It’s Christmas! Very nearly anyway. And with all this festive cheer filling the air, it’s time to start thinking about filling something else, namely your tummies. So, if spending the most wonderful day of the year slaving over a hot stove doesn’t appeal (we don’t blame you at all) then check out our list of the most family-friendly Christmas day brunches to save you the hassle – not to mention the washing up! Merry Christmas.
Perfect for visitors
Head to the desert for a dazzling wonderland and a traditional festive feast. At Al Forsan kids can run free on the grass or head to the incredible play area where camels and ponies are waiting to give them a ride around the grounds. A bouncy castle, magician, a special kids buffet and plenty of fun games also keep little people entertained and out of trouble. And things get even better when Santa makes a surprise appearance with gifts for little diners. A great one if you’ve got visitors.
Free (kids under five), Dhs250 (kids six-12), Dhs495 (soft drinks), Dhs695 (house beverages). Wed Dec 25, 1pm-5pm. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Al Qudra Road, www.babalshams.com (04 809 6194).
A Christmas buffet with al fresco views
of the Dubai Creek? Sign us up. Boardwalk will be putting on a festive feast on the big day, filled with classic Christmas dishes, including a roast with all the trimmings. Pass us those roast potatoes.
Free (kids six and below), Dhs185 (kids six-12), Dhs335 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (house beverages), Dhs595 (sparkling). Wed Dec 25, 1pm-4pm. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
One of the best buffet spreads in the city, you can’t go wrong at this glam bumper brunch. Serving up everything from a full roast dinner to a massive seafood counter, if you like the finer things in life this buffet could be a top choice for you and your gang.
Dhs250 (kids five-12), Dhs525 (soft drinks), Dhs675 (house beverages), Dhs925 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 1.30pm-4.30pm. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 316 5550).
There are few things that scream “Christmas in Dubai” than a beachside Christmas lunch. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai’s Caravan restaurant throws an excellent festive brunch and it’s all set in the pretty gardens of the hotel, with the beach and Arabian Gulf within your sights. There’s live entertainment on the terrace, heaps of dishes from chilled seafood and sushi to traditional roasts and a massive cheese counter – and don’t miss those desserts. There’s a special buffet for the little ones as well as a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon animal making and games galore. Get ready for a visit from the jolly man in red, too.
Free (kids under five), Dhs295 (kids six-11), Dhs595 (soft drinks), Dhs695 (house beverages), Dhs895 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 1pm-4pm. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR (04 318 6150).
This family-friendly brunch at Fairmont The Palm is offering whole smoked salmon and Christmas turkey with all the trimmings. And if you have a sweet tooth make a beeline there (via your dentist) as there are mincemeat tarts, panettone bread pudding, festive gingerbread cookies and more. Plus there’s a visit from Santa to look forward to for the youngest diners.
Free (kids under five), Dhs198 (kids six-12), Dhs395 (soft drinks). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4.30pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3457).
Head out of town
Fancy getting away from it all this year? Take a trip out of the city and head to Hatta for the ultimate family-friendly Christmas brunch.
JA Hatta Fort Hotel is throwing a massive buffet with a carving station with traditional stuffed turkey, salmon dishes, a seafood bar with poached prawns, octopus and mussels and classic desserts. Santa will be around for a visit too, so don’t forget to be nice.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages). Wed Dec 25, noon-4pm. JA Hatta Fort Hotel, Hatta (04 809 9333).
Festive baking for kids
This all-day dining eatery’s name means welcome in Tahitian, and it’s greeting the festivities this year with a range of Christmas treats. Oysters? Tick. Caviar? Tick? Roast dinner? Tick. Live music comes from singer-songwriter Lisa Goldin, while there are also loads of kids’ activities to check out, including face painting, bake your own gingerbread and a meet-and-greet with the main man – Mr S. Claus. Plus book before December 20 and you’ll get 15 percent off.
Free (kids under four), Dhs130 (kids five-11), Dhs260 (aged 12-20), Dhs485 (soft drinks), Dhs595 (house beverages). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4pm. Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 455 5656).
Once you’ve all enjoyed a turkey roast with all the usual sides, plus indulged on some festive European sweet treats such as pannetone and stolen, mums and dads can sit back, relax and sup on some warming mulled grape while the little ones head off to the kids’ corner to get stuck into the variety of games and activities on offer.
Free (kids under six), Dhs100 (kids six-12), Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-3.30pm. Mövenpick JLT Cluster A, Dubai, www.movenpick.com (04 438 0000).
With its American Girl Doll zone and LEGO play area, this Friday brunch is already a hit with little ones across the city, throw a festive spin on it and you’ve got a top family Christmas brunch in the Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates. With live entertainment for mums and dads, a tantalising buffet and a terrace to enjoy the perfect weather, plus the big man in red himself will be stopping by to share his season’s greetings, it’s time to be very merry.
Free (kids under six), Dhs145 (kids six-12), Dhs295 (soft drinks). Wed Dec 25, 1pm-5pm. Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, kempinski.com (04 341 0000).
Great for younger kids
Forget decking the halls, deck the, erhm, decks instead. The QE2 will be hosting a huge family-friendly Christmas Day brunch. Taking place on the indoor and outdoor decks, expect a festive buffet and live cooking stations while mini Christmas brunchers can enjoy a host of entertainment courtesy of Santa and his helpers in the enormous indoor play area. Oh, and there’s a live band playing classic Christmas tunes too.
Free (kids under four), Dhs150 (kids four-12), Dhs445 (house beverages). Wed Dec 25, 1pm-4pm. Port Rashid, Mina Rashid (04 526 8811).
Eat, drink and be very, very merry with the whole fam at this glamorous kid-friendly brunch. Sit back and tuck into a traditional roast turkey while the little ones hit the kids’ play area and enjoy some fun festive activities.
Free (kids under five), Dhs260 (kids six-11), Dhs520 (soft drinks). Wed Dec 25 from 1pm. Four Seasons Hotel Jumeirah Beach, 2 Jumeirah Street, Dubai, www.fourseasons.com/dubaijb (04 270 7804).
The Irish Village
Presents from Santa
Pub lunch for Christmas dinner? Yes, please. With a visit from the jolly man in the big red suit, a festive lunch and live Christmassy tunes to get you grooving to that jingle bell rock this is a right festive knees-up for the whole crew. Santa will be coming to pay a visit to all families and will be handing out special gifts to little ones aged two to 12.
Free (kids under two), Dhs99 (kids two-12), Dhs199 (food only). Wed Dec 25, noon-4pm. The Irish Village, Garhoud (04 282 4750).
Gather the gang as the Festive Family Feast will offer up three and a half hours of classic Christmas grub, drinks, a huge kids’ buffet, supervised play area and a visit from Santa, who is bringing gifts for the little ones. There are 40 different types of desserts, including what’s being described as Dubai’s “biggest panettone cake” as well as a huge Christmas buffet. There will also be a live band singing all of the classic Christmas tunes. A top choice for families as this picked up a Highly Commended gong at our Time Out Dubai’s Kids Awards Best Family Brunch 2019.
Free (kids under five), Dhs150 (kids fice-12), Dhs400 (soft drinks), Dhs550 (house beverages), Dhs750 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 1pm-4.30pm. Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City (04 435 5577).
The Rose & Crown
Making holly wreaths, creating Christmas tree decorations, and muffin baking are just some of the activities on offer for little ones, plus they want their own menu? They’ve got it, just ask. For the adults it’s traditional turkey roast dinner and free-flowing beverages.
Free (kids under six), Dhs95(kids over six), Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages).Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4pm. The Atrium, Al Habtoor City, Dubai, www.habtoorhospitality.com (04 437 0022).
This restaurant will become a festive wonderland for Christmas brunch. With kids’ entertainment, kids’ club and a visit from Santa, Christmas day here is a capital idea.
From Dhs390 (soft drinks). Wed Dec 25. Four Seasons, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2222).
A huge buffet – complete with live carvery stations – at this all-day dining restaurant features everything you’d hope for for Christmas lunch (and more). A kids club for the little ones means everyone is happy.
Dhs320 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (house beverages), Dhs160 (kids aged five-12). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4pm. Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel, (02 656 1000).
A palatial Christmas spread for little princes and princesses – and their parents. Le Vendome restaurant will be serving up dishes from all around the world, plus the sweetest treats to round off the afternoon.
Dhs450 (soft drinks), Dhs600 (grapes), Dhs700 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-3.30pm. Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road (02 690 9000).
The festive buffet at Khayal is hosted by Santa himself, who’s also bringing along some gifts for the little ones. The feast features live cooking stations, roast meats and all the tasty trimmings to load on your plate.
Free (kids five and under), Dhs125 (kids), Dhs375 (soft drinks) Dhs500 (house beverages), Dhs600 (sparkling).Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4pm. Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Al Forsan International Sports Centre (02 201 4000).
Kids can make a pizza
Throw a little Italian spin on your festivities with an antipasti station, selection of cheese and cold cuts and warm, freshly made artisan bread. But a turkey carving station is also on offer for traditionalists. A surprise visit from Santa and plenty of fun festive activities such as pizza making will entertain the kids.
Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs245 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 12pm-4pm. Pearl Rotana Capital Centre, www.rotana.com (02 307 5555).
Perfect for little kids
The Ritz’s elegant vibes will be complemented with festive cooking stations for Christmas Day brunch at Giornotte restaurant, with favourites including slow-roasted wagyu beef with cranberry sauce and Yorkshire pudding. Got kids with a sweet tooth? Silly question. There are plenty of delicious specialties from the Dolce dessert room And when they’ve had their fill they can enjoy an awesome magic show, plus a visit from Santa and a camel – for a cool Middle Eastern touch.
Free (kids under six), Dhs200 (kids six-11), Dhs399 (soft drinks), Dhs499 (house beverages), Dhs699 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4pm. The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Al Maqta Street (02 818 8282).
If you’re looking for more of a home away from home vibe then The Scene’s Christmas Day brunch will be perfect. It’s a five-course meal with traditional options. Santa and his merry elves will be bringing gifts for little ones on this magical day, and what’s more, Santa says kids under six for free.
Free (kids under five), Dhs99 (kids six-12), from Dhs275 (adults). Wed Dec 25. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, www.thesceneauh.com (02 565 1330).
The À la Carte
If you love traditional Italian dishes, then this is a Christmas dinner for you. Head to BiCE on JBR – where you’ll get a three-course sharing menu. Plus, kids under six get a free meal. Now that’s a present you can’t turn your nose up at.
Free (kids under six), Dhs125 (kids six-12), Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs325 (house beverages), Dhs450 (bubbly). Wed Dec 25, 12.30pm-4pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR (04 318 2520).
Kids under eight eat free
This Mediterranean spot in DIFC is whipping up a special à la carte menu with three-hours of unlimited drinks. Tuck into plates of festive food for Christmas Day, Eve and any other day of the week until January 18, 2020.
Free (kids under eight), Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs590 (premium grape). Until Jan 18, 2020. Daily 9pm-midnight. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 323 1833).
Great for older kids
This family-friendly restaurant wasn’t open last Christmas, but the idea of bowling, pool and the most enormous soft play on Christmas Day sounds top-notch to our crew. And as if that wasn’t enough to keep the smalls entertained, the surf machines should make this a winner in their eyes.
Prices and times vary. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 1000).