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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 water-sports centre and a super spa. Taking in Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort’s peaked roofs, myriad palm-trees and curvaceous lagoon pools from the shaded comfort of a sun-lounger, 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 kids 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. Another outstanding resort you need to stay when you visit Dubai can be found here! Check out my review of stay at The One&Only The Palm Dubai.
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. Anantara The Palm Dubai has a total of 293 rooms, including 33 villas.
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.
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. Utravlr Pro Tip: 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.
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.
What you should know
- 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. Under-12s stay in free baby cots or extra beds (£62 a night for over-12s), which can be added to most rooms.
- Qualified, English-speaking nannies are available with three hours’ notice, for AED75 an hour from 7am to midnight and AED100 thereafter.
- The wooden hut near the main pool sells suncream, so you need never run out.
- 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.
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