Thanks to my sister choosing to emigrate to Dubai over six years ago, we’ve been visiting the UAE for some time now as a family. We usually stay with my sister’s family at their house, but we like to give them a bit of a break and spend a little time to ourselves at a nearby resort. This year we chose the Hilton Double Tree Marjan Island, in the state of Ras Al Khaimah.
The UAE beyond Dubai
Dubai has so much to offer, but hotels there can be on the pricey side. Nearby Emirates, such as Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah provide accommodation and facilities that rival Dubai, at a more affordable cost.
I can’t recommend the UAE enough as a destination for a winter getaway. Especially if you have kids as there are so many attractions and fun things to do. It’s also safe, clean and you can pretty much guarantee constant sunshine. The best times to visit as a family are from October to April before temperatures peak in the summer months.
Hilton Double Tree Marjan Island
We selected the Double Tree by Hilton Resort & Spa based on a variety of recommendations, good reviews and great facilities for kids. We opted for the All Inclusive package for convenience and stayed in one of the beach front rooms. These cost a little more but it was such a luxury being able to walk out of our room directly onto the beach – especially with a toddler and a baby (complete with buggy) in tow.
The hotel is about one hour from Dubai airport, with the journey costing around £50 in a taxi. There isn’t a whole lot of things to do in Ras Al Khaimah, but we just wanted a a relaxing week and the convenience of having everything in one place, so it was the perfect resort for us.
What’s there for kids?
If you’re looking for a resort that provides luxury for the adults with fun for the kids then this one is a winner. The hotel has plenty to keep the kids entertained including a mini water park (‘wet zone’) complete with a pirate ship and four water slides. After a couple of days Taylor felt confident enough to go down these alone. She’s only two but they are fun and fast enough for kids of all ages.
There’s also a great park area, a baby pool and an indoor kids area with play stations, arcade games and a climbing wall. In the evenings the kids Club provide face painting for kids and live entertainment on most evenings between 8-8.30pm. We did find this to be a pretty awkward time, but Taylor enjoyed it all the same.
The hotel sits on the beach and has five swimming pools to choose from – including a more lively pool that sits next to the park and wet zone. We personally preferred the quieter pools at the other end, especially the infinity pool.
Thankfully, there are ample sunbeds and canopies on the beach and around the pools – I say thankfully as there are plenty of people who ‘reserve’ their spot early in the day, but despite this we always managed to find shade for the kids.
Inflatables are available to purchase onsite and there are also plenty of water sports including jet skiing and parasailing for older kids (or adults who don’t have young kids to look after!)
Since we’d paid for the All Inclusive package, we didn’t eat in any of the on site speciality restaurants. Usually I get bored of the buffet food, but I was honestly so impressed with the quality and variety of food they had on offer. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all exceptional and we were spoilt for choice each night.
During the 7 nights we stayed there, I never had the same dish twice. From a huge choice of fresh salad ingredients to speciality curries, tender meats, made to order pizzas/pasta and freshly baked breads and cakes, we couldn’t fault the ingredients or the recipes. There’s ample choice for kids too, so even the most fussy ones are catered for.
With young kids in tow it’s always difficult to make the most of the full range of facilities. We heard some great reviews of the speciality restaurants and there’s also a chic roof top bar which was popular with fellow guests.
I did manage to spend a cheeky few hours at the spa thanks to a belated birthday present from my sister. I enjoyed a full body massage and spent some time in the sauna and jacuzzi – bliss!!
Whether you’re a couple after a relaxing break, or a family looking for a fun-packed week away, I would most definitely recommend this resort. We certainly weren’t disappointed.
Where’s your go-to destination for a winter getaway? Have you visited the UAE?