We’ve known our days in Dubai have been numbered for a little while now. A combination of work projects coming to an end, and a desire to be closer to family with two small children under our wings means that we’re moving back to the UK. This week!
We’re so sad to leave, but with the strong possibility of returning in the not-too-distant-future, we’re glad we don’t need to be saying any dreaded final goodbyes to everything and everyone we’ve come to know and love over the past six years of calling this magical place home.
Having had the end in sight since summer, my husband and I vowed that we’d make the last few months here some epic ones. So aside from the shifting country stress, they have been! Remarkably so.
And it’s with many thanks to Privilee that this has been the case!
If you haven’t heard of Privilee, well, allow me to introduce you. Privilee is a lifestyle membership card, which gives you exclusive access to the finest five-star hangouts in the UAE. These hangouts include hotel pools and beaches, a selection of lush restaurants, and gym access to some of the best clubs around.
For me, there is no better way to enjoy the warming glaze of the sun with a healthy dose of “vitamin sea”. With our Privilee passes in hand then, the clan and I set out this early season to discover some of the most fabulous, kid-friendly destinations that this ultimate membership has to offer!
The Top Five
With over a dozen hotels to choose from, the opportunity was rife! Including names such as The Palace Downtown Dubai, Waldorf Astoria, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi and more, we visited as many as we could (oh, the hardship, I know!) to bring you our top five kid-parent-friendly destinations.
#1 – Waldorf Astoria, Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Where? East Crescent Rd, Palm Jumeirah
What’s It Like? A spacious, luxurious hotel with a contemporary edge, the Waldorf Astoria exudes elegance while remaining unpretentious and thoroughly welcoming for families. The spacious pool allows enough space for kids to splash and play games, while others lap the swimming space. The beach is pure and pristine, with beautiful views looking towards Dubai Marina.
Who Is It Good For? People (read parents) who want to wind down and relax. It’s a tranquil place and the double sun loungers (which are also free) can keep you there for hours.
Kids Club? Yes! The supervised Coco’s Kids Club welcomes children aged 3 to 12 years old. Keeping your kids well entertained (if, unlike mine, they agree to let go of your ankles) the hotel offers a variety of activities keep them smiling, and, ah-hem, out of your way!
#2 – Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort & Spa
Where? East Crescent Rd, Palm Jumeirah
What’s It Like? A stunning Polynesian themed hotel with the capability to whisk you off on holiday (well, for the day at least with your Privilee card!)
Who Is It Good For? EVERYONE! There were people of all ages and nationalities at the poolside. Boasting 500 meters of beautiful white beach sand, plus six family-friendly pools around the large resort, there is a little piece of Polynesian bliss for everyone at this fab hotel.
Kids Club? Yes! Send the gremlins off to Amura Kids Club which will keep them entertained with dancing fountains, fun slides, books, toys and creative activities. Don’t forget to take them along to the kids’ pool either, where two fantastic slides will keep them busy for hours (*Mama…give that task to Dad and go chill!)
#3 – Rixos, The Palm Dubai
Where? East Crescent Rd, Palm Jumeirah (*the very very end…ye go past Rixos, ye gone too far!)
What’s It Like? Ahhh, just lovely! The hotel is bright, fresh and energizing, while the grounds feel chilled and relaxed with tree-lined paths and grassed areas.
Who Is It Good For? Parents…who want to forget that they are parents. The adult-only pool is oh-so-lovely with its flowing water and plunge pools, while the main pool plays chilled beats to sip a mojito (or three) to.
Kids Club? The ever-so-cute Rixy Kids Club is a colourful little space with lovely climbing frames, a sweet little plunge pool, and an indoor area for kids to enjoy magic shows, cooking classes, handicrafts, treasure hunting and more.
#4 – Fairmont, The Palm
Where? Palm Jumeirah
What’s It Like? Looking onto Dubai Marina’s skyline, Fairmont The Palm is an easily accessible spot for families. There is, however, currently a bit of building work next to the beach which disturbs what would otherwise be a tranquil little spot.
Who Is It Good For? Overlooking the building work, Fairmont The Palm rated on our top-list for one main reason – the kids splash pad! Set in a shaded spot to the side of the hotel, the pad entertained the biggest kid for ages, while also allowing a safe space for the littlest kid to crawl around and play. The pool adjacent is also lovely for a relaxed little Mum & Dad swim.
Kids Club? Situated next to the splash pad, the Fairmont Falcons Kids’ Club offers a great range of activities to keep kidlings from age 18 months and up entertained.
#5 – Kempinski Hotel & Residences, Palm Jumeirah
Where? Crescent West, Palm Jumeirah
What’s It Like? An extravagant hotel situated on the ‘quiet’ end of the palm, the Kempinski boats a beautiful lagoon beach looking onto some rather stunning looking mansions. With a large pool and sweeping green grassy areas, this destination is perfect for long afternoon getaways.
Who Is It Good For? Exhausted parents that just. need. a. break. Yes its great for kids too with nice climbing frames, but having escaped for the day with the hubster, I’d pin this one as a lovely place for those seeking the quiet zone.
Kids Club? The Kempinski Kids Club has a lovely little playground and pool to keep the gremlins entertained while you, ahem, try to relax. With a fun twist, kids can also enjoy things such a ‘mermaid lessons’, cooking classes, as well as both indoor and outdoor activities to suit all seasons.
Others Destinations To Note…
There are so many awesome destinations to explore with Privilee UAE. So much so that we didn’t get around them all, because we found that we a) returned multiple times to our favourite places noted above, and b) ran out of time with busy weekend schedules which have, to date, mainly involved packing up the house and moving countries (Gah! Never was a full beach day more needed).
There have been places we desperately wanted to visit in Abu Dhabi, but just never managed to. Instead I thought I would note some special ones here, should you find the time to get to them instead!
The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina – go for the sprawling grounds and lovely restaurants!
Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina – a place that will always be close to my youthful heart, because, err, Barasti.
Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort – go for the giant pool!
Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club – go for a lovely family afternoon involving pool, horses, nice food and an outdoor cinema. And oh, throw in a spa treat while you’re at it!
The Palace Downtown Dubai – go for the beautiful local vibes. And the ridiculously lovely smell of the hotel lobby!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai Jumeirah Beach – go for its ease and chilled vibe.
The Address Dubai Marina – go for the gym!
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi – go for an escape. And the kids slides!
Saadiyat Beach Club – go for the sunshine, but then the culture – why not throw in a trip to Lourve Abu Dhabi while you’re there…
So yes, we’re flying home this weekend! Will we be returning to Dubai? Yes, it looks like it, if my husband’s new project goes ahead. And will we be returning to Privilee? Oh good god yes! And I can’t wait!