Family holidays to the Middle East are destined to be an amazing experience for even the youngest kids. From the famous hotels, beaches and amusement parks of Dubai, to incredible lesser-known destinations such as Ras Al Khaimah and Oman, the Middle East truly is an awesome destination for family holidays.
Five-star JA Palm Tree Court is a luxurious family-friendly resort set on the Gulf shores. One and two-bedroom suites will suite families, with the option of garden or sea views. The all-inclusive resort has 800m of private beach, four temperature-controlled pools with swim-up bars, a nine-hole championship golf course, full service marina offering fishing trips, boat trips and seaplane flights, spa plus many restaurants. There are two heated pools for kids plus a huge range of water sports including wakeboarding and water-skiing, an equestrian centre, tennis academy and mini golf. There is also a babysitting service and two on-site kids’ clubs, Coolzone and Creche, which offer fantastic childcare for children from four months up to 12 years old.
A stay at award-winning Six Senses Zighy Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The hotel is based in the northern Musandam Peninsula, with spectacular views of mountains on one side and a stunning beach on the other. Everything here is five-star from the sustainable dining options to the mountaintop restaurant, the luxury villas with infinity pools and butler on call to the spa with a range of wellness therapies. There’s plenty to do here other than gawp at the scenery. Rock climbing, a sunset cruise, paragliding, mountain biking, hiking, snorkelling and scuba diving can all be organised. The Chaica’s Club for four to 12 year olds offers kids the chance to escape their parents for a while and there’s a Teen Club for older guests. Both give outstanding care and arrange innovative activities for youngsters from wadi swimming to treasure hunts. Alfresco film screenings are common as are cooking an Arabian meal from scratch using herbs freshly picked from the organic garden. Babysitting can be arranged for under fours and the resort can provide a range of baby equipment in rooms for new parents.
The Oberoi Beach Resort in Al Zorah is a dreamy five-star minimalist resort, ideal for families who want something a little different from a holiday. All the luxury villas are huge, and have butler service. Some have outdoor showers and private pools. The lap infinity swimming pool is also vast, with jaw-dropping views over the powder white beach below and there’s a baby and toddler pool for little ones to splash about in too. A complimentary shuttle bus can whisk visitors away to Dubai’s main sights, 40 minutes away, but there’s plenty here to lap up including kayaking tours to see flamingo-filled mangroves, jeep desert safaris and seaplane tours from the nearby marina. Dining here is nutritious, with an à la carte restaurant, seafood beach diner or poolside lounge bar. On-site guests can work up their appetites on the tennis court, in the gym or yoga pavilion or around the hotel jogging track while kids play at the complimentary children’s club.
Atlantis The Palm is one of the best resorts in Dubai for families and is magical for kids. This iconic castle-like building sits in the centre of The Palm, Dubai’s man-made island. It’s huge, even by Dubai standards, and filled with many attractions, award-winning restaurants, bars and nightclubs, spas and sporting facilities. The two main draws to Atlantis are the 65,000 marine animals that live at The Lost Chambers Aquarium and mega waterpark Aquaventure. There’s also the chance for families to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, learn to scuba dive and swim with sharks at the Atlantis Dive Centre. New to Atlantis is the Wavehouse, with further dining options, a wave machine, bowling alley and a live entertainment venue. Should you want some time to relax alone, the Atlantis Kids Club (ages three to 12) and The Zone (for teens) are bursting with imaginative games for kids of all ages and there’s babysitting for younger guests. Kids and teens can also join one of six summer camps filled with non-stop adventure, plus gain access to the Aquaventure Waterpark, Royal Pool and Zero Entry Pool.
Fairmont The Palm is a fabulous five-star resort sat on Dubai’s iconic island, The Palm. This vast beachfront resort has jaw-dropping views over the Dubai skyline and Arabian Gulf and all 391 contemporary rooms are decorated with a nod to its Arabic location. Families can choose interconnecting rooms here for added comfort. The resort houses 10 high quality restaurants, four pools, private beach, gym with innovative classes and award-winning spa. Children aare warmly welcomed here, with a welcome backpack, children’s menus and pretend money which they can use in the resort. The Fairmont Falcon Kids Club (18 months up to 16 years) is run by experienced professionals. At the kids club there’s a playhouse, climbing wall, splash park and zoned areas for different imaginative play. Healthy food and snacks are also on hand at additional cost.
Families will love Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s striking wave-like design. Stay in one of the 599 ocean-view rooms and suites, or splash out in one of 19 Arabian-styled beachside villas. There are plenty of dining choices at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, with 13 restaurants, cafes and bars including a beach lounge for sundowners. Water fans will love the five swimming pools and the private beach. Families get complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark. Within the resort you’ll find the largest climbing wall in the region, plus the opportunity to contribute to turtle rehabilitation. The Talise spa features saunas, massage rooms, hot tubs, Jacuzzi, steam room and plunge pool while the fitness centre is set up with the latest gym equipment. Floodlit tennis court and three squash courts provide opportunity for some outdoor exercise. A kids’ club packed full of activities caters for children from two to 10 years of age. Babysitting is also available.
Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf is set among pleasant gardens and waterways with a dreamy private beach. There are 283 luxury rooms and suites, decorated in an Arabian style, plus 29 summerhouses with private pools and a butler service. The resort is home to Souk Madinat Jumeirah which has over 80 shops, bars and restaurants. Visitors have unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark plus fitness, tennis and squash courts on site. The Talise Spa offers treatments, a health clinic and yoga classes. Kids enjoy complimentary access to Sinbad’s Kids’ Club and KiDS at Madinat Jumeirah, which hosts a range of activities including face painting, watching movies or doing crafts. Babysitting is also available. An outdoor playground at KiDS has a splash pad, swing sets and jungle gym.
Jumeirah Mina A’Salam is a large but boutique style beachfront hotel with 292 luxury rooms and suites, more than 50 world class restaurants and bars, traditional souk and spa and fitness centre. Families can choose from a range of Arabian styled rooms to suit your family size. Service is fabulously family-friendly and there’s plenty to keep little ones entertained with numerous swimming pools, a private beach and complimentary access to Sinbad’s Kids Club and Wild Wadi Waterpark. There’s a wide range of water sports to try out like windsurfing, kayaking and wakeboarding. Families can enjoy more beach activities, including beach bootcamp, sand art and football billiards. Teens will love the junior lifeguard programme, beach cinema or a morning yoga session.
Distributed across 13 buildings, Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts are an exciting collection of Polynesian-themed suites, rooms and villas providing families with plenty of space to spread out and relax after a day of fun-filled activities. The resort’s wide selection of luxurious facilities include two swimming pools, lazy river, treatment spa, fitness centre and four restaurants serving a range of international dishes, while families will also receive complimentary tickets to all the local theme parks (Riverland Dubai, Legoland Water Park, Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai). All rooms are spacious and airy, with living area, satellite TV, marble bathroom, mini-bar and work desk, in addition to a private balcony or terrace.
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina sits on Dubai’s largest private white sand beach. Rooms are classically decorated, and offer stunning views over the skyline and ocean and the resort has three pools including a shaded children’s pool and whirlpool. Families can make the most of their time at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina with the complimentary kids’ club available seven days a week. The kids’ club provides games and activities, babysitting services, special menus and daily beach games. The resort has a range of dining options from middle-eastern to seafood restaurants plus many outdoor activities to enjoy like boating, horse riding, hiking, mini golf, volleyball courts, bike hire, nature trail hikes and fly-fishing. Indoors there are squash courts, fitness centre and state-of-the-art gym.
One&Only Royal Mirage has 65 acres of pristine gardens to enjoy, plus 1km of private sandy beach. Only minutes away from Dubai Marina, the resort overlooks the amazing scenery of The Palm Island Bay. No expense has been spared in any of the rooms; all are elegant in design. Families have a choice of suites across four areas of the resort; The Palace, Arabian Court, Residence & Spa or Beach Garden Villa. There are eight unique restaurants at One&Only Royal Mirage including Mediterranean, Moroccan, European and Asian plus two family diners. Child-friendly portions are available in them all. The complimentary KidsOnly programme for children aged four to 11 has activities tailored to different age groups including henna painting, belly dancing, evening Arabian camping and team sports. Al Koufa Fort is open in the holidays, with stage area, toddlers’ splash pool and adjacent garden for family games and sports. One&Only Royal Mirage even has two playgrounds for children of different ages, plus there are swimming and tennis lessons and a range of water sports for the whole family.
All-inclusive Rixos Bab Al Bahr sits on a man-made island in Ras Al Khaimah in the north of UAE. A shuttle bus runs daily to Dubai Mall. Most of the 650 rooms have ocean views. Family rooms have connecting bedrooms. You can do as much or as little as you like here. There’s a private beach with cabanas, spa and choice of outdoor pools to chill by. Active families may prefer to go hiking in the Hajar mountains, lark about in the aqua park with slides or have a go at a range of water sports like parasailing and kayaking. A nightclub and amphitheatre keep the party going in the evening. Children are well catered for with a separate pool, playground and club for kids and teens with lots of age-themed activities including Jenga and PlayStation for teens and treasure hunts and mini discos for little ones.
The Ritz Carlton Dubai is located on a private stretch of beach, just moments away from the buzzy Dubai Marina. This low-rise Mediterranean style resort has 294 sea-facing rooms and private balconies. Families can opt for interconnecting rooms for more space. Baby cots and rollaway beds can be requested too. The excellent Ritz Kids will look after four to 12 year olds with a variety of activities, leaving parents free to play a game of tennis, work up a sweat in the gym, learn to kayak or chill in the spa. The Ritz Carlton also has six swimming pools, including two shaded children’s pools and one with a waterslide for kids of all ages. The nine restaurants will ensure even the fussiest of tastes are catered for here too.
The Village at Cove Rotana is a large high-end resort with its own private 600m beachfront overlooking the Arabian Gulf in Ras Al Khaimah. Rooms are warm and elegant, with separate living rooms and terraces or balconies. Upgraded rooms have plunge pools. The Village at Cove Rotana has many activities for families to enjoy with two infinity pools, a kids pool, fitness classes and a well-equipped spa and gym. The private beachfront has many water sports plus a beach bar and serviced sun loungers. There’s plenty of choice for dining out too, with six restaurants and bars including a laid-back beachside café and gourmet Italian. Flipper’s Kids Club will look after children during the day and babysitters can be organised for evenings upon request.
Located right in the heart of Dubai’s thriving entertainment district, Rove At The Park provides the perfect location for families to enjoy a range of exciting days out, including Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai. All rooms at the resort are air conditioned with private bathrooms and satellite TV, as well as the option of upgrading for interconnected family suites that include tickets to all the theme parks. There are a number of family-friendly amenities, from a games area with table tennis and video consoles, to a large outdoor swimming pool and free bicycle rental. The Rove At The Park restaurant offers fantastic food and kids’ menus on request,