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Nikki Beach comes of age

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

News reaches us of a chic new restaurant opening at Nikki Beach Dubai tomorrow, so if you find yourself in the emirate this summer you might want to drop by (there’s a Nikki Beach Resort opening in Dubai later this year, too). But what really caught my eye was that the company was launched as long ago as 1998. Can it really be 18 years since Jack Penrod reinvented the beach club? Beach Clubs have always been the preserve of the rich and famous. Think Marbella Club on the Costa del Sol, Club 55 in St Tropez, the Saint George in Beirut. Brigitte Bardot in a gingham bikini; Audrey Hepburn in huge sunglasses. But by the time Penrod opened his first Nikki Beach in Miami, younger members of the jet set were ready for something more contemporary. Penrod took the traditional French-style beach club and restaurant model and gave it a cool South Beach vibe, adding double sun loungers in dazzling white, billowing drapery, beach tepees, and down-tempo house tracks played LOUD. The concept was an instant success and the ‘Nikki Beach look’ was copied the world over, from Bali to Bournmouth.In the following decades Nikki Beach, named after Penrod’s daughter who was killed in a car accident in 1997, popped up in upmarket destinations across the globe, including Saint Tropez, Saint Barths, Marbella, Mallorca, Ibiza (above), Monte Carlo, Porto Heli and Bali. The restaurant opening in Dubai is the brand’s signature restaurant, Satine, named after the racy character in the movie, Moulin Rouge, and features a large communal table which doubles as a catwalk and entertainment podium. Very Nikki Beach.The beach clubs are not everyone’s cup of tea. For one thing, they are expensive: a bottle of the cheapest Champagne at the Ibiza club will set you back €150; a Sexy Salade (shrimps, crabmeat, avocado, cucumber and mango) in St Barth’s, €23. You do have to be feeling pretty self-confident not to be overawed by all that scantily clad youth and beauty. And did I mention the LOUD music? To be perfectly honest, 14 years after I was first entranced by Nikki Beach Saint Barth (above), I feel more at home in beach clubs that aren't quite so achingly hip these days. But I know my teenage goddaughters would adore Nikki Beach and one day, when I’m feeling flush, I’ll take them to one.


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