We visit the FACT Spa & Wellness Awards UAE winner, and spend the day at the pool and restaurant.
I’m not going to lie. I had Insta-envy. I saw people at SĀN Beach and wanted to be on one of them – the all-white décor, flowing white cabana sheets and sparkling Arabian Sea views made it look like paradise. So, when I finally got the chance to visit, I packed my swimsuit and dived into the whole experience.
With so many beach clubs in the UAE looking like Mykonos meets Dubai, SĀN Beach is a breath of fresh African air. Drawing its inspiration from South Africa, the venue stands out from the cookie cutter beach clubs. The name SĀN refers to the country’s indigenous people, and aims to bring their spirit, especially how they live in harmony with nature, to the heart of the venue.
Located in The Club on Palm West Beach, SĀN Beach is a masterclass in minimalist chic. The whole venue feels luxurious without being garish. The airy space is filled with cream walls, light wooden tables, and white sunbeds and sofas, which are offset by indoor plants, palm trees and a bronze sculpture.
We were greeted by staff wearing bright yellow outfits – the women were in full-length sun dresses, and the men were in what looks like a cross between an agbada and robe. The moment we stepped onto the beach, even the sand felt exclusive – it’s soft, white and doesn’t stick to your wet feet. The waitress smiled: “It comes from the Seychelles”.
Guests can easily spend the whole day at the venue – and we did. We started off with a coffee meeting at an outdoor table, reading on the sun lounger, lunch in the restaurant and drinks by the submerged marble pool bar.
While most beach clubs have a first come, first served policy, you get what you pay for at SĀN Beach. So, the closer you want to be to the pool, the more dirhams you have to pay. The pool view beds cost AED 250 on weekdays and AED 300 on weekends, and other rows cost AED 200 on weekdays and AED 250 on weekends. Note: not all of the sunbeds are created equal.
While it may seem great to be in the front row, the sun beds are positioned more closely together. The third row, which we found ourselves in, had more room, but the angle of the back rests remained upright. Plus, we were so near to the neighbouring beach club, it sounded more like Battle of the Bands than a spa soundtrack, as the two venues sound systems competed.
On the whole, SĀN Beach excelled at its attention to detail: we took over two sunbeds and had four small tables between us, two of which opened up, so we could keep our belongings safe and out of the sun. The smiley staff were on it, from refilling our melted ice bucket to moving our umbrella, which was helped by the fact that there was a press for service button.
As for the changing facilities, they were hit and miss. The outdoor ones were dark and the showers had slight mould on the wall.
As for the restaurant, it’s a great spot to chill in – literally – when the weather is too hot. Boasting an understated elegance, there are white sofas for lounging, seats by the open doors for people watching and curved booths in the wall for privacy.
Serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes, we’d suggest eyeing up the seafood counter and making the most of the seafood dishes, which range from grilled tiger prawns to salmon fillet. Plus, veggies are treated to truffle-tastic options including a truffle pizza, truffle risotto and truffle fries.
SĀN Beach feels like a cross between a spiritual retreat and a luxury festival, which is helped by its adult-only policy. As the day goes on, the vibes change from boho zen to hippie party. In the mornings, guests can enjoy yoga, pilates and stretching classes by the pool. During sunset hours on Fridays and Saturdays sunsets, the Nomades perform sets with instruments ranging from guitars to saxophones.
You have to admire that SĀN Beach has created a unique concept and stands out from the hospitality crowd. For that reason, it was a FACT Spa & Wellness Awards UAE winner, and won for the Favourite Beach Club in Dubai.
So, did SĀN Beach make me feel like I was at one with nature? Not really. Did it live up to the Insta dreams? Hell, yeah.
GO: Visit https://sanbeachdubai.com for more information.