1 Do Dhabi
Fancy checking out the capital this summer? With the six-week Summer in Abu Dhabi festival, the world-renowned Big Apple Circus performing and a spectacular Fantasy on Ice show, it’s worth making a weekend of it. A stay at the Abu Dhabi Hilton includes access to the Beach Club with its private beach, swimming pools, splash pool and water slides, plus watersports, sightseeing and boat trips as well as sporty classes for kids. Book a room before August 8 (valid until September 30) and get a third off the best available rate, with one child under 18 staying for free and discounts on kids’ dining.
(02 681 1900; email@example.com).
Other Dhabi deals include the bargainous OnetoOne Hotel where you can get a room from just Dhs299 per night with kids under 12 staying for free and great meal discounts too.
(02 495 2000; www.onetoonehotels.com).
2 Zighy zig aaahh
We always thought luxury eco-retreat Zighy Bay in Oman was definitely a sans enfants destination, but, apparently, this award-winning Six Senses resort is perfect for families and even has kids’ activities and a centrally-located kids’ club. During the summer, you can stay for two nights, paying for just one and with kids under 12 staying and eating for free. Bliss out at the spa, chill out by the sprawling pool, veg out in the the library or stretch out in your villa, complete with private pool. Sheer heaven.
Offer valid until Aug 31, 2010. (+968 26 735 555; firstname.lastname@example.org).
3 Man from Atlantis
Just down the road, the pink palace at the end of the Palm has a great offer to keep families cool this summer. Atlantis’ Summer Sizzler hotel rate starts at just Dhs895 per room, per night and includes a complimentary day at the Kids’ Club with supervised activity programmes. Older kids can enjoy a free pass to Club Rush – a great, adult-free place for teens to hang out in the music lounge, play the latest game consoles or watch a movie. All guests receive free access to Aquaventure and The Lost Chambers as well as preferential rates on dolphin interaction at Dolphin Bay.
Valid until Sep 9, a minimum stay may apply at weekends. (04 426 1000; email@example.com).
4 Catch the breeze in Musandam
If you’re in desperate need of fresh air, check out the summer deals at Sheesa Beach Dhow Cruises and up your oxygen quota with some wonderfully wafty sea breezes. Enjoy swimming, snorkelling, beach-combing, traditional fishing and plenty of rest and relaxation amid amazing Musandam scenery, with meals, drinks and all equipment included. A shared dhow cruise costs Dhs130 per person per day, half price for kids aged five to 12 and free for nippers aged four and under. Or get together with other stuck-in-Dubai families and rent your own dhow. You’ll need around 15-18 to take advantage of deals starting from Dhs2,000 for the day up to Dhs10,000 for a two-night, two-day whopper of an adventure, including all meals and activities, as well as a speedboat for fishing and beach trips.
Offers valid until the first day of Eid, September 2010. (050 3336046/050 740 9463; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.sheesabeach.com).
5 Sandy pants
The pure white beach at Ajman’s Kempinski Hotel has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful in the UAE. See for yourself with the hotel’s Family Affair package where the entire clan can enjoy full-board accommodation from Dhs333 per person per night (kids under 12 stay for free). This rate includes free access to the Kempi Kids’ club, a voucher for two hours of bowling at the onsite Cosmic Bowling Centre with drinks and popcorn thrown in. If you’re tempted to stay for a week or more, then it may be worth forking out for the Kempi summer camp with its Around the World in 30 Days theme introducing new countries, cultures, songs and cuisines to the nippers.
Offer valid until September 30. (06 714 5531; email@example.com).
6 Jebel Ali jolly
Two days at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa will feel like a real break from Dubai – and it’s only a 20-minute drive down the road. We’re big fans of the lush, beachfront location of the Palm Tree Court & Spa, where adults can stay for Dhs495 per person, including breakfast and your choice of lunch or dinner. Up to two children under 12 years can stay for free, and there’s plenty to keep them occupied should mum and dad want to take advantage of the spa or nine-hole golf course. Apart from three temperature-controlled swimming pools, there’s a diving centre, camel rides, horse riding and more watersports than you can fling a rubber ring at. There’s also a great kids’ club that caters for nippers aged four to 14, with evening cinema sessions for teens and tweens, so mum and dad can relax with a cocktail in one of the 15 top restaurants.
Offer valid until July 31. (04 8145555; firstname.lastname@example.org).
7 Fun in Fujairah
Enjoy a pleasant two-hour drive through the Hajar mountains to reach the Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, where beaches, watersports, diving, a huge swimming pool and a kids’ and teens’ club are more than enough to keep the little ’uns happy, while a gym, spa and superb dining options will slap a smile on mum and dad’s faces. Take advantage of a midweek deal for just Dhs349 per person, including breakfast and lunch or dinner. Up to two kids under 12 years old stay and eat for free. During Ramadan, if you book for two nights, you’ll get a third night free, midweek only.
(09 244 9000; email@example.com).
8 Animal antics
If heading to the night zoo at Al Ain Wildlife Park (and believe us, you should) then ditch the long schlep back to Dubai and flop into a comfy bed instead. The Hilton Al Ain offers a two-night stay, including breakfast, complimentary passes to the Wildlife Park and the skating rink at Bawadi Mall and an 8pm checkout from Dhs699 per room. (03 706 7165; www.hilton.com/alain) while the nearby Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet has family rooms for Dhs551 per night including breakfast. Perched atop the UAE’s tallest mountain with breathtaking desert views, three pools, mini golf, playground and table tennis, staff are happy to organise trips to the Wildlife Park. Al Ain Rotana is also offering rooms from Dhs495 per night.
9 RAK attack
At first glance, Ras Al Khaimah’s Banyan Tree Al Wadi looks rather plush for rugrats, but this desert resort has plenty to amuse the entire family, including tented villas, private pools, nature activities and desert adventures. After running the nippers ragged, mum and dad can indulge in some well-earned pampering at the hydrothermal wellness spa. The Summer of Indulgence promotion means guests enjoy one free night with every two paid nights, as well as use of the hydrothermal wellness facilities. Book to stay before September 28 and choose a freebie from a round of golf, a three-course dinner, a 90-minute massage session or a private falconry show in the nature reserve.
From Dhs2,130 per night, with breakfast. (07 206 7777; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Elsewhere, you can try the RAK Hilton Resort & Spa with its soft white beach, six pools, including two shaded kids’ pools, and a new kids’ club with age-appropriate sections and supervised games. Rooms with breakfast cost Dhs699 at weekends, Dhs499 during the week, with kids under 12 staying free and grub for under sixes thrown in.
(07 228 8844; www.rasalkhaimahresort.hilton.com).
10 Summer monsoon
No, we’re not talking about flowery dresses from the fashion chain, we’re talking about monsoon rain, lush green landscapes and a delicious temperature drop just a short flight away. Fly Oman Air (www.omanair.com) to Salalah from Dhs1,600 per person, then check into the Crowne Plaza, which has double rooms from OMR62 (approx Dhs590) per night until July 14 and from August 16-August 31 (+968 23 235 333; www.cpsalalah.com).
The Hilton Salalah Resort has rooms from around OMR50 (approx Dhs477) per night (+968 23 211 234).