing her first book and physically resides in Dallas, Texas.

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