Travelling with toddlers: Dubai
I always thought of Dubai as a holiday for couples. Romantic escapes. The type of holiday you indulge in as parents only when the planets align or some sort of special occasion; like anniversary or your husband actually took the bins out, that sort of crazy celebratory shit. We had never been to Dubai before, not even in our pre children days. For some reason the 'strict laws' and rumours of people being imprisoned for kissing and sex on the beach, activities I actively like to take part in on holiday, they kind of put me off. Im more of a lay on the beach with my melons out type of gal sipping on some cheap diluted cocktails, whilst my skin turns into something that resembles a Leather Mulberry Bayswater. Flights with children is also not something I enjoy as a pastime. Not for the matter of my children but for all the wankers on the plane that huff and sigh when you find your allocated seat near them, the tiny toilet cubicle that only Houdini could change a nappy in and the fact that my 20 month toddler that isn't old enough to have his own seat yet, is the size of a small adult making my trip rather uncomfortable.
But in the world of rugby, a break mid season is not a common one, in fact I think the last time we managed to get away during rugby was about 5 years ago. So the moment Courtney got off the pitch on Saturday and told me he had a week off I could not race home quick enough. I googled 'hottest country January' and we were on a flight to Dubai by Sunday afternoon.
From the moment we arrived at the airport we were looked after, families are prioritised when it comes to queues, seating, etc... Seeing that my husband was 6ft,7 and my baby following in his footsteps, Emirates quickly sorted extra leg room and an extra seat for us. They were brilliant. The journey ran smoothly, with two seats, the kids could top and tail, napping the whole way. The dream!
We had booked The Anantara Resort, on the palm. They have beautiful family villas with steps into the lagoon from your balcony. The downstairs is completely kitted out for the kids with bean bags, fun wall art, a tv and two single beds. Either end of the stairs also had stair gates too which means you don't need to build a dam with spare furniture. Upstairs was beautiful and adult friendly with a large bathroom and dressing room. We got the best of both worlds and everyone was happy. The resort is right on the beach and we couldn't believe how child friendly everything was including the staff, yet still being such a beautiful stylish resort. They had a free kids club from babies to teens that looked amazing, at breakfast there is a small soft play area with a nanny on hand to help and do face paints for the children which Nell loved. Every morning with out fail she would choose her face for the day and sit patiently whilst the lady worked her magic. This also meant we got to eat our breakfast in peace and relax that the kids were entertained. There was a brilliant kids pool, half in the shade with beds in the sun so I could get my tan on. A lifeguard was at every few meters and the beach was a stones throw from the pool.
We decided to throw routine out of the window and let the children come to dinner with us every night. This worked perfectly as they were so tired from playing on the beach all day, after a bath they had an hours nap and were ready to go for dinner. We went to some great restaurants all really child friendly. There was only Nobu that we found to have an age limit of no under 10s. One restaurant I would recommend to try is The Cheesecake Factory, it was in the Dubai Mall. The Mall has a huge aquarium inside it which the kids loved, it also has a fountain display every night around 7, so much for the kids to do and see it was brilliant. Another favourite was The SeaFire Steak House at The Atlantis on the Palm. We had a brilliant waiter, he was great with the kids, even took them into the open kitchen to choose what ice cream they would like.
It was an all round perfect winter break. I would highly recommend taking the family.
...and I wasn't arrested.