Travelling to far-flung destinations with little people in tow can be quite the mammoth under-taking. So, keep it close to home with these kid-friendly daycations – where sun, sand and sea, plus the odd swim-up bar for mum and dad – ensure all the pros, without the cons.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
We’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t need to check in at five-star Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort to soak up the sun and enjoy the sandy private beach – or to take a dip in the 50-metre long infinity pool, just steps from the seashore. The kids’ club has a play area, a sandpit, a little plunge pool, a television area and a crafts corner. Children aged four and over can be left unsupervised, but the littlest ones need to have a parent with them.
Dhs105 (kids three-15), Dhs270 (adults). Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (04 567 8888).
Club Mina, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Hit the white sandy private beach or lounge around not one, not two, but five different pools. Not only that, but kids go free all day, every day to the pools. And with Le Méridien Family Kids’ Club offering younger guests an indoor and outdoor play area, that includes a music room, soft play, Lego wall and a large outdoor area for cycling, football and sand play, it leaves mums and dads to be as active or as chilled out as they like. Club Mina facilities include tennis courts, a fully-equipped water sports centre, where you’ll find both motorised and non-motorised activities, and a state-of-the-art gym.
Free (kids under four), Dhs125 (kids with Dhs50 redeemable on food and drink), Dhs220 (adults with Dhs100 redeemable on food and drink). Sun-Thu. Free (kids under four), Dhs150 (kids four-12 with Dhs50 redeemable on food and drink), Dhs310 (adults with Dhs100 redeemable on food and drink). Fri & Sat. Dubai Marina, Dubai (04 318 1420).
Lapita, Dubai Parks & Resorts
Say ‘aloha’ to the Dayaction Luau, a Friday feast (10am-6pm) with full-day pool access for Dhs99. The special pass includes access to the kids’ club during brunch for youngsters aged four to 12 as well as passes for the whole crew to the ‘Mahi Mahi’ family lagoon-style pool, the lazy river and the kids pool complete with splash park. Once the littles one have had their fill of fun in the sun, deposit them in the safe hands of the welcoming staff at the on-site kids’ club. But that’s not all, the price you pay is redeemable against your choice of food in all-day dining eatery Ari where you can hit the various live cooking stations or make it personal and go à la carte. Mums and dads can also take advantage of the buy one get one free offer on selected beverages between 6pm and 7pm to round off their day – it doesn’t get much better than that. Actually it does, mums could head off to Ola Spa for a little me-time. Any other day of the week you can take the brood and hit the pool for Dhs99 (adult) while kids under 12 are absolutely free. And there’s a 30 percent discount in any of the Lapita restaurants. What can we say except,
Free (kids under 12), Dhs99 (adults). Daily 8am until sunset. Advance booking is essential. Dubai Parks and Resorts, Dubai (04 810 9421).
Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa
For Dhs200 (adults) and Dhs100 (kids four-12) during the week, and Dhs250 (adults) and Dhs125 (kids four-12) at the weekend, you can head down to this five-star property for a day of relaxation. And with three long swimming pools to take a plunge in – a splash pool, a kids pool, direct beach access, 19 acres of landscaped gardens and views across the Arabian Gulf – what more could you want? Actually, we know what makes it even better, the fact that the full amount is redeemable on refreshments – so go ahead and tuck right in. The pocket-friendly day out is perfect for the whole tribe, with children under four going absolutely free.
Free (kids under four), Dhs100 (kids aged four-12), Dhs200 (adults). Sun-Thu 9am-8pm. Free (kids under four), Dhs125 (kids aged four-12), Dhs250 (adults). Fri & Sat 8am-8pm. Al Mamsha Street, Dubai (04 399 5555).
Marriott Hotel Al Forsan Abu Dhabi
Having one of the largest swimming pools in the capital means hours of splashing fun for little swimmers – and we all know that the longer they are playing in the pool, the easier, and earlier, bedtime will be. The kids’ zone is also a huge hit with energetic little ones of all ages where an adventure playground, sand pit and colourful splash park sit right next to the kids’ club (football tables and PlayStations are ideal to keep older children entertained) leaving parents to gather around the swim-up bar and enjoy a refreshing beverage or two. As an added bonus, Chill and Grill is running every Saturday this month between 12pm and 6pm, so you can fill up on barbecue bites for Dhs169 (adult) and Dhs85 (kids six-12) and get access to the pool absolutely free.
Dhs100. Sun-Thu. Dhs125. Fri & Sat. Daily, 6am-sunset. Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi (02 201 4000).
Rixos The Palm Dubai
Head right down to the end of the Palm’s East Crescent for this total childrens’ haven. Three pools, a private beach and an extensive list of restaurants aside, the Rixy Kids Club is the main deal. This ultra kiddie-friendly hot spot has various zones for little ones of varying ages and an itinerary that will keep them happy and out of trouble for hours on end. From hip-hop lessons to Zumba and rhythm edutainment (drumming sessions) to keep them active, plus learning to make sushi and doll-making this is where the mini magic really happens. Older kids can also have fun at Rixy Kids Club’s Junior Town, which is home to an outdoor shaded pool with splash zones and water slides. And a very comfy-looking nap room means tiny tots can catch their forty winks in peace. We’re sold.
Free (kids under six), Dhs90 (kids six-12), Dhs179 (adults) Sun-Thu. Free (kids under six), Dhs125 (kids six-12), Dhs249 (adults). Fri & Sat. East Crescent, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (04 457 5555).
Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
This Polynesian-style resort is always popular even in the hottest months, probably because there are six temperature-controlled swimming pools to take your pick from – that, and the fact that one of them has a super cool slide that even the smallest daycationers will love. Little thrill-seekers can kayak, paddle-board or snorkel just off the shoreline, while a splash zone is heaps of fun for younger children. The lively Amura Kids Club is situated right next to the kids’ pool and is hugely popular with children – and parents. Plus the 10 percent discount makes it even more appealing. There is also 20 percent off the Aqua Bounce activity course (just a few metres out into the sea), which will be a huge hit with the older energetic kids. It may all sound too good to be true, but it gets even better with over half the cost of the day pass being redeemable on food and drink throughout the day. What’s not to love?
Free (kids under five), Dhs110 (kids aged five-12 with Dhs64 redeemable on food and drink), Dhs275 (adults with Dhs150 redeemable on food and drink). Sun-Thu 9am-6pm. Free (kids under five), Dhs120 (kids aged five-12 with Dhs74 redeemable on food and drink), Dhs325 (adults with Dhs200 redeemable on food and drink). Fri & Sat 9am-6pm. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (04 455 6677).
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
With 200m of private beach and two swimming pools, plus a dedicated kids’ pool, this family-friendly hotel is the ideal weekend beach day destination. Drop the brood off at the kids’ club when they’ve had enough fun in the sun while you enjoy some relaxation time. Or, if you’re feeling lively you can get the family together for some leisure activities. The water sports centre offers kayaking, snorkelling, pedal boating, wind-surfing and water skiing – should you feel adventurous.
Free (kids under three), Dhs105 (kids three-15), Dhs315 (adults). Daily 7am-7pm. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (04 818 2222).
Wavebreaker Beach Club
This is a great destination for active sporty kid who lare constantly on the go and need to burn off energy. Pool and beach access is included in the day pass price, but this is so much more than a day chilling on the sand. Beach volleyball, football and a slew of other cool activities are laid on by the enthusiastic, energetic staff, to keep little ones busy. And that’s not all, because the play zone – with a fun, colourful adventure playground right on the sand – is every small child’s dream.
Free (kids under six), Dhs90 (kids six-13), Dh180 (adults). Daily 7am-7pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR, The Walk, Dubai (04 318 2999).
FREE FAMILY FUN
The sprawling 13.4 million square feet beachfront development in Dubai’s Jumeirah 1 with more than 130 restaurants, cafés, ice cream parlours, shops and a cinema, has everything to keep everyone from the little kids right up to the big kids entertained, fed and watered from sun up to sun down – and beyond!
Free, Jumeirah 1, Dubai (800 637 227).
STAY AND PLAY
JA The Resort, Jebel Ali
Yes, you could certainly enjoy a daycation at JA The Resort Jebel Ali, but actually there is so much to do for the whole family, that one day doesn’t really give you enough time to cram it all in. So we say, stay! With horse-riding, watersports, tennis, swimming, fishing, mini golf or hanging out in the kids’ play area at their finger tips, they won’t want to leave anyway. And while they’re doing that, mums and dads can head to the spa, the swim up bar or simply relax by the pool or on the beach, mocktail in hand. Job done.
From Dhs1,260 for one night based on a family of four with two children under 12 sharing a Junior Suite at JA Lake View Hotel, Jebel Ali, Jaresortshotels.com.
THE ULTIMATE FAMILY DAYCATION
If you haven’t heard of Privilee, where have you been? School drop off is literally buzzing with mums and dads waxing lyrical about it and deciding which hotel they are heading to at the weekend including the various reasons why – the determining factor of a vast majority seem to be made purely on whether there is a kids’ club. Membership (one adult membership includes access for two children under 12) gives the whole gang access to more than 50 of the most luxurious beach clubs across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, 25 of which have kids’ clubs. And when family or friends come to visit, you can get them their own pass for Dhs289 per week. We are sold.
From Dhs529 per month (adult). www.privilee.ae (04 554 7820).
FAMILY ROAD TRIP
Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah
It has one of the biggest kids’ pools around, perfect for less confident swimmers, and a dedicated kids’ club (with its own pool and splash park) where kids four and over can be left under the watchful eyes of the friendly staff, plus various activities from dance performances to arts and crafts workshops.
Rope courses and a long stretch of sandy beach complete with water sports provide some high-adrenalin action. Now here’s the best bit. It’s usually only checked-in guests staying at the resort who get access to this child-friendly paradise, but between Wednesday, November 20 and Sunday, November 24, a special daycation package is on the cards so that non-hotel guests can join in the fun. But that’s not all, kids under 14 get access to all of it absolutely free. Road trip here you come.
Free (kids under 14), Dhs240 (adults). Wed Nov 20-Sun Nov 24. Anajaimat, Dibba Road, Fujairah (09 244 9000).