DUBAI STOPOVER | THE ULTIMATE FAMILY GUIDE
BY MARCIA LEONE
Dubai has become our go-to stopover destination when we travel to Europe. For our son, the Dubai leg has become the highlight of the entire trip! We find a 2-3 day stay is the best way to survive the long haul flight, and help get us into the the new time zones. Up until our latest visit, our Dubai experience was a beautiful hotel stay with an epic waterpark for the kids. That’s amazing in itself, but this time we discovered there is just SO MUCH more to this place. It really deserves a week stay.
We worked with Visit Dubai to create the ultimate family stopover itinerary. I would recommend a 2 or 3 night stopover to be able to rest as well as enjoy some of these incredible attractions. I would say you could fit 2-3 of the activities below into a 48 hour trip and 3-4 for a 72 hour trip depending on rest time, children’s ages etc.
These attractions and activities are so incredible, you may just consider Dubai the destination rather than the stopover. We have already promised Archie we will do a week next time.
MUST- Do ACTIVITIES
DESERT EXPERIENCE | This was definitely one of the highlights. Something you can’t experience anywhere else. We drove through the desert to meet our guide and rode camels to a traditional camp where we had breakfast and learnt about the Emirate culture. Absolute must. Allow half a day.
OLI OLI | This Interactive Children’s Play Museum exceeded our expectations. It’s a sensory wonderland - hands-on positive play and imagination- where they are actually learning. The kids had so much fun running from one activity to the next- perfect to burn off some steam after a long flight (and tire them out before jumping on the next flight!) Hands on play where they are actually learning - but don’t tell them that. Great easy indoor activity to keep the kids busy and has a lovely cafe too. Allow 2-3 hours.
THE GREEN PLANET | This place was amazing. An indoor tropical rainforest with over 3000 plants and animals on over 5 levels. We held snakes, saw huge parrots, Piranha feeding in the aquarium and a Sloth! (moving!) Most animals were free to roam and fly about- which I found refreshing. Staff were knowledgeable and friendly. Perfect for families- particularly on a hot day. Allow 2 hours.
DUBAI FRAME | Even if (like us) you are scared of heights, you have to visit this incredible 50 story structure. It’s positioned so that from the top you get a sensational view of new Dubai on one side and and old Dubai on the other. Once up the top the floor is made from glass - revealing the view below - so you can walk on air. Our kids were obsessed. We were a little sweaty-palmed, but it was worth it for sure. Allow 1-2 hours
AQUAVENTURE WATERPARK | This waterpark is the sole reason Dubai is Archie’s favourite place in the world. We come here every time we stop in Dubai. Allow half or full day. If you stay at Atlantis you can pop in and out all day.
MOTION GATE | This Hollywood inspired theme park features DreamWorks, Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate and The Smurfs. The genius of this theme park is that parts are indoors which means you can visit even in the hotter months. It quickly went to number one on Archie’s list once he saw the indoor rollercoasters. Poppy met Shrek and Fiona so she was happy too! There are rides and attractions for children of all ages- and great for a bit of nostalgia for us as well. Allow half to a full day to explore.
AL SHINDAGHA MUSEUM AND PERFUME HOUSE | A beautiful modern museum set in renovated traditional homes by the Dubai Creek. The history of Dubai is shared in such an interesting and interactive way -I loved the combination of modern technology to tell the story of new and old Dubai. The Perfume House was the highlight for me. Such a gorgeous space to wander in a lovely area. Staff were knowledgeable and helpful. Allow 2 hours.
WALKING TOUR OF OLD CITY & ABRA BOAT RIDE | We enjoyed a guided tour through the Gold, Spice and Fabric Souks and caught an Abra boat across the creek to Old city dubai where we wandered beautiful lanes admiring the architecture and culture. This area highlighted just want an incredible clash of traditional culture and futuristic architecture Dubai is.
Dubai is not short on amazing accomodations for all budgets. We had two very different hotel stays- both were great for families.
ROVE HOTELS | modern, cool, minimal, set up well for families, various locations- what sets the Rove Hotel apart is the vibe. Unlike most of Dubai’s elaborate hotels, it was nice to experience a modern, minimalist style with a really cool, relaxed vibe. Great breakfast, pool, kids play area. The rooms were spotless- we had interconnecting which worked well for our family. This is a very affordable option for a stopover and a great base for activities.
OFFER For Best Available Rate inclusive of breakfast, 24-hour check-in/check-out visit ROVE HOTEL
Promo Code: AUDSO2019
Valid from 1st October 2019 to 31st August 2020 across all 6 Rove properties (Blackout dates are applicable during special events and during high occupancy periods)
ATLANTIS THE PALM | This world class resort has become a Dubai icon. Literally a world in itself, with incredible pools, dining options(hello Nobu) The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Wavehouse Bowling, playgrounds, private beach and AQUAVENTURE Water park - which is why it’s Archie’s favourite resort. it’s equally upscale but family friendly, which is a rare combination.