Living in England, somewhere over the winter period I feel the need to get away for some much-needed sunshine and warmth. We’ve been to several winter sun destinations over the past few years including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Tenerife and Egypt . My main requirement for a winter sun holiday is that it is hassle-free and have guaranteed sunshine. Of these places, my favourite winter sun destination with the children is Dubai. Here are my five reasons you should take a family holiday to Dubai if you are chasing winter sunshine.
An Easy Destination
First and foremost, the weather is guaranteed sunshine. In addition, there are many flights to Dubai from all over the world. Dubai is served by two Emirati airlines, Emirates and Etihad, who are both on a push to increase their range of flights. Getting around Dubai is easy, too because taxis are plentiful and cheap.
Choice of Accommodation
Accommodation in Dubai ranges from the extraordinary 7 star Burj al-Arab to your standard range of hotels on the whole gamut of 1-5 star range. You also have holiday apartments or Airbnb rentals if you would like cooking options. It’s easy to find something that suits all sorts of visitors from celebrities who want their every whim satisfied to people looking for cheap holidays in the sun.
If you are not a planner, this extensive range of accommodation, means that you can leave booking until late and still have a good range of options. Dubai’s popularity means it is also popular with tour operators. You can get some great deals to Dubai if you look around.
You have a choice of water parks to keep you cool, including Atlantis Aquaventure and Wild Wadi Water Park. We stayed at the Atlantis Hotel and so we were able to nip and out of Aquaventure every day. Staying at the Burj Al-Arab gives you free entry into the Wild Wadi Water Park.
Similar to the Disney concept, Dubai Parks and Resorts has four theme parks and a hotel within it. Legoland, Motionland and Bollywood Park are already opened and the Legoland Water Park is under construction.
Dubai beach holidays wouldn’t be the same without time spent on the beach. Kite Beach and Jumeirah Beach are very user friendly. There are nearby food trucks to keep hunger at bay and you can rent water sports equipment like stand up paddle boards at the beach.
If you haven’t had your fill of sand, then head out into the desert for camel rides, dune bashing or even camping.
Many Restaurant Options
You can find pretty much any type of food in Dubai thanks to the city’s international population. If you are looking for cheap holiday options, you can eat in the food courts at one of the malls. As you would expect, the malls have an extensive choice of restaurants.
Friday and Saturday mornings are devoted to decadent brunches at the big hotels. These brunch spreads are extensive buffets heaped with food of all types. They make the famous Las Vegas hotel buffets look like a Denny’s spread. The variety also extends to the types of cuisine served – Indian, Sushi, Rotisserie, Seafood – all in one ginormous hotel buffet. The dessert buffet is likewise a diabetic’s delight. My children were big fans of the chocolate fountains where they could dip marshmallows and fruit.
You also have lots of big-name chefs from all over the world opening restaurants in Dubai. On one trip, we stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel which has a great choice of restaurants. The hotel’s restaurants included an outpost of the Buddha Bar, Indego by Michelin-starred British chef, Vineet Batia and Toro Toro by Latin American chef Richard Sandoval. One of the hotel restaurants at The Atlantis is Nobu. Like in Las Vegas, getting into one of these outposts of famous restaurants is much easier than trying to make a reservation at the main restaurant in London or elsewhere.
Experiences Like Nothing Else
Dubai is full of superlatives. The amount of money in this little city is staggering. Some examples:
- Where else can you go skiing in the desert? Ski Dubai is an indoor ski park located in the Mall of the Emirates. Its got assorted ski runs, toboggan runs and sledding and even ski gear you can rent.
- The Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world with so much going on that you may not even find the time to shop. Other than the 1000+ stores, you also have an indoor amusement park (Sega Republic) and the ever-popular kiddie city play area, KidZania. Did I mention there is also the Dubai Aquarium and an ice rink?
- The Dubai Miracle Garden is the world’s largest natural garden. Yes, in the desert, it truly is a miracle to have 45 million flowers blooming where plants should don’t occur in nature.
- The Palm Islands are a Dubai megaproject which just boggles the mind. The best way to see the scale of this man-made colossus is from the air – perhaps with Skydive Dubai.
- Check out the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest tower in the world. Every evening the tower and the surrounding fountains put on a magical light show.
Dubai does have its share of criticism, for example, that it is soulless and lacking in culture. The opening of the Dubai Opera House near the Burj Khalifa addressed some of the criticism about missing cultural pursuits. I think if you are looking for these things, there are other places in the world that are better suited to you. On the other hand, if you want an easy sun, fun and beach vacation, a family holiday to Dubai is one of the best options available to you.
If you have been to Dubai, do you have any other reasons you can add to this list?
Practical Info To Know Before You Go
We have stayed at both the Atlantis Resort and Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai. Although both are 5 star hotels, they are quite different from each other. If you would like to look at other hotels that members of the Just Go Places community have recommended, you will find them on our Favourite Hotels List.
Atlantis Resort versus Grosvenor House Hotel
Atlantis Resort is obviously more family friendly. Grosvenor House does have an arrangement with its sister property Royal Meridien nearby which has pools for the family. There is a regular shuttle bus that runs between the two hotels. I would classify the pool at the Royal Meridien as fine.
The Atlantis Resort has more traditional decor and larger. Situated on the Palm Island, you are a bit stuck out at Atlantis. It does have lots of kids’ facilities and a beach. Grosvenor House is more contemporary in style and is located in Dubai Marina. You can walk around the Marina in the evening and there are restaurants close to hand as well as a wider array of restaurants in the hotel itself.
I would choose Atlantis with younger children because you really don’t want to drag them on a shuttle bus to get to the pool. If you have kids you will know that invariably someone has forgotten something back in the room!
Grosvenor House does have suite facilities so it’s quite easy to make food in your kitchenette. I can truthfully say that we never did. With the ease of taxis and the plethora of restaurants chances are that cooking in the suite is the last thing on your mind.
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