If you want to get away this summer but can’t face a flight with the kids, here’s our suggestions for some local staycations that are only a short drive away and offer something for everyone in the family.
Emirates Palace Hotel
Not just a business hotel or a place to take your visitors to the UAE, Emirates Palace Hotel has a huge range of activities for kids of all ages to get stuck into at Sarab Land, the hotel kids club as well as an incredible beach, two swimming pools and staff who are very au fait at dealing with little nippers.
There are activities for kids of all ages at the Kids Club, though only those aged five and up can be dropped off for fully supervised play. Kids younger than five are still welcome to join in, but must be accompanied by a parent. Everything from arts and crafts, face painting, henna, table tennis, foosball, puzzles, water games, football and much more are on offer at the club with many activities taking place inside and out. While the kids are getting busy, mums and dads can relax on the beach, dabble in some watersports or take a lazy camel ride and enjoy a spot of Arabic tea afterwards.
When it comes to food, they have that covered too - there are kids menu’s in every restaurant and babysitting services are also on offer if you feel like enjoying a meal without the kids.
Emirates Palace is offering a special summer package for GCC residents. When staying between May 17th and September 30th, guests enjoy special discounted room rates, complimentary buffet breakfast in Le Vendome Brasserie for two adults, and interconnecting rooms guaranteed at the time of making the reservation.
email@example.com, www.emiratespalace.ae (02 690 8888).
Marjan Island Resort & Spa
Newly opened Marjan Island Resort & Spa prides itself on being a family destination with facilities and activities tailored to both adults and kids. Whether you’re looking for action or relaxation or just some quality time with the brood, there’s something on offer for everyone. From indoor and outdoor sports to a kids ‘club, equipped beach and pools, water sports, a spa retreat floor with separate ladies and gents facilities plus swimming pools, restaurants and spacious suites that are big enough for even the largest families.
All rooms and suites are equipped with mini-fridges, free coffee, tea and water, welcome amenities, and free Wi-Fi and some suites include a fully equipped kitchenette with hotplate. Sterilizers can also be provided on request.
The kids club was not yet opened at the time of writing but is an indoor Pirates’ club and will offer various entertainment options such as video games, board games, billiard and snooker (at extra cost). Sports activities such as football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton are all outside options and take place in the garden. Bicycles are also available for cycling along the hotel boardwalk and fun water sports activities are offered on the private beach at an extra cost.
The hotel also has both indoor and outdoor playgrounds and all dining facilities offer highchairs for tiny tots and special kids’ buffets. There is also a kids menu and the chef is always happy to whip up baby puree or other specific little treats.
When booking with Marjan Island Resort and Spa, little ones under six years stay and eat for free and kids six to 12 years of age receive 50% discount on their stay. Adults’ rates are applicable from 12 years onwards. Marjan Island Guests enjoy 20% discount at Iceland Park (a free shuttle from the hotel to the park is provided) firstname.lastname@example.org, www.marjanislandresort.com (07 203 6500).
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Saadiyat beach is a firm favourite with families, with onsite facilities extensive enough to keep the kids entertained. The kids club ‘Camp Hyatt’ operates all day and is free of charge for hotel guests. There are tennis and volleyball courts, family and baby pools and even a resident marine biologist to help kids investigate the mysteries of nature. All of the restaurants are well-equipped and accustomed to fulfilling kids needs with highchairs and kids menus in each outlet and the chefs are happy to prepare porridge or blended mixed vegetables for babies upon request.
Camp Hyatt is free of charge for hotel guests and patrons, offering both indoor and outdoor activities and a shaded outdoor play area. Babysitting services are also on offer for kids aged 12 months and upwards.
Between May to 31 September guests can enjoy a free night at any of the six Hyatt hotels when booking overnight stays at any of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Hyatt properties. The summer promotions also allow up to two children under the age of 12 with two paying adults to stay free of charge which includes complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner when accompanied by two paying adults.
Abudhabi.email@example.com, www.abudhabi.park.hyatt.com (02 407 1234).
Waldorf Astoria RAK
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is cradled by the Hajar Mountains, a championship golf course, white sandy beaches and the azure waters of the Arabian Sea and is a great getaway spot for families in the UAE.
From the age of three, kids can join in the fun at the fully equipped kids club, which is complimentary for all young guests in the hotel, and has indoor play facilities, climbing frames, a sandpit and much more.
Rooms and suites are not equipped with hotplates or sterilisers, however, each room has a mini bar fridge and the food and beverage team are always on hand to assist families with their requirements. Cots and kids beds are provided at no extra charge and as part of the turn down service personally named cookies and a glass of milk are provided for kids each evening which we’re sure will go down a treat!
There is also a sheltered kid’s pool as part of the main family pool and lifeguards are on duty from sunrise to sunset. If you fancy a night off to relax by yourselves, the hotel have thought of that too and they provide babysitting services on request at an extra cost.
All the restaurants in the hotel have highchairs available and there are kid’s menus too. Parents of picky eaters needn’t worry as specific foods can be requested and the chefs will be happy to do their best to accommodate your little nippers needs.
The kids club is open daily from 9am to 6pm. www.waldorfastoria3.hilton.com (07 203 5555).