SEVEN STAR DUBAI
No one does extreme luxury quite like Dubai, so if better than the best is all that’s good enough for your family, one of these hotels is where you’ll find it.
Once upon a time, Dubai was visited only as a stop over destination, but with some of the world’s most reputable airlines, such as Qantas and Emirates, flying there, and good connections with Abu Dhabi from Etihad, a wealth of innovative five star activities and some of the world’s most luxurious properties, it is fast becoming much more than that.
BURJ AL ARAB
From the moment you arrive at the Burj Al Arab in your choice of helicopter, Rolls Royce or Mercedes transfer, to when you lay your head down in one of the 202 luxuriously appointed suites, the whole family, no matter how young, will be feeling spoilt rotten.
The property’s family-friendly facilities are as luxurious as its rooms. While mum and dad are indulging in the Assawan Spa & Health Club or one of the nine restaurants and bars, the exclusive Sinbad’s Kids’ Club will entertain the little ones. Sinbad’s is staffed by professional carers and is complimentary for in-house guests. Children aged one to 12 will have a whale of a time in the playroom with its plethora of toys, board games, books, computer games and creative activities, and for those who feel a little sleepy after all their play, there is a cosy, quiet bedroom with a bed and cot. Private dining comes as part of the club, so the kids will fill up on delicious, nutritious cuisine. In fact, the seven star meal experience extends to all the restaurants, most of which have children’s menus.
The Burj Al Arab is for the family with expensive tastes looking for the ‘cherry on top’ of everything, and with its seven star attitude, you’ll be hard pressed to be disappointed.
Main image: The stunning Burj Al Arab
Top and bottom above: Burj Al Arab exterior
and underwater dining interior
From above: Helicopter views of Atlantis The Palm
Playing with dolphins
The kids' club get close to the marine life at Atlantis The Palm
ATLANTIS THE PALM
Atlantis is one of the most compelling myths still intriguing scientists today, but Atlantis the Palm, which enjoys an unofficial seven star rating, is a very real above-water family-friendly resort inspired by the myth and full to-the-brim with magical and memorable family experiences.
With its submerged-theme, it is unsurprising that Atlantis the Palm is renowned for its water-based adventures. Dolphin Bay offers various bottle-nosed encounters for dolphin-lovers of all ages; Aquaventure Waterpark is over flowing with rides, slides and animal encounters including the Shark Safari underwater exploration and Cownose Ray Feeding. The Lost Chambers Aquarium brings to life the Atlantis myth and is visually stunning, and there is even scuba diving exploration for those brave enough to dive in.
For when mum and dad want some stress-free alone time, there are plenty of safe and fun options for the kids to make this happen. The Kids’ Club is available for littlies aged three to 12, and includes the Underwater Theatre, letting them see what life is like ‘under the sea’, and the Play Zone with climbing walls for all ages. Club Rush is designed for kids aged 13 to 18, and features a Mocktail Bar and Chill-Out Lounge with games and music. Professional nannies and babysitters can also look after your kids in-room.
Atlantis the Palm is the epitome of seven star, family-friendly, and once you’ve found it, you may not want to resurface.
FIVE STAR BUCKET LIST FOR FAMILIES IN DUBAI
Penguin Encounterwww.skidubaipenguins.comPenguin encounters may not be what you would expect from Dubai, but that’s exactly what you’ll find. A private VIP session of flightless fun includes underwater viewing and ‘play and train’.
Hire a private 4x4 and professional driver to take you on a desert adventure. Activities include desert-disturbing dune drives, camel riding, belly dancing and henna painting.
Basket and Balloon
Appreciate Dubai’s diverse landscape from a wicker basket, hundreds of metres in the air. Private hot air balloon charter shows off the desert’s panorama and includes hotel transfers, in-air refreshments and flight certificate.
Exclusive Helicopter Tour
If a balloon is not quite daring enough, see Dubai with exclusive chopper hire. An hour gets you a tour of all Dubai’s major sights including Burj Al Arab and The Palm, Dubai World Central, and Jumeirah Mosque.
Desert Conservation Reserve
www.ddcr.orgThe Reserve is a hub of wildlife experiences like camel-trekking on the ‘ships of the desert’, falconry, and wildlife drives spotting herds of Arabian Oryx. Also, feast on a ‘dune dinner’ in a Bedouin camp.
www.atlantisthepalm.comThe Royal Swim at Atlantis the Palm is the ultimate bottle-nosed experience. Be ‘nosed’ and pulled along the lagoon, and create a personal connection with hugs and ‘hand’-holding.
At the Top
www.burjkhalifa.aeNot for the acrophobic, the Observation Deck on the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, has floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a dizzying 360 degree view of the city and far, far beyond.
www.dubaiautodrome.comThe UAE is renowned for high-speed racing, and the Dubai Autodrome is no exception. ‘Play around’ on the Autodrome circuit and, for the slightly less insane, make the most of the Kartdrome.
www.theplaymania.com/skidubaiIf the heat becomes too much, chill out at Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort. It offers skiing, boarding, tobogganing, a giant ball and tube slides, and of course, hot chocolate.
The Persian Gulf is full of intriguing wrecks waiting to be explored. Discover Scuba Diving includes theory, water-training and a choice between a beach, boat, or exclusive dive in the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo’s ten million litre, shark-inhabited tank.
DUBAI CITY GUIDE
For even more five star suggestions for Dubai, check out the ideas in our city guide!