Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai

We stayed in an Ocean Superior King room with balcony at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai in March 2014 for 9 nights booked through Destinology.

Dubai has never really been on my list of places to visit but we were looking for some winter sun and wanted to try somewhere different to the Canaries but not as far as the Caribbean and Dubai seemed a good choice.  Also, one of my friends, Mrs H had recently visited with her two young children and recommended the hotel so after checking it out some more online we decided to take the plunge and book.

I’ve visited Bahrain before so had an idea of what to expect but appreciated that Dubai liked to do everything a lot bigger and better than not only its neighbours, but the rest of the world.  And, it certainly lived up to expectations with many a high rise building imposing on its clear blue skies including one which was a Big Ben impersonator.  How odd.

Away from the city centre though and the huge advertising billboards and photos of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the Jumeirah Beach Hotel could be anywhere in the world.  Well, until you look up and see its imposing wave design, it’s a huge hotel and then look over the way and see one of its sister hotels, the aesthetically pleasing Burj Al Arab.

We arrived in Dubai after an evening flight where we got a bit of sleep but with a four hour time difference our 9am arrival at the hotel still felt like 5am to our slightly confused bodies.  We knew that potentially our room wouldn’t be ready straight away, and it wasn’t, but we were told there would be a short wait, maximum two hours.  Four and a half hours later we were still sweltering around the pool (apart from Master ATWWAH as I’d popped some shorts in his hand luggage) so Mr ATWWAH went back to reception to find out why nobody had called us and was told that as we had made a last minute request for a twin room on arrival they had to find us another room as they had been preparing a king room as booked.  Aargh!  We hadn’t requested a last minute change so minutes later we were in the original room, a little bit confused and annoyed as to why we had been waiting for so long for a room we hadn’t requested to change.

Confusion aside the room was great.  They are very big, with plenty of floor space despite a king size bed, sofas, wardrobe etc.  The rooms were very well designed and there was lots of space.  Another confusion then occurred as we had been told Master ATWWAH could sleep on the sofa bed but we were then told there was no mattress for the sofa bed so they would have to bring in a single bed.  This took up quite a lot of room but ended up working out reasonably well as you don’t spend much time in the room anyway.

We had paid extra for a room with a balcony, despite our friends and Destinology advising us a balcony wasn’t necessary.  And they were right.  If anything, the extra money was a waste as yes, you got outside space but it was very small and also when sat down your view was a wall as the balcony was so high.  The floor to ceiling windows of the other rooms looked so much better from the front which is obviously why the architect never really bothered designing lots of rooms with balconies and the view would have been undoubtedly a lot better in these rooms.  Lesson learnt (pretty expensive one too!)

Don’t be fooled on the pic below we were in the rooms on the side with a balcony.  These are the really expensive suites, I’m sure there balconies were lovely.  We were in the rooms at the bottom of the hotel, the ones that have white ‘cladding’ on this pic.  These are the balconies.  Look at all the other rooms with their gorgeous floor to ceiling windows and looking all pleasing to the eye.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

The real reason for choosing Jumeirah Beach was for the family friendly facilities and these are second to none, easily the best in any hotel I’ve stayed in since having Master ATWWAH.  There are two children’s pools, one with a kids climbing frame and slide in the middle of it and the other has a small slide, water jets, shallow, paddling areas and three lifeguards.  There are tons of sun loungers so no scrabbling around trying to find a good spot, plenty of options for shade and sun.  It was so nice to be somewhere that babies and toddlers looked as safe as the more able kids who could swim.  The two pools are next to each other, divided by a fence, and they are just really well designed.

Family pool

One of the family pools

And, if that wasn’t enough, next to the kids pool is Sinbad’s Kids Club.  It is huge.  It caters for kids of all ages and hotel guests are welcome to use it throughout the day either with their kids or leaving them in there with the many kids club staff for a designated time.  The room is divided into areas including a soft play ball pool, an indoor beach with sand and a climbing frame, a cinema, an art area, a baby/toddler area with kitchen and an outside area which includes a bouncy castle which goes up each afternoon and a climbing frame.  It was hard to keep Master ATWWAH out.  There are scheduled activities throughout the day catering for all ages and a visit from the costume character, Sinbad.

soft play

Master ATWWAH in the soft play area of Sinbads

sand

The ‘beach’ in Sinbads

The hotel has a marina with lots of yachts moored there and at the end of it there is an over 21’s bar, 360.  But Master ATWWAH’s favourite night-time activity was going along the marina path to the bar on what he christened ‘the race track’ where he was Lighting McQueen, Mr ATWWAH was Francesco and I got to be Mater, the tow truck!  He ran up and down that path so many nights, with his hands stretched out behind him impersonating McQueen.  I’m not sure the hotel will ever market it as a kids activity in its own right but they’re welcome to if they fancy.

On top of all these kids facilities is the fact that hotel guests have free access to the Wild Wadi waterpark which is next door to the hotel.  For anyone with older kids this must be amazing as we spent an afternoon there and Mr ATWWAH loved it.  Master ATWWAH did a fair bit of paddling but there isn’t too much for toddlers but the big kids will love the slides.  Sadly my Baby ATWWAH bump put paid to any water park slides but I think Mr ATWWAH had fun for all of us there.

There are also tons of facilities for adults too and as guests of the hotel you get complimentary access to the Talise gym and its classes and there is an amazing looking spa with a full breakdown of treatments.

We went half-board on the recommendation of our friends and after seeing the prices of the various hotel restaurants if you weren’t I’m glad we took their advice.  Kids under 4 eat free anyway but you are given half board vouchers on arrival and you can choose to use them for lunch or dinner (dinner or tea if like me you’re from the north!)  You don’t need a voucher for breakfast, you just give your room number and you can take this in the big buffet area or at Beachcombers.  We chose Beachcombers every time as you can sit outside and if your toddler doesn’t want to sit still there is beach right in front of you that they can play on safely and in view of you while you eat.

The breakfast buffets were vast and there was a great choice of food including sushi, curry and stir fry if that sort of thing appeals.  Mr ATWWAH went with the flow and tried breakfast from around the world on some mornings while I stuck with the more calorific pancakes and maple syrup.  There was tons of choice though and you had until 11.30am each day to enjoy breakfast.

You could use your half board vouchers at a number of hotel restaurants including restaurants in neighbouring Jumeirah hotels too, some of which you had to pay a supplement.  With toddlers I definitely recommend Al Khayal, a Lebanese restaurant with entertainment in the form of a live band and belly dancer.  The staff are very child friendly and encourage them to dance along to the band and dancer.  Master ATWWAH was very confident when it was just him, a guitarist and a drummer but once the belly dancer arrived he was soon sat in his seat overcome with shyness.

Dancing in the Lebanese restaurant

Dancing in the Lebanese themed restaurant

Each restaurant has its own kids menu which is tailored to the restaurant you are in, frustratingly lots of hotels just offer one generic, limited kids menu which isn’t the case here.  You also receive a little bag at every restaurant with activities for kids including colouring, stickers, puzzles and so on with the Sinbad theme running throughout even on the cutlery and crockery.

Carnevale is a good Italian option with outside seating too which is always a bonus with a toddler.  Master ATWWAH watched the hotel changing colours throughout our meal in the evening.  We also got to experience one months worth of Dubai rain in five minutes while sitting outside one evening.  The waiters did a brilliant job shepherding everyone inside, including the Brits amongst us declaring it was only a shower.  Replacement food soon arrived at the tables inside and it was funny seeing such a big reaction to what was undoubtedly heavy rainfall but nothing that would even get a comment over in the UK.

We went to Latitude, the buffet, once.  I’m not a huge fan of buffets, more on that in a post soon, but there was a children’s buffet area too where there were toys and a TV showing Madagascar so you could potentially eat ‘in peace’ but be able to watch what your child was doing.  Personally I hated it but it was a good service to offer.

La Veranda was a good choice for alfresco food at night as it was right on the beach so there was plenty to see and it was definitely a popular choice with families.  For a five star hotel I don’t think the food was amazing and our one evening eating in the room probably saw us having the nicest food from room service.  Surprisingly your half board vouchers can be used for room service.

Mr ATWWAH’s friend and his family live in Dubai and they came over on the Saturday for one of the weekend brunches at Beachcombers.  This was a little insight into what the ex-pats get up to in Dubai.  The weekends are Friday and Saturday there with Sunday being a normal working day and the hotel felt considerably busier on those days as nationals and ex-pats buy day passes for the hotel and take advantage of the facilities and brunches.  The brunch food was really nice, an Asian buffet and again the kids weren’t left out with lots of entertainment including face painting, balloon modelling and an entertainer.  You can see why people choose to go and live there tax free for a few years with young families.

Beachcombers kids show

Beachcombers Brunch Kids Show

As Dubai is a Muslim country alcohol comes at a premium and all beverages are charged extra so you can easily rack up a huge bill if you’re both drinking.  Due to Baby ATWWAH bump I was abstaining which meant Mr ATWWAH didn’t drink much either.  I imagine if I was drinking we’d have spent a small fortune on wine.  There is a Premium Leisure Club service you can upgrade to which includes free drinks and afternoon teas but we didn’t think it would be worth the money with only one of us drinking.  I’ve seen lots of TripAdvisor reviews raving about it though.

As the hotel is part of a bigger group you can visit the neighbouring hotels for meals and also a look around.   We went to the Madinat Jumeirah a few times for a look around as not only does it have its own private beach but there is a souk, tons of restaurants with familiar names like Trader Vics, an amphitheatre and arena.  It is all connected by waterways and you can take a little trip around on the boat free of charge if you are staying at the Jumeirah Beach.  Our guide was telling us that it’s a big celebrity hang out with Roger Federer staying there and training before big tournaments and Tom Cruise has stayed in the villas apparently.

Madinat jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah

Would we go back to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel?  Yes.  It’s perfect for families but definitely comes at a price.  Interestingly if you can take the heat room rates drop drastically in the summer months as temperatures are so high.  One staff member told us that people tended to just sit in the shade or lie in the pool in the summer.  I’m not so sure it would be great for little kids though as temperatures can hit 40-50 degrees.  We were hot on the days it was in the early 30’s.

Mrs ATWWAH’s Top Five Tips For Staying At The Jumeirah Beach Hotel

  • Don’t bother spending money on a balcony room.
  • Book half board if you are travelling with children as there are tons of restaurants to choose from and it is good value when compared to eating in one of the hotel restaurants at full price a couple of times
  • Try to schedule your arrival as to when your room is likely to be ready (after 3pm) or pack swimwear in your hand luggage
  • Make sure you leave the hotel, it will be hard to, but you need to see some of Dubai too
  • The hotel isn’t cheap, enjoy every minute and soak it up

 

7 Comments
  1. I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for kids-friendly resorts and this one looks fab! (Though staying at Burj Al Arab is on my bucket list.) But I shall pin this up in the event I do go to Dubai. Think my kids would love it.

  2. I’ve got to admit, Dubai has never been somewhere I’ve felt the urge to visit – although there are other countries in the Middle East I’d love to see. The kind of resorts with lots of family-friendly facilities are definitely tempting with little ones, and compared with rainy Lanzarote, some guaranteed sun is always good! Thanks for linking up to #mondayescapes

  3. Nice review, were considering staying here with our 11 month old in March 2018. Good work!

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