Anantara The Palm Resort, Dubai
I went on my first trip to Dubai just over eleven years ago now, it was the last holiday I went on my own with my Mum and sister. I absolutely loved every single thing about it at the time and it is still up there as one of the best holidays I have ever had. It’s been somewhere I have wanted to revisit ever since and take the children, we have a few friends who live out there who say it is one of the most family friendly cities you could visit, and I had been intrigued ever since to see whether it would live up to that trip I had all those years ago.
Emirates Holidays recently invited us to visit Dubai as a family and to say we jumped at the chance is the biggest understatement. I couldn’t wait to see how much it had changed and I couldn’t wait to soak up some sun and fun in a city that quite simply is full of excitement. I have flown with Emirates Airlines a couple of times, both to Dubai and to Thailand when I went travelling but this was the first time I would be trying out Emirates Holidays. Built around a team of extremely passionate destination experts, Emirates Holidays is the tour operator of the internationally renowned Emirates airline. Specialising in Dubai, Indian Ocean, South East Asia and South Africa, they provide premium, tailor-made holidays to a wide range of amazing long haul destinations all wrapped up with flights on award-winning Emirates. They have won many awards, including Best Luxury Holiday Company and Best Family Holiday Company at the 2016 British Travel Awards. We were counting down the days to fly off for a week of fun.
I have decided to do my holiday blog posts differently this time, mainly because I have so many photos I want to share. I am going to be doing posts directly about each different thing that we did, including the hotels we stayed in, our flight with Emirates, and the different things we did each day, including a trip up the Burj Khalifa, a day at the Atlantis Water Park and a day at Legoland Dubai. But initially I wanted to talk about the first hotel we stayed in when we arrived in Dubai- the Anantara Hotel Resort on The Palm. When I first went to Dubai The Palm was being built so I was really looking forward to seeing the finished result.
We arrived in Dubai after a night flight with Emirates (more about that in another post) and after a fantastic transfer with Arabian Adventures from Dubai airport to The Palm (about 50 minutes away), we arrived at the Anantara Hotel. And wow what a view greeted us. The resort is themed upon Thai architecture and the hotel is a grand building that you see as you pull up the long driveway towards it. We headed into reception where we were greeted with a cool face towel and two receptionists who couldn’t get enough of our baby boy. In fact more about that in another post but we have never been anywhere where the children were treated with such kindness and respect. After a brief wait we were told we could check into our suite, which was pretty amazing considering it was about 9am by this point and hours till technically we could check into our room.
We were staying in a two bedroom apartment in the Anantara’s residences. The hotel is split into different parts, the main hotel where there are some really unique over the water rooms, and then also the Residence’s which have a little more space for larger families like ours. Our room was large, beautifully furnished and with a beautiful view of the Dubai skyline from our huge balcony.
Having a little snooze after a tiring night flight. I love this photo of them.
Wasting no time to even unpack we dived straight into the pool. Dubai was a scorching 37-40 degrees while we were there and we had initially been really worried about how hot it was going to be for the kids. But honestly it really was lovely. Of course it was hot walking from place to place in the sunlight and by the time you got to your destination you were dripping with sweat, but every single part inside is air conditioned and the pool and the sea are absolutely glorious. The sea was like stepping into a really warm bath and the pools were actually shooting out cold water jets to keep it nice and cool. It was lovely and we wouldn’t hesitate to go at the same time again another year, the heat certainly didn’t put us off.
Enjoying their first dip in the pool, oh what I would give to be back there, it was absolutely beautiful. The Anantara has a main infinity style pool and then two smaller pools which are where the water villas sit above. You can access any of the pools via little walkways and there are chairs dotted about everywhere so you can just sit wherever you fancy. Some of the pools also have sand going into them which the girls loved as it felt like you were at the beach a little too.
Having a snack at the Pool Bar restaurant overlooking the beach- the Anantara was in a beautiful location in a quiet spot on The Palm. There were a few different restaurants including the chinese Mekong Restaurant, Mediterranean cuisine in the oceanfront Beach House, or rustic Australian dishes at Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar, whilst the main restaurant Crescendo serves up an international buffet throughout the day. As we were busy quite a bit we only ended up eating at Crescendo for breakfast each morning (there was a great choice and the girls absolutely loved the decorate your own pancake faces) and the Beach House for dinner and lunch one day as well. The food there was great and really family friendly with things like pizzas, sandwiches or risotto, plus the service was excellent, with the staff all being so good with the children, especially the baby. At one point he was being held and cuddled constantly by different waiters and waitresses.
I am going to do a whole post dedicated to going to Dubai during Ramadan, but one thing I will say is that before we went we were a little bit nervous about what to expect as we were concerned that it wasn’t the best time to go. We couldn’t have been more wrong. In the Anantara you wouldn’t have even known it was Ramadan, there were no restrictions on alcohol (not that I drink really anyway) or food and normal drink during the day. It was actually a really special time to go and I will talk about it more in more detail on another post.
On our first night before dinner we headed down to the beach to take some photos. The sunset set above the sea and it was such a gorgeous place to sit and watch it with the Dubai skyscrapers in the background. The beach at the Anantara was really beautiful, it was so clear you could see little fish at the shore which the girls loved. We finished off eating dinner al fresco at the Beach House.
This one reminds me of me at her age. I always had my head in a book and she seems to be the same.
In the background there are the beach villas, there are only a few of the and they are the most exclusive room you can get at the Anantara- don’t they look so gorgeous? They remind me of the Maldives which has been top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember.
Could this be any more peaceful? It was so quiet when we were there. I am normally much more of a pool person than the beach, but the beach at the Anantara was stunning, it’s crazy to think it is man made. Of course we had to go and swim in the sea every day, I have never experienced a sea so warm.
One thing that struck me about the Anantara hotel and indeed it was something which a few people had mentioned on social media when they had seen that I was there, was the fact that it was so family friendly. I have already talked about the staff, who couldn’t have been more lovely towards the children, but there was also so ,such for little ones to do. There was a kids club and a teens club if your children fancied it, plus a little playground made on sand and a mini kids pool in the shade. Every day there was also games in the pool that the girls loved to join in with as well. There was a great kids menu in all restaurants and it was just generally really geared up towards children.
The girls loved hitching a ride on the golf buggies to take us back to our room, which was great because it was so hot walking!
All in all we absolutely loved our time at the Anantara. The hotel was beautiful, the staff were so friendly and nice, and it was a great base for exploring Dubai, you could get to Atlantis (also on the Palm) in around five minutes, the Dubai malls within in about 20 and the airport within 45 mins. We spent three nights there and wished we could have spent longer. It was such a relaxing but fun place, in the most beautiful setting. We would love to go back again one day and spend some more time there. It was the perfect start to our trip to Dubai.
NB: Thanks to Emirates Holidays for working with us on this amazing trip to Dubai, we had the best time. All words, photos, videos and opinions are entirely my own. You can check out more about the Anantara Hotel here. Stay tuned for lots more Dubai posts coming up.