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.
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
According to Sarandon: “SPiN
Dubai will be the sexiest and swankiest ping pong lounge and nightclub in the
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.
Wilson-Powell is the Dubai Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes the hotel
review blog sogoodtogetoutofthecity.wordpress.com.