Dubai is designed to captivate children. The family-friendly hotels have mini check-in desks, crèches and kids’ clubs, special children’s menus and curfew-free restaurants for young people, spa treatments for the little ones and budget facilities that go far beyond ordinary playgrounds. The best water parks are directly linked to hotels. Hit the waterslides at Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm, Wild Wadi at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jungle Bay at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina.
Most of Dubai’s other family attractions are within easy reach, rarely more than a 30-minute taxi ride. Children will feel like all their Christmases have arrived at once at the permanently festive Ski Dubai, an indoor snow park with an 85-metre slope and chairlift. KidZania lets them role-play in a miniature version of the world, complete with a supermarket, gas station and medical center. Other theme parks have been created around comic book heroes, cartoon characters, rope courses in the trees and Lego building blocks. These are the best family hotels in Dubai.
How we assess
Each hotel on this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, usually hosted free of charge. They stay at least one night, test at least one meal and try other experiences the hotel may have to offer.
A list of the best family hotels in Dubai
What may be perceived as ostentatious to the adult eye must appear glorious to a child: the red-brick facade with the Tower of Atlantis is reminiscent of Disney fairy tales, with the iconic central arch referencing gateways to mythical kingdoms; inside, every detail seems exaggerated. There are shops selling toys, art, perfume, clothing, jewelery and souvenirs, and guests receive free entry to the Aquaventure water park and the Lost Chambers Aquarium. Because so many guests lose themselves in the boulevards, the ever-polite staff must feel like they are forever herding cats, but they never show it. Next to Disneyland there is probably no more magical resort for children, and all family facilities and services are available.
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One of Dubai’s original beach hotels – cleverly designed so that all rooms have views of the sea and the Burj – offers guests free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, the excellent fun zone next door (where an 18-metre waterfall flows every 10 minutes ), plus water sports, tennis and squash courts and a climbing wall. It’s an easy and relaxing place for children: the kids’ club is a large building with several play areas that escape the sun and open (free) from 8am to 8pm (for guests from 2 to 12 years). Families may prefer to stay in garden suites on the ground floor, with a kitchenette and child-proof locks on the sliding doors.
This affordable, all-inclusive beach retreat is aimed at families and has a kids’ club, playground and small water park to keep the kids busy. For adults, there is a spa, gym and several bars, including two pool options and one with a terrace overlooking the coastline. Guests tagged upon arrival must wear their bracelets at all times to access the all-inclusive facilities. It’s a bit like a festival, only with buffet restaurants instead of food trucks, and the live bands are probably ABBA tribute acts.
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With a series of low-rise buildings set amid gardens with streams, waterfalls and an array of peacocks, this resort feels incredibly relaxing. All suites can accommodate two adults and two children under 16 years old. There are two shaded children’s pools, a kids’ club (four to 11 years) and teenagers’ club and camel rides. For even more activity, guests can opt for the Wibit inflatable water park, donut rides and water sports. Adults can try out the challenging nine-hole golf course, where the likes of Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo have played.
This family-oriented resort with a Polynesian theme – a bit quaint in the Emirates, yet stylishly decorated – is within walking distance of Dubai’s theme park complex (Motiongate, Legoland and Bollywood Parks), and the buildings are arranged around lagoon-style pools and a lazy river . There are two kids’ clubs for different ages with climbing walls and activities such as henna painting, while parents can escape to the spa which offers massages and traditional hammam treatments. Connecting rooms, cots and rollaway beds ensure a comfortable stay for all ages. Family-friendly events include Friday brunch.
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This palatial property features neoclassical architecture, muted desert tones and sophisticated interiors, yet despite its grandeur is social and fun, as well as family-friendly. There is the Jungle Bay water park with slides and a wave pool, a shaded children’s pool and the large children’s club (free for children aged four and over). The playground and daily activities include gentle archery, sensory games and face painting. For the little ones there are high chairs and children’s menus in the restaurants; cots, bottle warmers, sterilizers and baby bath products in the rooms; and babysitting services. The resort has its own water sports center for water skiing, windsurfing and wakeboarding.
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This family-friendly resort is located in the heart of the sprawling Madinat Jumeirah complex, set around Venetian-style waterways and on a private stretch of beach. The free Sinbad’s Kids Club has play areas and pools with activities such as face painting and crafts, restaurants cater to young guests with children’s menus and high chairs, and cots and connecting rooms can be arranged. Free unlimited access to the adjacent Wild Wadi Water Park and rides around the resort on the abras will banish boredom. The Mall of the Emirates is also a 10-minute drive away (home to a bizarre indoor ski slope).
• The best all-inclusive hotels in Dubai
Rixos may lack the architectural pizzazz typical of many hotels in The Palm, but scores big for its fantastic kids’ club (not to mention its authentic Turkish hammam and great restaurants). There are two outdoor swimming pools, a separate children’s pool, motorized and non-motorized water sports, basketball and tennis courts, and the staff are friendly and attentive without being overbearing. While parents enjoy a treatment with products from spa brand Alissi Brontë, the younger guests are busy with a full program of activities. The hotel is one of the few hotels in Dubai that offers all-inclusive packages.
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One of Dubai’s most sought-after sandy beaches is occupied by this sprawling, low-lying property, which is home to eight restaurants and six swimming pools – a week is hardly long enough to experience everything. Two of the pools are for families, and another two are reserved specifically for children; When splashing around gets old, the Ritz Kids Club offers a program of daily activities and a dedicated games room. Some accommodations are interconnected. Cots are free for babies up to two years old and a rollaway bed can be provided. Dubai Marina, with its shopping center, zipline and yacht-lined waters, is a few blocks away.
Contributions by Lara Brunt and Jenny Johnson
For more inspiration on planning the perfect Dubai holiday, visit our dedicated destination guide.