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Holiday fun in the Middle East

With Dubai reopening this month, the Middle East is back on the bucket list. Gayatri Bhaumik finds out what hotels are offering for families.

Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina

They shoot, they score - kids club at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina.

Located on Dubai’s exclusive Jumeirah Beach, this stylish property offers access to 500 meters of private Arabian beaches overlooking the Dubai Marina and the world renowned Palm Island. The hotel is currently open, although the kids’ club will remain closed until August.

Amidst the pandemic, the hotel is taking hygiene seriously. They’re following cleaning protocols and standards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, including approved chemicals and equipment for cleaning, increased frequency of disinfection in high-traffic areas, thorough cleanings of guest rooms in between departures and arrivals, and the implementation of social distancing measures.

This family-friendly property features an acclaimed kids club that offers excursions and babysitting, interconnecting rooms so families can stay together, and special menus filled with child-friendly treats. Of course, there are also three temperature-controlled pools and two covered kids’ pools.

If you’re ready to check in, book the ‘Ready When You Are’ package. The exclusive offer includes 25% off standard rates and free breakfast for Marriott Bonvoy members, or 15% off for non-members.

ROVE Downtown

Floating alone at ROVE Downtown.

ROVE Hotels has a series of chic, affordable properties throughout Dubai, but we’re particularly enamoured of Rove Downtown – it may have something to do with its incredible views of the Burj Khalifa and easy access to The Dubai Mall! The hotel is currently open and carefully adhering to hygiene and safety protocols.

If you’re checking in, you can expect to have to wear masks, get temperature checks, keep two metres apart from others and use contactless payments. Rooms and high-traffic areas are frequently sanitised, while the gym and pool are limited to six people at a time and require you to bring your own towels.

Rove Downtown is thoroughly child-friendly with kids’ menus, interconnecting rooms, and games like foosball and table tennis all on hand to keep the littlies happy. There’s even an in-house cinema and a nearby convenience store to pick up snacks.

UAE resident? Right now, the property is offering staycations from just AED99++ through 30 September. There’s also an exclusive 'Pass on the Staycation' offer from AED199 which includes a nights’ accommodation, breakfast for two, and a voucher of equal value that you can give to a friend.

Atlantis The Palm

There's plenty to keep kids entertained at Atlantis The Palm.

This well-known hotel on Dubai’s Palm Island has plenty to offer for the whole family. There’s a waterpark, play areas for dolphins and sea lions, a massive aquarium, the Shuiqi spa, and lots of restaurants including big names like Nobu and Hakkasan. Currently, almost everything at the property is open, from the hotel and beach to the restaurants and facilities.

Worried about hygiene? Don’t be. The hotel is using thermal cameras at all entry points to screen temperatures, using early medical intervention for guests who present COVID-19 symptoms during their stay, encouraging two meters between people for social distancing, using air filters and HVAC cleaning, and offering plenty of PPE and hand sanitiser throughout the property.

Kids are a focus here, and the offerings go far beyond a kids’ menu and babysitting services (though those are available, too!). The Atlantis Kids Club (for children aged three to 12 years) features a play area for games and activities, a creation zone for hands-on arts and crafts, a 'Command Centre featuring computers, Wiis, Xboxes, and Playstations, and exciting lineup of evening adventures so the adults can go to a nice dinner. For teenagers (aged 13-17) The Zone offers a safe space to hang out, dance, and enjoy age-appropriate activities.

UAE resident? Check-in with an exclusive package from AED 555 (or from AED 795 on weekends) which includes breakfast and/or half board (kids dine free), AED200 resort credit, and daily complimentary access to the Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium.

Sofitel Dubai The Palm

Bon appetit at Sofitel Dubai The Palm.

Nestled amidst verdant greenery and pristine beaches, this luxurious, French-inspired resort offers a tempting escape from city life. There’s lots to do here, from lounging on the beach, feasting at the seven restaurants, having a drink at the seven bars and lounges, indulging in pampering at the Sofitel Spa, or working up a sweat with the exclusive FloatFit HIIT water-based fitness classes.

The property doesn’t offer interconnecting rooms, but families can book the one, two, or three-bedroom family apartments that feature fully-equipped kitchens, elegant dining areas, and washer-dryers. There’s plenty to keep families entertained, too, like water sports, beach volleyball, six outdoor pools, and eco-golfing. The Amura Kids Club also offers lots of child-friendly activities and entertainment.

This hotel has also received the ALLSAFE Cleanliness Label, which means it’s implemented global standards for cleanliness and prevention developed by Bureau Veritas. This means contactless check-in and express checkout, temperature checks, face masks, and hand sanitizer, and disinfection tunnels at hotel entrances. In-room amenities and minibars are only filled on request, while turndown is only available by request, too.

UAE resident? The 'UAE Residents Staycation Offer' (from AED500/night) includes breakfast, 20% off at selected restaurants, and late checkout until 3pm.

Anantara Qasr Al Sarab

This stunning property set in the legendary Empty Quarter 90 minutes outside Abu Dhabi is a great destination for a socially distant staycation. Ahead of its reopening on August 14, the hotel is implementing a “Stay with Peace of Mind” hygiene programme that includes enhanced sanitation, EPA-approved disinfectants, expedited check-in, meals prepared to order, and pre-booked personal shopping sessions at the hotel boutique or nearby shops.

The gorgeous resort is an Arabian Nights fantasy brought to life, both in its design and experience. Aesthetics feature turrets, courtyards, arches, and plush carpets, while activities include everything from camel rides, archery, desert dining, and desert safaris. All rooms here can comfortably fit a family of three, but for extra comfort, book the Two-Bedroom Anantara Family Pool Villa which comes with a private pool.

The family-friendly resort features a newly upgraded kids and teens club with educational toys and activities; a kids’ area at the pool; complimentary activities like cooking classes and excursions; healthy kids’ menus; special turndown amenities; and exclusive mother-daughter or father-son spa treatments.

Ready to check-in? Book the 'Summer Villa Special' so the family can enjoy a one or two-bedroom Anantara Pool Villa and daily buffet breakfast, from AED1,999 per night.


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