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Review of family-friendly hotels in Dubai

Posted By Gary Whelan on 21 September 2012

Dubai is a fabulous destination for family holidays especially for winter sun and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see many of the best family-friendly hotels so I could compare and contrast them.

Although a longer flight than their main competitor, the Canary islands, flying to Dubai with Emirates was a pleasure and with the modern media available at each seat even in economy the 7 hours flies by for you and the children. Compare this to 4 hours of full-on parenting of restless children to many other winter sun destinations.

Dubai has the largest, tallest, widest, priciest of everything and luxury hotels abound. The Malls are full of all the shops you know and love but are not really cheaper than the UK unless it is sale time. It is safe, spotlessly clean and very family friendly although the culture vultures amongst you might be disappointed as except from the small Creek area where you find the old souks, everywhere is shiny and man-made! Dubai is about luxury, service and experiences and has created its own league for luxury family holidays.

Where to stay? Some hotels are more family friendly than others and then it depends if you are drawn to the activities and amazing waterparks that the Atlantis and Jumeirah offer or whether you are after a calmer enviroment. Then there is your budget...

My recommendations for the best family friendly hotels are:

One&Only Royal Mirage:luxury, relaxed sophistication, a true family-friendly calm oasis. more >>

Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi: the biggest surprise for me, great position, guaranteed interconnecting rooms, luxury more >>

Atlantis, The Palm: Dubai does Disney with water. Free waterpark and aquarium, impressive and huge more >>

Jumeirah Beach Hotel: an iconic hotel which is buzzy and very family friendly with free access to the Wild Wadi Water Park more >>

Madinat Jumeirah:luxurious, travel around the resort by boat, free access to Wild Wadi more >> 

Zighy Bay: actually in Oman but accessed via Dubai, traquility opposite to buzz of Dubai, good for twin centre more >>

I also visitedThe Address Downtown(see hotel details go >>) which would be superb if you have a couple of days and love shopping - its a child-friendly hotel, right next door to the best shopping Malls and has superb view over Burj Khalifa - this picture shows (as well as me!) the view from the 5th floor pool complex.

It would combine brilliantly either with Zighy Bay for a complete contrast or as a family-friendly stop-over.

Special mention should also go to the Banyan Tree Al Wadi which is in the desert about an hour from Dubai. Banyan Tree have a superb reputation for their spas and after settling into luxurious suites we were taken for the ‘rainforest experience’. This was great fun with a circuit of different showers, saunas, Jacuzzis and plunge pools. You get one free experience so is a must do! It isn't all about spa's though and it is a really different family experience for a couple of days in a luxury desert hotel with camel riding, falconry, archery etc.. Something exciting to add on to a Dubai family beach holiday and although not currently featured on our webite we can easily tailor-make this for you.

I did inspect lots of other hotels too although I felt they were not so suited to family holidays but happy to discuss if you would like to know more:

Burj Al Arab: totally over the top and although it has kids facilities you would feel underdressed unless you had three ounces’ of gold on your wrist and a Russian billionaire as your best friend!

Hilton Dubai Creek:too business orientated for a family holiday.

Desert Palm: on the Polo fields so may appeal to horse riders. Lovely small hotel but nothing in particular for children.

Park Hyatt Dubai
: another business hotel which felt a little soulless.

One&Only The Palm:stunning boutique hotel on the Palm which is romantic and peaceful. You can take kids and use a free shuttle to the Royal Mirage to use their facilities but although the hotel was full I did not see a child there! This is the place to leave the kids at home and have a special break for two!

Ritz Carlton: totally pleasant and unremarkable. One selling point is it is the only luxury beach hotel within walking distance of other bars, shops etc.

Don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss your luxury family holiday to Dubai.


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