​​Whether you’re looking for a spectacular city break, a desert escape or a fun-filled beach holiday, the United Arab Emirates is the ideal destination for an exciting family vacation (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

​​Whether you’re looking for a spectacular city break, a desert escape or a fun-filled beach holiday, the United Arab Emirates is the ideal destination for an exciting family vacation. In Dubai’s bigger, brighter, better city of superlatives, you can flip between cutting-edge attractions and basking in the sunshine on the beach. Abu Dhabi, the UAE's capital, offers families the chance to soak up the sights in both the skyscraping city and the wilds of the desert beyond. The emirate of Fujairah, meanwhile, scenically squeezed between the jagged Hajar Mountains and the warm waters of the Gulf, is a wonderful place for children to snorkel and scuba dive.

Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah

Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai is perfect for families visiting this iconic corner of Dubai – its own stretch of immaculate private beach is just one of the family-friendly features (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

Nothing captures the sheer creative extravagance of Dubai quite like Palm Jumeirah, the man-made island that fans out from Downtown Dubai. Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai offers the opportunity both to stay at this iconic destination and to easily access some of the best things to do in Dubai.

There’s a choice of sparkling new rooms for families at the resort – the hotel only opened recently – with both the Palm Deluxe Family Room and Palm Family Suite boasting private balconies to enjoy views of the Arabian Gulf and the city’s futuristic skyline. Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai is set on a stretch of immaculate private beach and has a range of swimming pools, including a children’s pool, plus a kids’ club.

The hotel’s ten restaurants will vie for your attention come meal times, although most children will find it hard to look past the home-made pasta and pan-fried pizza at Cucina and the Mediterranean dishes at Levantera, which has a designated kids’ buffet. For dessert – or a midday treat – you can’t go wrong with a scoop or two of Naples-style ice cream from Cucina’s gelateria.

Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi

camel in a desert

With its desert-edge location, Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi promises both comfort and adventure (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

Set on the edge of desert just 45 minutes’ drive from Abu Dhabi's Corniche, the sublime Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi enjoys a stunningly spacious setting. The vast Al Wathba desert is a natural playground for children, an arena for camel rides and explorations by Fat Bike, and a superb spot for stargazing.

Downtime can be enjoyed in the hotel’s palm-fringed pools, before watching the sun turn the rolling dunes to burnt orange at day’s end. Accommodation for families is in spacious two-bedroom suites or villas, many of which have their own jacuzzi or pool, or in sumptuous, three-bedroom Royal Villas, set in their own compound and with spacious living areas and a private plunge pool from where you can gaze out across the dunes.

Despite the tranquil setting, you’re just a short drive from the rides of Yas Island’s theme parks, while a visit to the equally accessible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort

Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort 2.jpg

Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort offers an extraordinary range of activities to keep its younger guests busy (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

There are few hotels in the UAE that serve families as well as Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort. One of the most spectacular in the Emirate, the hotel provides an extraordinary range of activities to keep its younger guests busy. If you can tempt your kids away from the stretch of golden beach that runs along Fujairah’s east coast or the huge free-form swimming pool, then there’s the Al Aqah Challenge for them to tackle, two zip lines plus walls for climbing and abseiling. A couple of kids’ clubs, one specifically for teens, offer a host of organised activities.

The hotel has its own PADI Dive Centre, and exploring Fujairah’s colourful reefs and historic wrecks on one of their guided trips is one of the top things to do in the UAE; you might even spot a whale shark. Families can either opt for Deluxe guestrooms, which come with a king-size bed and a sofa bed, or an Executive Suite, with separate lounge and dining areas and a handy kitchenette, plus private terrace overlooking the glittering Gulf of Oman.

Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark

waterpark in Dubai

With its own on-site waterpark and proximity to Mall of the Emirates, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark will keep all members of the family content (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

You’re in the heart of the action at Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark, set within Dubai's exclusive Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) area. The resort is especially good for families that are fond of watersports and retail therapy, with everything from parasailing to paddleboarding available from the operators in JBR, plus some of the best shopping in Dubai on offer at the monumental Mall of the Emirates. And that’s all in addition to the resort’s own Jungle Bay Waterpark, featuring mat-racer rides and body slides, an Aqua Play area and a large wave pool.

The hotel’s complimentary kids’ club gives parents the chance to try one of the on-site day-spa treatments or to enjoy a romantic meal at Fish, its Aegean-themed seafood restaurant, or at Bounty Beets, one of the most memorable outdoor dining experiences in the Middle East.

Away from the hotel, children will enjoy whizzing to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and one of the best family-friendly attractions in Dubai, and exploring KidZania and SEGA Republic in nearby Dubai Mall, whose 1200 stores make it a real “only-in-Dubai” experience.

Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection

theme parks, Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection

Set amid a cluster of theme parks, Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection promises family fun galore (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

You’ll need a gloriously extended stay at Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection if you want to take in all five of the theme parks that lie just a short walk away. There’s plenty to do at the resort, too, including two family pools and a lazy river.

After riding Madagascar Mad Pursuit at MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, taking on The Joker at LEGOLAND® Water Park and flying around on the world’s tallest swing ride at BOLLYWOOD PARKS™ Dubai, you’ll want a peaceful space to return to – and Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection has plenty of those to offer. The main hotel has interconnecting guest rooms perfect for families, or you can enjoy the extra room and privacy that comes with the Family Suite and the range of beautiful villas, each with their own garden and private plunge pool.

The resort has an attractive Polynesian-inspired design, most notable in its impressive lobby and the carved decor of the Kalea restaurant, a popular spot for families thanks to its expansive buffet and the option to eat at any time of the day.

Published: January 24, 2023

Article Tags:  Abu Dhabi , Dubai , United Arab Emirates

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