Privilee : Worth it or not ?

The following post was written in January 2019. Having been using it on and off for over 2 years now, Privilee is worth it depending 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 leave a message here or on instagram.


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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 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 targeted 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.

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

Is it worth it?

If they have another promotion going on for a short term trial (Black Friday, Summer deal etc), 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.

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.

Here’s my two cents :

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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) 😉 Update – Please check the Pool & Beach Day Pass Listing. If you are going to be spending that much on food and drinks while you’re at the resort, I would suggest you just pay for a day pass.

  • (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.

  • 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.

  • If you’re a gym class person – you can go do yoga at Oomo Fitness, head to StudioRepublik 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 🙂

So – Is it really worth it then ?

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!) Update : Zaya Nurai is no longer in Privilee

2021 Update - Work out the numbers. How often are you going to go? How much would it cost for you to go there with your family if you were to pay for a day pass? Have a look at the Pool & Beach Day Pass listing. Quick example - if you are just going to go once a week, and your kids are under 4 - and you are likely to spend 500 AED in food & beverage - you can pay for their weekend day pass (250 AED per adult, fully redeemable in F&B, kids under 4 free). My tip? Watch your F&B expenses after you sign up to Privilee to make it worth it ;)

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 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!

Disclaimer :

  • Jan 2019 This is not a sponsored post. I paid 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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