Privilee : Worth it or not ?

( 2021 Update : This post was written in January 2019. Having been using it on and off for over 2 years now, I have a better idea of whether Privilee will be worth it for you – it depends on a lot of things – how often you go, how much you’ll spend on F&B, what you will use it for. If you would like to discuss, feel free to get in touch )

Back in 2015 when Torch caught its first fire, we did consider long and hard if we should join Privilee.

Now you must be thinking – what on earth is the relation between a 5-star membership to hotel pools, gyms and kid’s club, and an infamous tower fire in the marina? Well, sadly for us, the pool was shut (click here for previous article on this) for a very long time and I was itching to swim (especially when heavily pregnant in the middle of summer).

6000AED a year is a lot of money, and for two of us that would be 12000AED. It was completely unjustifiable. A few lame attempts to reach out to their marketing team at that time, I gave up and moved on.

Fast forward 3 years, and 2 kids later……

I attended one of those Privilee promotion day things couple of months ago. It targetted at mums – yoga, babysitting provided by Nightingale, complimentary pool access at Riva Beach Club, breakfast, the whole shebang. I thought I’ll just go there for a playdate with another mum friend (waves to M 🙂 )

That event at Riva Beach Club!

“Be strong, don’t give in and sign up.” Well……… I didn’t then.

My friend however, signed up to it a week or so later.


Facebook photos of playdates at Sofitel popped up. Waldorf next. Westin next. It was terrible! 😀

The Black Friday deal came up soon after and I took the plunge. Two months for about 1000AED ++. Let’s just do this once and for all and see what the fuss is about.

Christmas Pool Day at Waldorf Astoria

So, finally onto the actual topic after a super long introduction.

Is it worth it?

If you were in a similar situation as me – mum with two young kids, living relatively close to most of the resorts in Privilee, I would say, go for it.

If they have another promotion going on for a short term trial, give it a shot. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of pretty photos of Privilee members on social media, so you know what you have access to.

Here’s my two cents :

  1. Yes, you kind of make a conscious effort to go to a hotel more often than when you don’t have Privilee. But c’mon, who is to complain going to a 5-star hotel 3 times a week, when you used to do it once in 3 months? If you both are working parents, it really does break the week up, every visit is a ‘mini-holiday’ of sorts.
  2. There’s something for everyone . You could have a dip with the kids whilst the husband goes to the gym. If you don’t feel like a swim, you could just relax by the beach while the little ones play. You could do an adult day and just go, the two of you.
  3. Lots of choices. In the last month, we’ve been to Sofitel The Palm 3 times, Waldorf Astoria The Palm twice, Doubletree by Hilton JBR, Sheraton JBR, The Palace and The Address Dubai Marina. And we are both working parents! Imagine if I was still home with the kids. I would probably go there every other day!
  4. You can use it on public holidays, though to be noted there are restrictions to certain hotels then. So, when I couldn’t use the Entertainer on Christmas Day, we spent it at the Waldorf Astoria for lunch and pool. Similarly, on New Year’s Day, we had dinner at Peacock, Sheraton JBR which gave us 40% off!
  5. It’s much, much cheaper than paying for a day pass, regardless of if you are using the Entertainer or one of the Groupon Cobone deals. Let’s put into perspective – we’ve done the Kempinski Afternoon Tea and pool access deal – 359AED for two. Yes, that is a very good deal and yes it comes with afternoon tea which is great. But how often will you do that? Possibly once in three months, say? With Privilee you could do it every weekend (or 3 times a week) 😉
  6. (Updated August 2019) – If you have two kids, it’s a bit of a no-brainer to sign up, especially for the summer months. Why? It costs a fortune to take them to play areas (say 50AED to 80AED per child, per hour at some?). For the last month, we’ve been taking them to the Kid’s Clubs and a lot of them have organised activities. The girls were making masks at the W Kid’s Clubs. Decorating cupcakes at L’olivo, as part of the activities at the Rixos Kids Club. You can also drop them off at the Kid’s Clubs (3 and above for some, generally 4 and above) while you nip off to the gym or have a quiet catch up with a friend.
  7. Playdates are so easy to do with Privilee, because you can also valet – which all mums know is a plus when you have a pram and 101 things to take down from the car. The valet guys will help you as they do (a big plus if they know how to set up the pram!). You can organise playdates with non-Privilee members as various kid’s club which allow public access, i.e Qix Club Dubai marina, W Hotel at the Palm and Palazzo Versace. For example, it would have costed me 30AED an hour at Qix at the Address Marina, per child. That’s 60AED an hour. Two hours, that’s 120AED already. This is all included within your Privilee membership.
  8. If you’re a gym class person – you can go do yoga at Tribefit, head to Fit Republik for kick-boxing, go to pilates at Fidelity Fitness. That itself pays back the Privilee fee if you go once or twice a week.
S scootering around Waldorf Astoria

Would we sign up for a year?

I really don’t know yet. These short-term deals are quite good. It’s much easier to pay 1000AED than 6000AED y’know 🙂

Is it worth it?

So far, yes, I think we’ve gotten our money’s worth and more.

Mummy’s happy, daddy’s happy, the two little people are very very happy. We just need to go to Zaya Nurai one time (it’s that Maldives-like place which is normally 500AED for a day pass!).

Would I recommend you sign up?

It’s entirely up to what you, and the family like to do.

If the kids like water, the beach, kid’s clubs (play areas). If the husbands loves working out in different gym, if you’re a pool or beach person, then yes yes yes.

If like us, you live in the marina – where most of the hotels are in Privilee – that’s Westin, Le Meridian, The Address, Intercontinental, Doubletree (please, please, heat up the pool more though, it’s freezing!), and Sheraton JBR, then yes. Drive a wee bit more to the Palm and you’ve got Fairmont, Sofitel, Waldorf, Kempinski, Atlantis, the W and Rixos.

If you plan to sign up for an annual membership and have been reading about Privilee on my blog, drop me a message here – I’ll be happy to refer you (I’ll get an extra month, too!)

If you are here for a holiday, get in touch with a friend who lives here who is a Privilee member to sign you up for a guest pass, it’ll be worth it!

  • Privilee
  • My instagram for Privilee photos and reviews.
  • Separate post on reviews of each hotel (click here). If you are a Privilee member, and have feedback that you would like to share (things that could improve on), please PM me and I’ll include it in the post as well.

Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post. I (unfortunately) had to actually pay for the Privilee membership, just like everyone else. It took me 4 years to decide but hey, I’m glad we did 😉

Posted by

Dubai resident. Stays most of the time in the marina as she can't be bothered going anywhere else after work and in the weekends. Originally from the land of the orang utans, spent the latter half of her life in the land down under. Always on the look out for deals, loves organising get-togethers, and occasionally steals some time for a sip of wine or four at ladies nights.

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