Best Area To Stay In Dubai With Family

Dubai might be a city renowned for its glitz and glamour, but it’s equally famous for its stunning beach resorts, theme parks and rolling desert dunes. So how do you narrow down exactly where to stay when travelling to Dubai with your family?

sunset image over high rise buildings in Dubai's media city with text overlay best areas to stay in dubai

Your choice of the best area to stay in Dubai for a holiday with family will be dependent on a number of factors, including:

  • How long do you have in Dubai?
  • How many people are in your travelling party (we’re not all a compact family of 4!)?
  • How much of your budget do you want to spend on accommodation?

In this Dubai accommodation guide, we’re going to step you through each of the best locations to stay in Dubai with family, with their pros and cons, adding a few of our favourite hotel and resort recommendations to help you plan an incredible Dubai family holiday.

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Best Area to Stay in Dubai For Families

Before we get into the details of rentals, hotels, and resorts, it’s essential to understand the layout of the city of Dubai. 

Dubai is quite spread out along a 40-kilometre stretch of the Persian Gulf. Most arrivals come into Dubai International Airport (DXB) on the eastern side of the Emirate, whilst most of the resort areas are around 30 minutes away by taxi.

A detailed pucture of Dubai taken from above with the best areas to stay labelled

There’s no ‘city centre’ in Dubai; the attractions families might want to see, from landmark buildings to theme parks, are quite spread out over the city. The city is connected with a reliable Metro rail system – though it pretty much runs in a straight line across the city.

Taxis are relatively inexpensive, but nonetheless, you’ll want to stay in a spot convenient to what you will be doing most of the time in Dubai.

Wondering what to do in Dubai with the family?

Downtown Dubai – Best For Seeing the City Highlights

Downtown Dubai is the very modern side of the city, with towering skyscrapers, giant malls, and dancing fountains; this is all about the glitz and glam of Dubai and has some serious wow factor! After all, its home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and Dubai Opera.

downtown dubai lit up in the evening
Staying anywhere around the Burj Lake and Downtown Dubai will put you in the centre of the action

Convenience comes with a price, though; Any of the highrise hotels immediately surrounding the Burj Lake and the Burj Khalifa are on the pricey side, but you’ll be only a few minutes walk, often entirely in air conditioning, to the main attractions of Dubai.

Best Family Hotels in Downtown Dubai

  • Right on the waterfront with spectacular Burj views, try the Palace Downtown.

Why not try instead: Business Bay

Everything looking a little too pricey and too small for a family around Downtown without getting multiple rooms? We know the pain!

Immediately adjacent to the Downtown area, head a block or two further over, and you come to yet more modern highrises in the area called Business Bay. You can get larger hotel rooms here, self-catering apartments and more, just a 10-15 minute walk from Downtown – perfectly fine to walk in the winter, at least!

We’d argue this is one of the places to stay in Dubai with family on a city stopover without breaking the bank.

Best Family Hotels in Business Bay

  • We have stayed at and recommend Sonder Business Bay for a generously sized apartment with the ability to self-cater.

Palm Jumeirah – For the Luxury Dubai Resort Experience

This purpose-built man-made island is a holidaymaker’s dream if your idea of a brilliant family holiday in the sun is sitting poolside, enjoying splash pads, spas and unlimited elaborate dining choices.

Atlantis hotel on the outer crescent of palm jumeirah
Atlantis the Palm is always a great choice for families, but there are more than a dozen luxury resorts now lining the crescent of Palm Jumeirah

Best Family Resorts on Palm Jumeirah

  • You simply can’t go wrong with any of them! Atlantis the Palm is arguably the best family hotel in Dubai and has the benefit of being attached to Aquaventure and the Lost Chambers Aquarium.

Also consider Jumeirah Beach

Just beyond the ‘trunk’ of the Palm, there is a string of luxury resorts along the mainland that will deliver equally great stays to being on the Palm (and because you don’t need to travel up and down the Palm puts you just that little bit closer to key attractions in town).

Best Family Hotels in the Jumeirah Beach Area

  • One&Only Royal Mirage – irresistibly beautiful if the budget can stretch; this is one of our favourite luxury hotels in Dubai.

Another hidden gem many don’t consider, as it’s quite a distance from the airport, is JA The Resort. The facilities here are nothing short of incredible for families. In fact, three resorts in one; you have everything here, from beach and water sports to archery, horse riding lessons – you name it! And frequently MUCH cheaper than the Palm Jumeirah resorts

JA the resort one of the larget family beach resorts in Dubai emirate in the United Arab Emirates
JA The Resort is remote compared to other Dubai resort hotels but can offer excellent value as the best family resort in Dubai

JBR and Dubai Marina – Best area in Dubai for Longer Stays

Almost as glamorous, though not always with the sprawling grounds as Palm Jumeirah resorts, is staying in the JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residences) area of town. Adjacent to the Dubai Marina, this is a real hub of city life for tourists.

Everything you could want on a beach holiday, from sunbeds and loungers on The Beach, water sports, and retail therapy at The Walk, with loads of leisure facilities from cinemas and escape rooms to dhow cruises and boat trips can all be found in the JBR and Dubai Marina area of the city.

You are also adjacent to Bluewaters Island (home to the giant Ain Dubai observation wheel – which mysteriously remains closed after briefly opening in 2021). There’s still a tonne of dining spots open, though, along with Madam Tussauds and Tr88house family entertainment indoors.

a sunny day on the beach looking back at the high rise hotels of JBR
Touristy but popular and convenient to stay in JBr or neighbouring Dubai Marina area of the city

Best Family Hotels in the JBR/Dubai Marina Are

  • We love Doubletree by Hilton JBR, which has options for 1, 2 and 3-bed serviced apartments ideal for your slightly larger family.
  • Just a street off the beach, we’ve picked up some great deals over the years staying in Roda Amwaj Suites and JA Ocean View Hotel – simple hotel apartments but all the conveniences you need on your doorstep.

Also Consider: Renting a villa

Longer stays in Dubai for a week + could well justify renting a whole villa for your family or group. The villas you can rent on the likes of Airbnb are likely to be in more suburban areas, but you will get the space you need for a family.

Stay in a villa in Dubai for more space for a family

Old Dubai – The Best Area to Stay For Families on a Budget

If you’re not too fussed about staying at a family resort and simply need a place to base yourself either for a short stopover or while you’re off sightseeing during the day, we suggest the Deira and Bur Dubai areas of the city, often referred to as “Old Dubai”.

As long as you are within relatively easy walking distance of a Metro stop, this can still be a convenient and cost effect place to stay. You’ll also get to see the wonderful multi-cultural side of the city here, from the souqs to the Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood and Al Shingadha Museum.

Best Family Hotels in “Old Dubai”

  • Venture just a little closer to Dubai Creek, and the elaborate Grand Hyatt Dubai is a brilliant choice for a family stopover – not AS budget, but super convenient with loads of recreation facilities you won’t want to leave the hotel.

Also consider: Al Barsha & Internet City

Sheikh Zayed Road is the major multi-lane freeway that cuts across the entire city, and the adjacent metro line is the most efficient way for tourists to get around the city. If you stay just beyond some of the major stops – such as Dubai Mall or Dubai Marina stops, there are some good midrange choices that will suit families along the E11/Red Metro Line.

Best Hotels in Dubai along the Metro Line

Stay in the Desert For a Unique Dubai Experience

Camping/glamping and resort options for staying beneath the stars exist. Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, your budget, and the weather.

Best Glamping and Desert Hotels in Dubai

Looking for hotel and resort ideas in the desert? You will also want to check out our guide to the best Desert hotels in the UAE and the best family glamping sites in the UAE

Also consider: Hatta in the Mountains

The mountainous town of Hatta sits just an hour away from Dubai and offers a uniquely different experience. Many are surprised even to find mountains in the United Arab Emirates, but they are indeed there beyond the city and the desert.

The Hajar Mountains run all the way through the UAE to Oman and are a great place to see a different side of the city and engage in more nature-based outdoor activities in Dubai.

Hatta in the Hajar Mountains a good area to stay away from the city in Dubai

What Else Do Families Need to Know About Accommodation in Dubai?

No matter which location in Dubai with family you choose, these are some final pointers to help you make the most of your time in Dubai:

  • Taxes are added to the price you pay on your hotel booking. A lot of them. When using search engines such as Booking.Com, Expedia or Hotels.Com
  • All-inclusive packages in Dubai are rare, but look for them. At the very least, see if you can add a half-board package to save on some of your meal costs.
  • If you are staying at a large hotel chain, join their loyalty program. You can start saving immediately with little perks, perhaps faster check-in or a % discount on dining and spa services.
  • Don’t be fooled that all places advertised are actually THAT close; Even a 5 min walk in the heat can be painful in summer with kids or elderly parents in tow! There are some things just not worth comprising on when it comes to choosing your Dubai hotel with family! Stay close to transport or a shopping mall.

Where Else to Stay in the UAE Beyond Dubai

Dubai is just one of 7 Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It’s not the biggest Emirate but the most populated, so it tends to get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to holiday-makers.

If you’re new to the UAE and looking to experience a different part of the country, you may find some bargains looking elsewhere in the UAE, where they are multiple stunning coastal resort areas.

You may like to research further on our site, as our team has been reviewing these hotels between us for the last decade! Try next:

We hope our guide to the different areas of Dubai has helped you narrow down your choices on the best places to stay with families.

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Collage of beautiful areas for families to stay in Dubai

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Family Travel Middle East
Family Travel Middle East

The Family Travel in the Middle East team of travel writers are all parents based in the Middle East, sharing first hand experiences and reviews from across the region to help you plan your next family adventure.

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