On a cold, rainy Valentine’s Day in 2017, I met Nikki Beach Dubai for the first time. There aren’t many places that I remember visiting so vividly, but it was love at first sight. Despite the clouds, the subsequent lack of crowd and my weather-inappropriate attire, I was transfixed by the team’s ability to create an uplifting atmosphere. Every tune spoke to my soul, the staff seemed to enjoy themselves just as much as the guests, and the dreamcatchers blowing the breeze made me feel far away from the chaos of the city.

Seven years later, it still evokes the same emotions. Only now I’m not an unknown patron taking advantage of the deal on ladies’ day, I genuinely feel part of the family. And so do my family. When my mum comes to visit me, excited to see what’s new in the city, there’s only one constant on her wish list. I’ve had some of my happiest memories at Nikki Beach, surrounded by some of my favourite people.

It therefore gave me great pleasure when, on her stopover through Dubai, my mum and I were able to stay the night at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai for the very first time. While we’d been to the hotel several times, we’d never had the opportunity to actually check in. Expectations were of course running high as we pulled up to the valet and handed over our luggage. Naturally, we arrived ahead of schedule, so we’re shown to the pool deck to enjoy a welcome drink while the room is finalised. The ocean view is instantly calming, and the fresh, salty air breezing through reset something in my psyche. That view doesn’t leave our sights for the entire stay and takes centre stage once we head up to the room. Looking out from the fluffy cloud-like bed, we ensure the curtains are never drawn so we don’t miss a moment to drink it in.

While not the most centrally located property, being further out from the hustle and bustle has many advantages. First being that the beach is adjacent to open sea, meaning you’ll experience proper waves. I can only think of a handful of hotels in the city that tick that box. It might not seem like a big deal to have lively water to-ing and fro-ing around you, but it does wonders for the soul. The other benefit of being further from the ‘heart’ of the city is exactly that; a chance to get away from it all. Dubai’s omnipresent traffic noise soon becomes a distant memory once you enter the passageway of Pearl Jumeira Island.

The property is home to its namesake beach club, which boasts iterations across the globe everywhere from Miami to Montenegro. With strong branding that’s carried across all its venues, you’ll always know what you’re going to get when you visit: high energy, friendly service and a fun-loving, unpretentious crowd. The space is elevated and well-maintained with a recent addition of private pool cabanas that show the brand’s desire to stay ahead of its competitors.

The food is not to be overlooked either. Just because the beach club is known for day-to-night parties and basking under the sun, doesn’t mean it shies away from a well-executed menu. We devour plates of meticulously crafted sushi, citrus-topped salmon ceviche and wafer-thin octopus carpaccio until we can barely lift our chopsticks. Whether dining poolside while bopping to the beats or glamming up a little to sit under parasols in the restaurant, the service is unmatched.

Back at the hotel, the poolside experience is more subdued, opting for a quiet luxury ambience in comparison to its noisier neighbour, meaning guests can enjoy the best of both worlds. There’s also a stunning spa for taking your relaxation game to a whole new level. With a private pool for post-treatment chill time, you can listen to the sounds of a trickling waterfall and watch your troubles dissipate.

Whether living it up at the beach club or switching off in the spa, it’s impossible to not be excited to visit this hotel. It just goes to show you don’t need a crazy rooftop bar or gold-flaked drinks to achieve a seven-star experience, just genuinely passionate, positive people who want to Celebrate Life.