Family holiday ideas if you cannot leave the UAE over summer
Some of you might gasp at the idea of staying in Dubai and the UAE when the weather warms up. However, with a little careful planning and strategic use of your day, there are still plenty of ways you can holiday within the UAE over summer.
The great thing about UAE Staycations over the summer, you can pick up some bargain pricing as overseas tourist numbers are significantly down and many hotels offer specials to continue to lure in customers.
The downsides are obvious too – peak of the day in the hottest months it is simply too hot to even be outside, let alone touch sand or swim in the ocean.
In this post, we select our favourite UAE destinations for summer staycations and the top 3 family-friendly resorts at each location that will deliver what you need in the hot summer months.
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This post is part of our series Discover the UAE. Come and see all our activity and accommodation ideas for families
Our 4 favourite summer staycation locations in the UAE
Al Aqah Beach, Fujairah
Driving time from Dubai 2 hours or downtown Abu Dhabi 3.5 hours
Crossing the Hajar Mountains to the eastern coast of the UAE you are met by the glistening waters of the Gulf of Oman. Best known for its marine life and diving opportunities, there are also several buildings of cultural significance here too including the countries oldest mosque and oldest fort – you can see a complete guide of Fujairah attractions here.
The only small inconvenience of this trip is the travel time, though open freeways for the majority of the trip do speed things up these days. There are two approaches to Al Aqah, taking the E87 to the north via Dibba or E82/E104 to the south and approaching from Fujairah city centre.
Our Top 3 Resort Picks in Al Aqah
Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort
Has an extensive outdoor kiddy play area and kids programs with the Penguins Kids club that continues to run indoors during the hottest months. Indoor and outdoor temperature-controlled pools and an extensive outdoor kids splash area. Rooms start from 780AED
Miramar Al Aqah
Private beachfront, spa, dive centre, indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steam room, hot tub. And for the kids, complimentary kids club, shaded pool, playroom and kids meals. Interconnecting rooms and suites available. Rooms start from AED606
Fujairah Rotana Beach Resort & Spa
This is our value for money pick for families with plenty of flexible room options, kids club & spa facilities, kids water slide, plenty to keep little ones happy even if not as extensive as the other two, still great quality and service. Rooms start from 368AED
Cooler weather? Try one of our favourite desert resorts in the UAE
Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah
Driving time from Dubai 1 hour or 2.5 hours from downtown Abu Dhabi
This man-made island off the coast or Ras al Khaimah is home to some of the UAE’s largest and most luxurious family resorts, with many more to come. Not only do they have their own extensive pools, indoor and outdoor children’s entertainment, but you are also fairly close to both Dreamland Waterpark and Iceland Water Park which can give kids a welcome break from the summer heat. Set in the Arabian Gulf, you will also be spoilt to beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Our top resort picks for families on Marjan Island
Doubletree by Hilton Marjan Island
This has been a firm favourite for us ever since they opened their pirate ship water features, literally hours of fun for the kids here in a safe, supervised slide park. The resort also includes 14 restaurants, ladies only pool and spa, several temperature-controlled pools, kids club and extensive outdoor playground in lush gardens.
Rooms start from 524AEDYou can read our full review of Doubletree Marjan Island here.
Rixos Bab Al Bahr
Known for its unbeatable all-inclusive packages and more of a party atmosphere, the party continues over summer. A temperature controlled outdoor pool, infinity pool, private beach, Hamman, Rixy Kids Club for your 4-12-year-olds and Teen’s Republic for 10 to 17-year-olds. Kids have the choice of indoor or outdoor playgrounds. Only let down no babysitting for under 3’s if you want a night off to enjoy the extensive dining and entertainment options. Rooms start from 1407AED
Marjan Island Resort and Spa
A great value pick for RAK, spacious rooms overlooking the private beachfront, kids can join in with the Pirates Club, playground, indoor and outdoor pools for year-round enjoyment or head to the spa. 4 onsite restaurants and a babysitting service is available. Rooms start from AED474
Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Driving time from Dubai 1 hour
The glistening waters of the Gulf await with the choice of now three stunning beach resorts (soon to be four) along the silky shores of Saadiyat Island. New cultural highlight the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors in late 2017 to much acclaim which is a must to include in your stop. Maybe not an attraction to keep the kids happy long but if they are entertained at one of the stunning kid’s beach clubs there’s plenty of opportunities for you to go and explore the more cultural side of Abu Dhabi.
You can see our full selection of great indoor activities for kids and summer camps in Abu Dhabi here.
Our Top Resort picks for families on Saadiyat Island
The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
An extensive range of outdoor, temperature-controlled pools, coupled with the amazing Sandcastles Kids Club with free supervised indoor and outdoor activities makes this one of our top picks in Abu Dhabi. Coupled with great dining choices and buffet for kids, plus an amazing spa you really can’t go wrong – at any time of year even if it’s too hot to enjoy the luxurious soft white sands of Saadiyat Island. Rooms start from 842AED
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas
With a choice of villas and resort rooms, the Park Hyatt offers some great flexible options for families. There’s a choice of 4 pools and 3 restaurants, including the Beach House with its stunning panoramic ocean views and one of our favourite luxury spas in the UAE, Atarmia. Kids can enjoy Camp Hyatt indoors in the hotter months. Rooms start from 708AED
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas
A newcomer to Abu Dhabi since summer 2018 we are yet to try the Rotana, but it promises to deliver in the luxury family resort category. There are 8 onsite dining options, Zen the Spa, a Hamman and for the kids Aladdin Kids club including a lazy river, splash pool, slides, cinema room. Rooms start from 705AED
Still not enough? Check out our Top 10 Beach Resorts in the UAE
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Driving time from Abu Dhabi just over 1 hour
The world’s largest artificial archipelago (don’t try saying that after a few drinks!) – it’s hard not to be impressed with the Palm Jumeirah. Lined with luxury resorts, restaurants, residences and villas choosing a few favourites from over 20 has been tough; you are unlikely to find such a high concentration of family-friendly luxury resorts anywhere else in the world.
Our Top Palm Jumeirah Resorts for families
Atlantis the Palm
The huge family-friendly advantage of Atlantis is you literally do not need to leave the hotel to have an entire family vacation. The hotel is attached to the amazing Aquaventure, the Lost Chambers Aquarium and Dolphin Bay attractions which can sometimes have entry included with your accommodation – you can read our review of Aquaventure and Dubai’s water parks here.
The hotel also boasts literally dozens of cafe, bar and dining options, multiple pools, spa and grooming options and for kids the Atlantis Kids Club with an extensive entertainment program. Deluxe Quad rooms start at 1061AED
Rixos the Palm
Similar to it’s RAK counterpart, Rixos offers the ultra all-inclusive package option so you can sit back and not worry about spending more. Kids can use the Rixy Kids Club indoor and outdoor facilities and babysitting is available. Rooms start from 828AED
Sofitel Dubai the Palm Resort and Spa
Situated on the outer crescent of the Palm with unrivalled Gulf views, Polynesian-themed Sofitel offers one of the most beautiful children’s facilities with Amura Kids Club, whilst outside they can enjoy the private beachfront and 6 pools including a water slide and Aqua Bounce floating playground. Parents will love the extensive spa facilities and range of dining choices at the bars and restaurants. Rooms start from 852 AED
Remember the two Eid weekends of spring/summer will book up faster and likely cost more than what I’ve quoted in this post, but rest assured there are still bargains to be had if you are willing to research and compare best offers. The easiest way to do this is on Wego.ae our favourite search tool for finding Middle East hotel deals.
How to handle resorts in the UAE summer heat
As we mentioned at the outset – it’s undeniably hot in the UAE for much of the year – the months of June to September can become particularly unpleasant to be outside at the peak of the day with children; whilst we might have the common sense not to touch hot plastic chairs by the pool or walk without our sandshoes on the beach – they might not!
Related Reading: Our top tips for visiting hot destinations with babies
It does not mean that resorts and their facilities cannot still be enjoyed in the hottest part of the year. Resorts here are built for the heat and whilst some entertainment and water sports activities might be curtailed over the summer, there are always other options from the kid’s clubs to dining and spas so you can still enjoy your dose of relaxation.
The beach will almost certainly be too hot to enjoy as water temperatures can rise as high as the outside air (and there’s no way to temperature control the ocean – yet!). You should leave your swimming pool and outdoor time to the early mornings and evenings when you can still have a great resort experience.
One thing to always check with any UAE hotel in the summer is whether all facilities will be fully open. They do have a tendency to operate their renovation programs during these quieter months and you don’t want that to spoil your experience – even for a bargain price!
Looking for more to do with the kids? We have the best-of-the-best all you can think of guide of everything families can do in the UAE!
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Do you have a favourite UAE hotel for a summer escape? We’d love to hear your favourite family offerings and what makes them great even in the heat
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