Living in the UAE means being accustomed to some pretty sweltering summers, and there’s nothing quite as tempting as dunking yourself in cool water to beat the heat.
But those who don’t have a temperature-controlled pool (which, let’s face it, is most of us) may find the water in said pools tends to be on the warmer side during peak summer.
Luckily, living in the UAE also comes with its share of perks, such as the fact that it has a number of services to make residents more comfortable – including one that will throw ice blocks into pools to create a more refreshing swim.
The service is performed by sister Emirati companies Gulf Ice Factory & Cold Storage and Modern Ice Factory, which also own edible ice brand Pure Ice.
The business started in Sharjah in 1976 and expanded to Dubai in 1989, running in both emirates through several production units.
How the pool-cooling service works
Each ice block costs Dh10, with one block weighing 25 kilograms. Orders can be placed by calling 800-ICE or visiting www.gmice.ae. A notice period of 24 hours before expected delivery is preferred.
The quantity of ice required differs according to pool size. Most villas in the UAE have a standard 10-metre by two-metre outdoor pool, which needs between 10 and 14 blocks of ice. On average, the service is able to bring down the temperature of a pool by 10°C for almost 24 hours, according to the company.
Gulf Ice Factory and Modern Ice Factory, which can produce more than 500 tonnes of ice daily, has been offering the service for some time, but experienced a surge in interest this year.
“This year, demand rose drastically from April,” says Atheer Aranki, general manager of Gulf Ice Factory and Modern Ice Factory.
Aranki credits this to the fact that more people have been staying home during the pandemic, making swimming pools an important source of entertainment.
However, demand for this niche service has been steadily increasing over the past year, with the ice block delivery team being nicknamed “the icemen of Dubai” by many. In 2019, Virgin Radio presenter Kris Fade posted about the service on Instagram, calling it an “only in Dubai moment”.
“We are not only able to cool the pools, but put a smile on faces as people watch us bringing and dipping these blocks into their pools,” says Aranki.
According to her, the recent surge in demand is primarily in Dubai, although the company delivers to other emirates (with an added delivery fee).
Other than these giant blocks of ice for swimming pools, the company also supplies crushed ice, edible ice cubes and ice sculptures to hotels for events and weddings.