Burj al Arab outdoor pool
Atlantis The Palm entrance
Jumeirah Beach Resort Dubai fountain
Never has a city been built so specifically with luxury family holidays in mind, as Dubai. This glittering desert hotspot is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious and glamorous travel destinations in the world and it has something for the whole family: children will have a ball discovering the desert but keeping cool splashing in the endless waterparks, swimming pools and, of course, the sea. It is a shopping mecca, where fast cars, rejuvenating spas, gourmet restaurants and family-friendly day trips on dune buggies will take your breath away. Whether you want to relax and unwind or take in the city's endless activities, Dubai is a must.
The Residence at JA Palm Tree Court Hotel
A series of deluxe villas now opened at the JA Palm Tree Court Hotel, The Residence has the fantastic option of a pre-holiday planner to cater to your family's every need.
As family-friendly hotels in the Gulf go, you won't get anywhere better thought out than the JA Palm Tree Court Hotel. Flanked by palm trees, dotted with endless swimming pools, spas, restaurants and amenities for kids and adults alike, this hotel is part of the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, and won the top spot as the...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Villa & Book »
Intercontinental Dubai Festival City
Perfectly located for Dubai’s endless shopping malls and great family-friendly restaurants, the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City is set to astonish.
The InterContinental Dubai Festival City is close to the airport, so transporting yourself from plane to some fast pampering when you land couldn’t be easier. It’s also a great family-friendly hotel close to shopping opportunities, perfect if you intend to make the most of Dubai’s tax-free shopping. The spacious...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Atlantis The Palm
Want island luxury and swimming with dolphins in the desert? Book in at Atlantis, The Palm.
Built on reclaimed land, Atlantis The Palm is, quite literally, a city-sized hotel that rose from the sea. This alone will capture your kid’s imagination, and that’s before they’ve had the chance to swim with dolphins in Dubai. Every hotel room and suite boasts spectacular views of either The Palm and Dubai...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Burj Al Arab
Want a Seven-star hotel experience, with private butler service? Book into the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab.
The towering Burj Al Arab is a seven-star, sail-shaped hotel that, at first glance, makes you feel like you’ve stepped into the future. As one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, it features 202 duplex suites (each with its own internal spiral staircase) where you can expect nothing short of mind-blowing...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Jumeirah Beach Resort Dubai
Want the beach? Get glamour at the Jumeirah Beach hotel with its idyllic location and children’s activities aplenty.
The staff at the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Resort Dubai love children so much that they’ll even present them with a gift on arrival. That’s during your private check in, by the way, in a special room reserved for weary families who have just arrived fresh off a plane. Bang on the beach, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Spice Island, Crowne Plaza Deira
Crowne Plaza Deira, Lobby Level, Salahuddin Road, Al Rigga
Fridays are all about the Spice Island family brunch in Dubai’s Crown Plaza Deira. Kids adore the all-you-can-eat buffet, inhaling a veritable feast for little palates of chicken nuggets, pasta, burgers, and cakes that they can decorate themselves. When not occupied by food, the Tom and Jerry cartoons being played on a loop will entice. This restaurant goes against every domestic rule you may have in place at home, but children love it as a holiday treat. The various cooking stations include Mexican, Indian, Thai and Italian food, as well as a large seafood buffet. After eating, children can enjoy face-painting, all done under the same roof.
Beachcombers, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
6 Jumeirah Beach Road
Quite possibly the best choice for children and adults in Dubai, Beachcombers seems to have thought of everything, especially when it comes to their weekly Friday brunch. In fact, the little ones are often so busy being wowed by the resident balloon-bender and juggler, building sandcastles, spinning plates or racing, it’s not unusual for them to forget about eating altogether. Adults will adore the Asian-influenced cuisine and there’s a great selection of international dishes to please every palate. Under fives eat for free.
The Meydan Hotel
The Meydan Hotel, Meydan Racecourse, Al Meydan Road, Nad Al Sheba
The Meydan Friday Brunch is a fun-filled family day out in Dubai and the perfect way to watch the horses on the stunning Meydan Racecourse while you’re enjoying brunch. On a sunny but not stifling day, sit outside and let the staff woo your kids with balloon games while you sip on champagne. Alongside excellent cuisine for the adults, children can choose their food from a special kid’s buffet, get their faces painted, jump on a bouncy castle or play in safety in the surrounding gardens. Best of all, kids under 12 years of age eat for free.
If your kids could design the perfect world, chances are they’d design it like Dubai’s KidZania. This child-sized city occupies two levels in the gargantuan Dubai Mall, and it’s both a fun and safe place to leave the kids to play while you go shopping. Here they can be pizza chefs, doctors, hairdressers or firefighters and play every make-believe game they can create. Great for children aged between 2 and 14 years old.
A Dubai desert safari
With all the air-conditioned shopping malls, luxury hotels and restaurants. you’d be forgiven for forgetting that Dubai has been man-made within sand dunes. Get out into the dusty abyss on a Dubai desert safari and give older kids an experience they’ll never forget. Don’t eat first – this exhilarating drive is a bumpy one, but do stay for dinner in the desert with a belly dancing show, delicious kebabs and optional henna tattoos.
Dubai Mall's ice skating rink
It may be blindingly hot, but the Olympic sized ice-rink in the Dubai Mall has, of course, been built for those in the mood for lower temps and wintery exercise. It is an adventure playground for all ages..
The Dubai Fountains
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been seriously impressed by watching this mighty display of water acrobatics in the desert. Kids will want to watch it every night. Choreographed to music and designed by the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Vegas, the Dubai Fountain shoots water as high as 500 feet up into the air (as high as a 50-storey building!) and sees it crashing and splashing back into the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake. Very popular with little ones.
Dial 999 for ambulance services and the police. The main hospital in Dubai is Rashid Hospital (Tel: 04 337 1111) where the walk-in clinic is open daily from 5 pm to midnight. Latifa Hospital (formerly Al Wasl Hospital) is a specialist hospital for women and children, as well as high risk pregnancies (Tel: 04 219 3000). There are several 24-hour pharmacies in Dubai: Pharmacy Ibn Sina (Tel: 04 355 6909), Sondos Pharmacy (Tel: 04 346 0660) and Yara Pharmacy (Tel: 04 222 5503).
Remember, kissing and holding hands in public in Dubai is frowned upon, especially on beaches. Always cover up your décolletage, knees and shoulders in shopping malls.
When to go
It’s said that Dubai only really has two seasons – hot and hotter – but in truth, most of the year sees perfect blue-sky, comfortably sunny weather. The best time to visit Dubai is from October to April when humidity is lower, meaning you can make the most of outdoor activities and family – opportunities without melting. The summer months, between June and the end of August can mean luxury at a serious discount, but you might just have to spend the whole time indoors. Ramadan can be a bad time to go if you like a drink (no alcohol can be consumed during this holy month) but it’s a great time to experience cultural celebrations and tuck into traditional Ramadan Iftar dishes. Shoppers should consider going in January or February for the annual Dubai Shopping Festival.
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