Jumeirah Wild Wadi Waterpark

Where to stay in Dubai with kids

Hotels for a hassle-free holiday

Taking two kids under ten to Dubai may not sound like the most relaxing way to spend a week, but thanks to a host of family-friendly hotels, it’s never been easier. Little Emperors team member Laura recently returned from Dubai with her nine- and five-year-old children, staying at Burj al Arab, Raffles The Palm, and Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf. We chat to her about her experience at each of these luxurious properties.

Burj Al Arab

Jumeirah Wild Wadi Waterpark
Jumeirah Wild Wadi Waterpark

What was your kids’ favourite part?

Despite being quite a grown-up hotel, my kids loved it – the room even had personalised teddy bears for them when we arrived. They could use the two kids' clubs at sister properties Jumeirah Beach and Jumeirah Al Qasr, and free access to the Wild Wadi waterpark was also included, all of which is located at the end of the bridge opposite the hotel.

And the grown-ups?

The two outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pools, one of which is adults-only, worked well to separate the few families with children from the adult crowd. Food served here from the restaurant Sal attracts a local crowd for lunch too and was very good, with a Mediterranean menu and reasonable prices. Breakfast was superb, with anything you could possibly want; one of the best hotel breakfasts I've ever had. The Sky Bar on the 27th floor has aerial views of the Dubai coastline and is perfect for pre-dinner drinks, and Burj can organise any childcare you might need.

What was your room like?

The suites are very spacious, all of which are duplex (except the three bedrooms), with breathtaking views of the Dubai coastline and a butler service outside your door 24/7. Gold is everywhere in the décor, including gold leaf-painted taps and wallpaper. Bathrooms have beautifully detailed mosaic tiling on all the walls, walk-in shower and round the basins, plus his and hers Hermes full-size products and Dyson hairdryer and straighteners in the ladies' dressing table. There were also large sofas they converted into two extra beds, which the kids said were the comfiest they've ever slept in.

Anything else to mention?

We didn't eat dinner in the hotel, but of the six restaurants are the formal Al Muntaha on the 27th floor, a one Michelin-star French/Italian offering from chef Saver Sbaragli, open for lunch and dinner (although children under 8 are not permitted). There’s also Al Iwan, an Arabic mezze restaurant, Les Desserts with exquisite pastries and cakes, and L'Olivo, an Italian outpost from the Capri restaurant by two Michelin-star chef Andrea Migliaccio.

Raffles The Palm

Raffles The Palm Dubai - Playground
Playground at Raffles The Palm Dubai

How were the facilities for kids?

Pitching itself as really great for kids and set on five acres, this hotel has a lot of space for them to let off steam, with large gardens set up with football, inflatables, table football and hula hoops. There’s a small playground for under 4s next to the main swimming pool and a toddler's pool that is covered by a canvas. There’s even a Kids Butler who puts together a daily list of activities aimed at 3-8-year-olds, focused on sports, arts and crafts, and nature activities. Every day there was a movie on at the cinema, which was a brilliant way to get them out of the sun for a couple of hours. The beach is accessed through the gardens and pool area, and the layout makes it easy for children to run around and explore safely.

What was your room like?

The decor of the hotel, in keeping with the Raffles brand, is palatial and ornate. It was originally designed to resemble an 18th-century European Palace. We stayed in interconnecting Premier Garden Walk rooms that were spacious and regal and on the same level as the outdoor pool and gardens. This worked nicely as the kids could come and go from our terrace door while playing in the gardens, and we could see them easily.

How was the food?

We ate at the Amalfi-inspired Italian restaurant Piatti by the Beach, next to the swimming pool and overlooking the beach, which was superb and easily as good as dining in Italy. The Japanese-styled Asian fusion restaurant Matagi is supposedly their signature restaurant and is very popular and gets great reviews.

Anything else to mention?

There’s also a 3,000 sqm spa with the largest indoor pool in Dubai and 23 treatment rooms, 6 hammam rooms, 2 traditional hammams, Japanese bathtubs and a yoga studio.

Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf

Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf - Canals
Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf

What did your kids love about the hotel?

You get around the resort either by golf buggy or abra as the properties are all interconnected by artificial canals. The abra is a lovely way to slow down the pace on holiday and a highlight for the kids. Children under 4 eat free any time of the day, even room service, so quite a perk (although our kids were too old for this). There are 50 restaurants on the complex, so plenty for the kids to choose from, and all guests get free access to the Wild Wadi waterpark.

And what did you love?

It’s the more private and quieter of the Jumeirah properties on Jumeirah Beach, with rooms and suites laid out like traditional Arab summer houses, with a courtyard in the middle and a pool to share between three of the houses. One of the highlights for me was you are able to choose where to have breakfast, either in the buffet room of Al Qasr, or, as we did, at the French Riviera restaurant which is set slightly back from the beach, a much more peaceful environment and a wonderful way to start the day.

Tell us about your room here.

Most rooms have been recently refurbished, done in a contemporary palette of grey, silver, and white with the bathrooms marble-clad and modern. We stayed in an Arabian Summerhouse Superior room which can accommodate two adults and two children on a sofa bed; the room just about works for this many occupants, but if you're looking for space opt for one of the more spacious villas.