8 best family hotels and resorts in Abu Dhabi

Jane Anderson
8th April 2019

Just a few years ago, who would have thought about heading to Abu Dhabi for a family break? Now this Arabian gem is one of the most happening destinations with new theme parks, desert adventures and extravagant family friendly hotels –all just a seven-hour flight from the UK. Lucy McGuire reveals the best places to stay with kids


8/8 Qasr Al Sarab

Located in the vast expanse of desert known as The Empty Quarter, Qasr al Sarab rises out of the sand like an oasis, with majestic dunes stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s easily one of the most mythical family resorts you’ll find.

Location
The Empty Quarter, or ‘Rub’ al Khali’ as it’s known in Arabic, is the world’s largest contiguous sand desert. This family friendly hotel is a two-hour transfer from the airport and the magic you find when you arrive is well worth waiting for.

Facilities and food
You’ll find both Middle Eastern and international food here. All seven restaurants are child friendly and highchairs are available. Aside from the spa, gym, tennis courts and freeform swimming pool, there are child friendly cooking classes and spectacular excursions that allow you to explore the desert!

Rooms
Qasr Al Sarab is one of the best places to stay for a palatial, Arabic feel and the Anantara Suites come with connecting rooms for families, twinkly Arabic lanterns and a luxurious design. For a little more space, private villas come with their own plunge pool, heaps of space and a butler.

Why it’s great for families
From camel riding and learning about Bedouin culture to falconry shows, this hotel offers unforgettable family experiences. When they’re not camel trekking, little ones can enjoy the small kids’ club (ages 3-12), or you can take advantage of their babysitting service.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


7/8 Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Fancy holidaying in one of Abu Dhabi’s glitziest family-friendly hotels? This 69-storey building is one of five striking towers and boasts an opulent contemporary design with impressive Arabian Gulf views. Serviced residences are available if the hotel is full.

Location
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is tucked into the western end of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, with The Avenue at Etihad Towers mall nearby. You can book boat trips, desert safaris and explore the city from here and it’s a 30-minute drive from the international airport.

Facilities and food
For a variety of food, this is one of the best places to stay. Eleven swanky bars and restaurants serve up everything from French to Lebanese. In-room dining is available and there’s a private beach, three swimming pools, gym, hair salon and spa. There’s even a Waitrose.

Rooms
Rooms are large, stylish and offer staggering views. The Sky Suite Grand Deluxe King can host a family of four (children must be under 12) and cots are available on request. Upgrade to a Sky Suite for a connected Grand Club room and butler-serviced kitchen.

Why it’s great for families
This child friendly hotel offers heaps of luxury but also all the conveniences a family needs. A babysitting service is available at an hourly rate (minimum of two hours) and the safe beach and kids pool make it great for little ones.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


6/8 Four Seasons, Al Maryah Island

This five-star hotel situated in a 34-storey tower, has all the elegance of a Four Seasons, and its waterfront location on Al Maryah Island offers fantastic views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline. Service is unbeatable and the swimming pool is stunning.

Location
Located on Al Maryah Island, the hotel is surrounded by water and within reaching distance of the promenade and Abu Dhabi Global Market Square – an upscale shopping mall. It’s five minutes from the city centre and 30 minutes from the airport.

Facilities and food
Six restaurants and lounges offer all sorts of cuisines, one has a play-area next to it and children’s menus and highchairs are offered. The elevated swimming pool has fantastic city views and babysitting is available. Concierge will help you plan family days out.

Rooms
The hotel’s super-sophisticated rooms come with spa-like bathrooms and Arabian Gulf views. Rollaway beds are available but families of four will need interconnecting rooms (which can be child-proofed) and cribs are available.

Why it’s great for families
This city oasis allows families to explore the UAE capital but also kick back and relax. The Kids For All Seasons program offers personal touches such as milk and cookies on arrival, kids toiletries, complimentary use of buggies and access to children’s and teens clubs.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


5/8 Emirates Palace

A palatial hotel of 349 rooms and suites, the sprawling Emirates Palace is quite possibly one of Abu Dhabi’s most opulent family resorts. Expect Arabian domes, gilded surfaces, palm-tree peppered gardens and enough luxurious frills to please a Sheik.

Location
This child-friendly oasis is nestled on the western end of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche in central Abu Dhabi and is close to many of the city’s attractions such as the Grand Mosque and Emirates Palace. It’s 40 minutes from the international airport.

Facilities and food
Expect top-quality restaurants offering everything from outdoor BBQs to traditional Emirati cuisine. Kids menus are available across all restaurants apart from Hakkasan and children under six get free breakfast. There’s a child-friendly beach and harbour, huge lagoon-like pools, plus spa, tennis courts and gym.

Rooms
Rooms are regal, with gold and blue Arabian furnishings and huge beds and TVs. Interconnecting rooms may be organised and if you’ve left baby sterilizers, potty seats or bottles at home, don’t worry – the hotel has just about everything for parents with infants. Babysitting is available at a charge.

Why it’s great for families
With playgrounds, sports and waterslides, there’s plenty to keep children entertained. Families with 6 to 12-year-olds receive a 50% discount on extra beds and the kids club has henna, face painting and educational activities for the under 12s, with activities for the tweens and teens too. There’s even a kid’s spa.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


4/8 Yas Viceroy

Viceroy is one of the more unique family hotels in Abu Dhabi. It’s sleek with a futuristic curved design, and sits right on the Yas Marina Circuit, so the whole family can enjoy front row seats to the city’s racing car action.

Location
The hotel is half on water, half on land on ‘entertainment island’ aka Yas Island. It overlooks the iconic Yas Marina Circuit, so you may spot F1 racing cars from your balcony. It’s 10 miles from the international airport and 20-minutes away from the CBD.

Facilities and food
With 11 different dining venues, you won’t run out of places to eat here. Zen-seekers can check into the ESPA spa while the children enjoy the kids’ club, while family-friendly excursions include Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Yas Beach.

Rooms
Rooms are modern with separate rain showers and baths. Extra beds can be added for families. They come with all the essentials, a mini-bar and have chic balconies. Extra luxuries such as Xboxes and iPod docks can be added on request.

Why it’s great for families
Aside from the fantastic attractions in Abu Dhabi, Yas Viceroy offers educational and fun activities such as wall climbing and play houses via its Generation V Kid’s Zone (for 4 to 12-year-olds). It offers a culture-filled family holiday, with plenty of entertainment.

Editor’s highlight: Families can take bike rides or jogs around the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


3/8 Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan – a Rotana hotel

Aside from the contemporary Arabian style and opulent chandeliers, the talking point of this five-star property is the pool – it’s one of the largest in Abu Dhabi and is surrounded by lush gardens and a scattering of ruby red parasols.

Location
Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan is next to the Presidential Palace and opposite Emirates Palace, around 30 minutes from the airport. It’s five minutes from Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village and has three further shopping centres within a 20-minute drive.

Facilities and food
This is one of the alcohol-free family resorts, but from authentic Arabic food to international flavours, you’ll find plenty to choose from food-wise across the hotel’s four restaurants (in-room dining is also available). Facilities-wise, it has a vast lagoon-like pool (and children’s pool), glorious private beach, gym with classes and spa.

Rooms
You’ll find a warm and classic style in all the rooms here and they’ve recently launched a range of family rooms which come with one king and two twin-sized beds with kitchenette and walk-in shower and all the facilities a family will need. Babysitting is available too.

Why it’s great for families
The hotel offers a fantastic range of activities including swimming lessons, karate classes, a children’s pool, Flippers Kids Club and more. Children under five eat free and the Friday Ali Baba and the Forty Chefs Brunch offers plenty of surprises for kids!

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


2/8 Ritz-Carlton

With Abu Dhabi’s most famous mosque as its backdrop, this is one of the best family hotels for a spectacular setting and vibrant culture. It’s set within pretty landscaped gardens and the Venetian inspired design is sure to wow every family.

Location
This is one the best places to stay for the location alone. It’s close to the famous Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque – a key cultural attraction – and it’s just a 20-minute drive from Abu Dhabi international airport.

Facilities and food
You’ll find eight unique restaurants, including the family-friendly Cascades restaurant (complete with children’s menu). The nearby Venetian Village also offers some waterfront eateries. The hotel can arrange excursions, has a water sports centre and access to a pristine sandy beach.

Rooms
Rooms here are light and modern, with marble bathrooms, secluded balconies and interconnecting family rooms and cots on request. Rooms come with Asprey toiletries and some suites have separate kitchens and butler service. Babysitting is available.

Why it’s great for families
A short distance from the airport and equipped with babysitting services, a child-friendly cascade Adventure Pool and a Ritz Kids club for 4 to 12-year-olds, this is a top pick for those looking for luxury family resorts with plenty of amenities.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape


1/8 Southern Sun

A 27-storey business-style hotel yet with loads going for it as a holiday getaway, the Southern Sun offers some great family packages for the summer season. Centrally located, it’s handy for families looking to explore the UAE capital’s myriad tourist attractions.

Location
This hotel is as central as it gets, on Al Mina Street in Abu Dhabi’s Central Business District. It’s a 10-minute walk from the Abu Dhabi Corniche and attractions such as the Emirates Palace and Grand Mosque are a short drive away. It’s 30-minutes from the airport.

Facilities and food
Six lounges and restaurants serve everything from Arabic cuisine to light snacks, burgers and Wagyu steak. Children’s menus and in-room dining are available and there’s a rooftop gym and pool deck. The hotel can also arrange watersports.

Rooms
Rooms here are comfortable and modern yet with traditional silks and Arabic touches. The best ones offering views over The Corniche. The family rooms have interconnecting rooms (one king deluxe and one twin deluxe) and will sleep a family of four.

Why it’s great for families
This is one of the best family-friendly resorts offering value-for-money packages. This summer, up to two children under 12 can eat free and kids under six can stay at no extra charge. The shops and cafes of the Tourist Club Area are ideal for families on holiday.

Click here to find our current prices and book your family escape

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