Enjoyed an amazing week in Dubai with my incredible family earlier this month! Dubai wouldn’t typically be my first choice of holiday destination, but it is perfect for some winter sun (with a relatively short flight time from London), and the resorts are ideal for families with small children.
Dubai itself is very expensive and all food and drink prices are much higher than in the UK (even in London), so I wouldn’t recommend going here on a budget as you will have to restrict yourself massively.
Approx. £500 direct return with Emirates (find the best deals on Skyscanner.net). It was the first time I’d flown with Emirates for a while and a very nice experience (although we did have 2 very tired babies on the way home).
We stayed at the incredible Atlantis at the very top of The Palm. Prices vary depending on time of year, but for Feb, it’s roughly £550 per night for a room (2 people) including breakfast (which I would definitely recommend).
You can pay for half board and dine in the 2 buffet restaurants, but for the majority of restaurants, you’d have to pay a supplement on top of this so I wouldn’t recommend as it doesn’t allow you much flexibility.
The whole hotel as well as the rooms themselves are absolutely stunning. We had a Palm view on the 21st floor (out of 22) – I’m sure every view would be gorgeous but I’d recommend requesting a view of the Palm.
We didn’t leave the resort apart from to travel to / from the airport – seems crazy, but there was really no need to…
This was what we saw when we got out of the lift every morning – it’s the UAE’s largest aquarium and home to different marine creatures! There are diving / other aquarium programmes which allow you to learn more and get closer, but we simply enjoyed from behind the glass.
The Lost Chambers Aquarium
This is free to go into for hotel guests but costs AED 115 (£23) per person to enter if you’re not a guest. Here you can learn more about different species of fish, sharks and rays, by joining a guided tour or simply scanning each creature as you go on the Lost Chambers website to bring up more info about them.
There are four incredible pools which stretch the length of the hotel. Plenty of lovely sun-beds for all guests and so many lifeguards to watch the little ones. They also provide life vests for all ages so you don’t have to pack in your suitcase.
We typically spent half of the day by the pool, went to the waterpark for a few rides, and then to the beach. Everything at the Atlantis is within walking distance so never takes too long to travel to.
It’s man made so doesn’t have the usual feel of a beach with waves lapping up to the shore, but it’s nice and clean, still and has shallow water, perfect for paddling. There are loads of watersports you can get involved in if that’s your thing. Also, you MUST order Froses continuously! I discovered these on the penultimate day and was upset I didn’t consume more.
The Waterpark – Aquaventure
The world’s largest waterpark! This is free to go into for hotel guests but costs AED 229 (£46) per person to enter if you’re not a guest. There are 105 slides, plenty of options for all ages! If you’re a thrill seeker, there are a few you must try (inc. one where the floor disappears from underneath you!) Definitely recommend taking a waterproof phone case (they’re expensive to buy in the park).
Didn’t take many pics but you can see more in the video!
There are some adult only areas, including some of the restaurants and this beach bar and pool – it really gets going during the afternoon / early evening and I would have definitely been chilling there had I not been running around after my niece and nephew.
Food & Drink
There are a ridiculous amount of restaurants within the resort – you could stay there for 2 weeks and not eat in all of them. This is where we ate (would recommend booking the non buffet restaurants as they get busy)…
Breakfast / Dinner at Saffron
One of the most impressive buffet breakfast venues I’ve ever been to. International stations, a Mimosa stand and a chocolate fountain (for breakfast). Dine outside or else you’re in an air conditioned buffet room. We also came to Saffron for dinner a couple of times and really enjoyed it – different themes every night.
Had a girls night with my sister here and enjoyed the tasting menu (yum!) Much better value for money than ordering individual items and we were full to the brim afterwards. Service and atmosphere was great (but as was the service and atmosphere in all restaurants we ate in). Recommend for a special night out.
Bread Street Kitchen
This felt like a bit of a cop out as this is a chain in London which I’ve eaten at a few times. However, they have a lovely outdoor dining set up and the food was delicious. Heard good things about ‘Street Pizza’ which was also in the same restaurant.
Casual dining outside by the pool – pretty good selection!
We ate here a couple of times as it was easy with the children and they had live music / entertainment (eg, bowling, arcade). Fun vibe but very loud.
Some of the other restaurants include:
– Ronda Locatelli
– Ossiano (underwater dining)
– Ayamna (Lebanese – was told this was great)
Overall, I enjoyed the trip but wouldn’t choose to visit Dubai to see the city / culture, as there isn’t really one. Also, whilst Dubai is safe and has low crime, I struggle to comprehend the lack of human rights for citizens in the UAE (no democratically elected institutions for eg.) Something to consider 🙂