With three bars serving luxury cocktails, an outdoor terrace, a live DJ and a gold-plated ping pong table, SPiN Dubai could be the swankiest games club in the world.
Susan Sarandon is an Oscar winning actress, Hollywood heavyweight – and ping-pong promoter, apparently.
The leading lady turned up in Dubai last month to open SPiN Dubai, a nightclub-cum-ping pong hall that aims to make the often-ridiculed sport a trendy pastime once again. Having opened similar clubs in New York, Toronto and LA (that attract the likes of the Kardashians and Justin Bieber), SPiN Dubai is the group’s first venture outside of North America.
Ping pong (or table tennis, once known as “wiff-waff”) originated in the UK in the late 19th Century and was first played at home on a table using books for the bats and net and golf balls (or Champagne corks and cigar box lids if you were slightly more fancy). One hundred years later, the sport had spun out of homes and into the Olympics, debuting in 1988. Today, it’s a global phenomenon that inspires heady devotion among fans.
The 21st-century version of the sport – as Sarandon sees it – operates within a club format, with three bars serving luxury cocktails, an outdoor terrace, a live DJ and 11 tables for you to play at, including one only-in-Dubai gold-plated table. Pros and amateurs are welcome, with experts on hand to help educate eager batters on the rules.
According to Sarandon: “SPiN Dubai will be the sexiest and swankiest ping pong lounge and nightclub in the world”.
While Dubai certainly has its share of imported sexy and swanky clubs (think St Tropez’s VIP Room at JW Marriott Marquis and London’s Mahiki in Jumeirah Beach Hotel), SPiN is certainly the only one yet that has taken the games club concept and glammed it up. But whether it will bounce, or score a point with Dubai’s glitterati remains to be seen.
Georgina Wilson-Powell is the Dubai Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes the hotel review blog sogoodtogetoutofthecity.wordpress.com.