House beats seem to melt into the warm air of the Gulf, with guests decked out in Gucci and Zuhair Murad swaying to the hypnotic rhythm of the resident DJ. Every so often, their moves might be punctuated by a spontaneous percussion performance, or a team of aerialists, or even, perhaps, the arrival of a champagne “tank” – pushed by waiters and festooned with sparklers that soar into the dusk.
When guests are finished with a hard day’s partying, they may retreat to a suite with views of a whitewashed shoreline, their room lit up in neon blue lights. This is Nikki Beach, a carefully-created experience that transcends the idea of “just a hotel.” Since its inception two decades ago, the hotel chain has quickly become known for its prime beachfront locations, as well as a buzzy scene that has been replicated across locations including Koh Samui, Bodrum and Santorini. In Dubai, a hippie-luxe flavour similarly permeates the property, with teepees in the reception and quirky ceramics dotted around the social spaces.
The property is home to its eponymous beach club, free to access when staying at the hotel. Elsewhere, five restaurants and lounges, a 450-metre private beach studded with palm trees, a well-stocked gym, spa and two oversized pools make for a swanky resort getaway. It’s not all high glamour: on Wednesday, Floridian-themed restaurant Key West turns to Jamaica for inspiration, guests foregoing heels for flip flops to the strains of a Jamaican live band (and platefuls of bbq from the buffet).
Breakfast can be taken at the resort’s main restaurant, Café Nikki, which serves up eggs benedict and pancakes with a sea view. Small touches like a mini Smeg fridge pair with local considerations, such as a shisha area located just off to the side of the restaurant. Foodies should try the less pricey equivalent of a private club cabana (where minimum spend is US$8,000) and go large on the seafood brunch; with salmon smoked at your own table, and a huge wooden crate groaning with langoustines and crab legs.
Savour a Caribbean dinner served beachfront by Chef Olivier Hilton of Key West Bar and Grill, paired with a rum tasting experience. Try a South Beach Punch, with coconut rum, or 90 Miles to Cuba, with both dark and light rums, cinammon and ginger beer.
The Hammam at Nikki Spa, prepared the traditional Moroccan way, is a holistic and nurturing experience that provides instant, visible and long-lasting results. Try the one-hour Moroccan Bath experience, where the body is painted with an olive paste, before exfoliation and body scrub with a traditional kessa, a Rhassoul clay mask application and a hair wash.
For families, privacy-seekers or those wanting more than a mini-break, try the self-contained pool villas. Situated between the hotel and the beach club, villas have exclusive access to private patios and terraces, with balconies for each bedroom.