There’s an air of Siam-style sophistication in child-friendly Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort’s beachfront abodes. Clustered around winding lagoon pools, by the private sands or over the water, these red-roofed, whitewashed wonders have families in mind, with clubs for kids and teens, an action-packed watersports centre and a super spa.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Late check-out or early check-in may be available, depending on occupancy.
Double rooms from £138.37 (AED660), including tax at 22.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of AED15.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include a buffet breakfast (AED145 an adult, half-price for kids) of pastries, fresh juices and fruits, and hot dishes such as eggs, pancakes and Thai congee.
The wooden hut near the main pool sells suncream, so you need never run out.
At the hotel
Private beach, watersports centre, spa, kids club, playground, gym, tennis courts, and free WiFi throughout. In-rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, bathrobes and slippers, minibar, and tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
There’s a clean-lined, sober Thai aesthetic to the rooms, decked out with dark wooden floors, crisp white linens, striking headboards and plush sofas. We love room 62, an Over Water Villa sporting a private deck, a sumptuous bathroom and a mesmerising glass floor in the living room for spying on fish; there’s space for an extra bed or cot, and the little kitchen, equipped with a microwave, is handy. Lagoon Access Rooms are perfect for keen swimmers: steps lead down from their private deck straight into the inviting pools. Families of four will be most comfortable in the Deluxe Lagoon View and Access Rooms, which have a day-bed suitable for one child and room for an extra bed or cot.
Aquaphobics, look away now: 10,000 square metres of azure, temperature-controlled pools take centre stage here. With its pagoda-roofed swim-up bar and a crescent of sea-facing sunloungers, the main infinity pool is a lively affair. Look out for the small Thai boats criss-crossing the lagoon pools (there are three of them meandering around the Lagoon Access Rooms), from which staff hand out cold towels, fruit and water – a blissful treat in the Dubai sun.
Located on an island in one of the lagoon pools, the sumptuous Anantara Spa (open 10am–10pm) is an all-singing, all-dancing retreat. Its 18 treatment rooms offer Thai massage, salt inhalation and Ayurveda, a private hammam suite and couples’ facilities. Thalassotherapy fans are well catered for with a Vichy shower, liquid sound pool, Jacuzzi and Kneipp walk for lithe limbs. Treatments inspired both by Anantara’s Asian roots and Arabic traditions incorporate ingredients harvested from date-palm gardens and the Gulf’s seawater pearls. Citrus-infused facials, manicures, pedicures and hair-conditioning treatments are available for 12–16 year-olds, too, as long as they bring an adult along.
Bring all your cossies and kaftans, as you'll mostly be lounging by the pool or on the private beach.
There’s no smoking indoors, but the Lotus Lounge’s hand-picked selection of tobacco from around the world will delight cigar pundits. Beauty treatments and massages are available in your room. Premier Lagoon Access Rooms are wheelchair-friendly.
Children of all ages are welcome here; it's a very family-friendly hotel.
Children of all ages.
Under-12s stay in free baby cots or extra beds (£62 a night for over-12s), which can be added to most rooms.
Free drop-in kids club Tuk Tuk (open 8am–7pm) is a mini-resort for little Smiths, with its own shaded play area, fenced paddling pool, sand pit and pint-sized sunloungers. Inside, there’s a climbing area, cushy beanbags, board games, films and video games; supervised activities run the gamut from face painting to sandcastle building and kayak relays. All ages are welcome, though under-4s must be accompanied by an adult; if you're planning on letting the children enjoy the facilities over lunchtime, let staff know what you're happy for them to order. Nearby Chill (open 10am–10pm) has teen-friendly pool tables, karaoke machines and table football, and there’s always staff at hand to keep an eye on them.
Tots can play in the sandy patches and shallow waters giving access to the pools, and older children can happily go exploring on their own: open from 7am to 8pm, the pools are supervised by lifeguards.
Children are welcome in the restaurants and bars at any time with highchairs and kids’ packs that will keep them entertained throughout the meal – unless, of course, they’re too busy wolfing down mini hot dogs, tiny burgers and home-made chicken noodle soup from the children’s menu. Staff will happily heat up baby food or milk around the clock, should your little ones get a sudden attack of jetlag-induced midnight munchies.
Qualified, English-speaking nannies are available with three hours’ notice, for AED75 an hour from 7am to midnight and AED100 thereafter.
No need to pack
The hotel have an impressive stash of baby kit, and lots of bits for older kids: soft toys, crayons, craft materials, a DVD library, board games, Lego, Wii consoles, a PlayStation, surfboards, and table football.
If you need to stock up on baby essentials, including swim nappies, fret not: the city is packed with mega-malls and supermarkets, and the hotel runs regular free shuttles to the nearby Mall of Emirates.
Ask for a seat by the Beach House’s sliding doors for spectacular views in air-conditioned comfort. Staff have a list of romantic spots where they can set up a table for two with a day’s notice.
This is a laid-back resort where flip-flops are almost de rigueur.
Crescendo welcomes the peckish throughout the day; its international fare (wagyu burgers, lightly spiced shish kebabs, banana splits) is best enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the swimming pool. The rickshaw parked outside Mekong gives a flavour of the pan-Asian cuisine prepped in the open kitchen. In the cooler evenings, tuk-tuks converted into outdoor tables make an atmospheric setting for moreish sharing plates of dumplings, papaya salad and soft shell crab. Grilled seafood and Mediterranean flavours star at the Beach House: grab a table on the beachfront terrace for glittering views of the Dubai shoreline. At Bushman’s Restaurant & Bar, boomerangs, possum furs and Aboriginal drawings make a whimsical backdrop for a taste of down under; for the full Antipodean experience, order kangaroo steaks, baked barramundi and a spectacular pavlova.
The Lotus Lounge is a sleek hangout built around a central polished-wood bar. Panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows offer startling views over the pool and out to sea; outside, the lantern-lit pergola provides dappled shade and rattan seating to while away the sunset hours with a cocktail and small bites from the tempting menu of taquitos, mezze and sliders. Swim up to the Mai Bar in the main pool, or have drinks and snacks brought to your sunlounger; freshly squeezed juices make quick refreshers for kids itching to get back in the water.
Crescendo serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Beach House is open for lunch and dinner. Dinner at Mekong and Bushman’s Restaurant & Bar are served 6.30pm–11.30pm.The Mai Bar is open 10.30am–8pm; the Lotus Lounge closes at midnight.
Food can be ordered 24 hours a day. In-room breakfasts are served 6.30am–11.30am, after which a large selection of dishes from the kitchens, from salads and sandwiches to chargrilled Omani lobster, can be tuk-tuked to your door.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is located on the man-made Palm Jumeirah island, close to the Dubai Marina.
The hotel is a 45-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, a handy gateway between east and west served daily by flights from London, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as New York and Sydney. At the airport, metred taxis are lined up and waiting to take you to town.
The busy streets are best navigated from the back of a cab, but there’s free valet parking at the hotel should you fancy hiring your own car.
Worth getting out of bed for
Make the most of Dubai’s year-round sunshine and head to the private beach, a 400-metre stretch of golden sands watched over by lifeguards. Rent wake boards and Hobie Cats from the watersports centre, or try your hand at water-skiing, kayaking and windsurfing; pedalos, banana boats and paddle boards are good options for those still finding their little sea legs. Earn a dip in the sea with a friendly game of football or beach volleyball – the sprawling pools and open-air Jacuzzi are a great way of cooling off after a few matches on the tennis courts (rackets are provided free and lessons are on offer should you wish to polish your backhand). Once you’ve worked up an appetite, Asian cooking lessons are available on the terrace of Mekong. When you're tired of sampling all the activities the hotel has to offer, pick a spot on the wide stretch of sandy private beach, where sunloungers, parasols and a handy drinks service beckon.
If you’re planning an outing, the kitchens can provide picnic boxes packed with on-the-go treats such as filled baguettes, noodle salad and hand-cooked crisps, with six hours’ notice. Otherwise, you won't find much need to venture out of the hotel for lunch or dinner: the on-site restaurants are some of the best in the area. But if you're keen to look around, L'Olivo restaurant in the nearby Rixos hotel has a brillaint Italian and Mediterranean menu.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from their coastal break in this luxurious resort in Dubai and unpacked their beach bags, a full account of their bliss-filled break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Anantara The Palm Dubai…
Taking in Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort’s peaked roofs, myriad palm-trees and curvaceous lagoon pools from the shaded comfort of a sunlounger, you’d be hard pressed to remember this postcard-perfect mirage is really on the edge of a desert. Happily, the resort’s charms extend beyond this tropical sleight of hand with a host of facilities that make family stays here a doddle: with four supervised pools, a lifeguard-watched private beach, two tennis courts and free clubs for kids and teens, you may even find yourself missing the pitter-patter of little feet. Sleek and undeniably luxurious, rooms and villas are grown-up, but with wow-worthy touches (decks leading straight down to the pool, glass floors in some Over Water villas) that will have young Smiths squealing with delight. Make the most of your precious time as a family: head to the watersports centre for skiing, sailing and paddling fun, plonk yourself down in the indulgent spa for a heart to heart with your teens and let this sun-drenched Dubai escape work its spell.
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