Surrounded by the azure waters of the Persian Gulf to the north and the Gulf of Oman to the east, it’s no wonder the UAE is blessed to be home to some of the best beach resorts in the world.
One thing UAE beach resorts really deliver is that great combination of luxury yet family-friendly. Our aim was to seek out those beach resorts that appeal to all members of the family, both together and individually (i.e., kids clubs and parent “me time”!).
We have sought out those UAE resorts with a great ambience and customer service, somewhere that will leave you with a great lasting impression and, most importantly, relaxed!
- 15 Best Beach Resorts in the UAE For Families
- Best Beach Resorts Abu Dhabi
- Best Beach Resorts Dubai
- Best Beach Resorts in Ras Al Khaimah
- Best Beach Resorts Fujairah
- And Best of the Rest – Elsewhere in the UAE
- Top Tips and Practical Information For Booking a UAE Resort
- How to Save on UAE Beach Resorts
- More UAE Staycation ideas
15 Best Beach Resorts in the UAE For Families
Click on the names here to jump straight to the details and pricing, or keep scrolling to find out why we love & recommend them!
- The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort (Abu Dhabi)
- Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas (Abu Dhabi)
- Anantara Desert Island Resort (Abu Dhabi)
- Madinat Jumeirah Resort (Dubai)
- Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa (Dubai)
- Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina (Dubai)
- Anantara the Palm Resort (Dubai)
- Centara Mirage Beach Resort & Spa (Dubai)
- JA The Resort (Dubai)
- Doubletree by Hilton Marjan Island (Ras Al Khaimah)
- Waldorf Astoria (Ras al Khaimah)
- Le Meridien Al Aqah (Fujairah)
Best Beach Resorts Abu Dhabi
Often the forgotten cousin to Dubai, but equally good – if not better – when it comes to soft white sands and uninterrupted views of the Gulf. The beauty is you can be only minutes from the heart of the city of Abu Dhabi but feel a million miles away.
Whilst there’s ample beach coverage around the capital (many people do not realise the main city of Abu Dhabi is actually built on a series of islands), you can also look further afield for luxury and indulgence away from the big smoke.
Our favourite luxurious beach resorts in the UAE can be found on Saadiyat Island, facing the Arabian Gulf; the sand here is pure white, and you’ll even find real waves!
1. The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
We love it because: With its striking Mediterranean features, The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort has an extensive offering of leisure facilities, restaurants, relaxation and a choice of three temperature-controlled pools indoor and outdoor pools, or head down to the soft sandy white beach for uninterrupted ocean views.
On a good day, you may see dolphins playing offshore, and in the nesting season, you will find Hawksbill Turtles nest in the dunes.
The family facilities here are extensive with the Sand Castle Kids Club offering a range of supervised indoor and outdoor activities free to all guests. There’s also a large splash play area, playground and a series of beach games and activities held with their entertainment staff on a daily basis.
You are only a short distance to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and a wide variety of dining options at Al Mamsha, a beautiful beachfront development on Saadiyat.
2. Saadiyat Rotana Resorts & Villas
We love it because: Also nestled on the pristine white sands of Saadiyat Island – undoubtedly one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Middle East, there is a great range of family-sized rooms available, as well as 13 beach villas and a choice of seven dining options.
For kids at this beachfront resort, there is the Aladdin’s Cave kids club which includes a lazy river, splash pool, cinema zone, water slide and entertainment for your younger kids.
For parents, there’s the outstanding Zen Spa to enjoy, with 10 treatment rooms and a Hamman, as well as Bodylines gym, tennis courts and a mini-golf course.
This is the perfect place to pick for a UAE resort retreat the whole family can enjoy.
3. Anantara Desert Resort Islands Resort & Spa, Sir Bani Yas Island
We love it because: This sums up the remoteness and raw beauty of the UAE wrapped up in Arabian opulence. Based a couple of hours’ drive west of the capital, on the Sir Bani Yas Island desert reserve, a short ferry from Jebel Dhanna.
The family offering includes a kids club, playground and kids pool, as well as a huge outdoor swimming pool and beach frontage.
Activities on offer for all the family include scuba diving, snorkelling, bushwalking, bike riding, bird spotting and horse riding. The Anantara resorts are the only habitation, so you are limited to their choice of 5 restaurants, but it’s a truly wonderful experience everyone should try during their time in the UAE.
There are three accommodation options here, all offered by Anantara, the main resort, or staying at the pricier Al Yamm Villa Resort or Al Sahel Villas with some additional privacy and private pool options.
Special Mentions in Abu Dhabi
Choosing between Saadiyat resorts was really tough – there are now five Saadiyat luxury resorts, all dotted all along the sandy white shores of the Gulf. If we had to give another special shout-out for families it would be the Rixos Saadiyat Ultra All-inclusive.
The St Regis Abu Dhabi – This is one of the best beach hotels on the main Corniche. The luxury hotel is based in Nation Towers, but cross the underpass, and you find yourself in the Riviera Beach Club right on the Corniche.
We absolutely love the food offered at The Terrace Brunch and New York-style all-day breakfast. Our only real criticism, the beach and Treasure Island Children’s Club here are slightly separated from the main hotel making it a little more of a faff to get around with the kids.
We also do love the value on offer at the Beach Rotana. Sadly, development all around the hotel has really destroyed the “beach” aspect of this hotel so it missed out on top billing. It would be remiss not to mention it though as it’s an excellent family choice in central Abu Dhabi with a wide range of resort amenities.
And finally, Emirates Palace – We left this one off as although it does have its own exceptional beach frontage (well you’d expect that for anywhere with its own helipad, lazy river, cricket pitches and private jet service), we consider it in a class of its own – learn why here! Do add it to your “someday” list though – search for special offers.
We were tempted to add some Yas Island hotels but disappointingly, they do not have direct access to Yas Beach as you’d expect, which is what we love on a beach resort staycation. They are a great choice though if you’re coming for a shopping, sightseeing and theme park weekend.
There are a number of luxury hotels on the Grand Canal (Bab al Bahr area) too with “beach frontage” but it’s all very artificial – and often ruined by illegal jet skiers. The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal has a particularly Mediterranean resorty feel, but I would really classify these more as city resorts, by UAE standards!
Best Beach Resorts Dubai
Now we thought it was hard narrowing it down in Abu Dhabi. Where do you start in Dubai?? The city is entirely spread along the Arabian Gulf coast to take advantage of the sea frontage, and there are some 600 hotels to choose from!
The most popular areas are around Jumeirah Beach and Palm Jumeirah, with its beachy fronds adding significant (albeit man-made) beach frontage to Dubai.
Luxury resorts in Dubai, however, come at a price; you have the most amazing facilities and the convenience of the whole city on your doorstep, but they’ll charge you for every little convenience – often making Dubai less attractive for a resort break than the other emirates.
We have tried to narrow it down to those that have top-notch facilities at a price that won’t knock you back a month’s salary. I’m sure we’re going to disappoint some of you in who we’ve left off!
4. Madinat Jumeirah Resort
We love it because: This resort is actually made up of 3 hotels – Jumeirah al Qasr, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam and the new Jumeirah Al Naseem – as well as 29 summerhouses of Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf and 7 Jumeirah Malakiya Villas. Between them all, there’s really something to suit all crowds, though, from family-friendly to romantic escapes.
The complex is attached to Souk Madinat Jumeirah, so you have easy access to over 50 restaurants and eateries, yet still have your own private beach, pools and wellness facilities.
All Jumeirah guests get complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark located next to the perhaps more famed Jumeirah Beach Hotel but we think Madinat Jumeirah Resort has the nicer setting. As well as 2 kilometres of unspoiled beachfront, there are also waterways that run inside the complex where you can take traditional abra boat rides.
If parents want to escape and enjoy a treatment at the award-winning Talise Spa, kids can enjoy all-day entertainment and child minding with Sinbad Kids Club and KiDS at Jumeirah Al Naseem.
For those who like a more adventurous break, there’s a huge range of water sports on offer, tennis courts, and even a climbing wall.
There is a complimentary shuttle to the Mall of the Emirates and the nearest Metro station if you are looking to explore further afield.
A highlight for many visitors though is the Turtle Rehabilitation Lagoon located at Jumeirah Al Naseem – you can read more about their rescue and rehabilitation program here.
5. Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
We love it because: Located on the Palm, the Sofitel boasts a Polynesian theme with extensive family facilities, including the Amura Kids Club, 3 pools, private sandy beach, as well as on-site dining and entertainment options and easy access to everything the Palm and Jumeirah area has to offer.
There is So Spa for the grown-ups and a waterslide in the main swimming pool for the kids; Gym, tennis courts and a private jetty are everything you expect of a city resowhich is rt escape delivered well.
The ‘off the shelf’ pricing can be a bit much but do keep an eye out for frequent summer specials and family page deals.
6. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina
We love it because: Boasting Dubai’s largest private sand beach as well as 5 swimming pools, 6 restaurants and bars, a water sports centre, Heavenly Spa, as well as shared facilities with the neighbouring hotel, the Westin Dubai Mina Seyah, you get an awful lot of bang for your buck!
The Penguin Kids Club has a daily activity program as well as offering 2 kiddy pools and indoor and outdoor playgrounds. But what makes this beach resort in Dubai really stand out is Jungle Bay Waterpark, complimentary for hotel guests.
You are only 200m from the Dubai Tram, making it easy to explore the surrounding area as well.
7. Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort
We love it because: Based on the eastern crescent of the Palm; this is a real urban escape. The resort has been designed around a series of internal lagoons with a real South East Asian vibe. Many rooms have direct swim-up access.
The facilities are second to none with the usual incredible array of dining options, leisure facilities, infinity pool, spa, jacuzzi, kids and teen clubs, and of course, beach frontage!
8. Centara Mirage Beach Resort Dubai
For great value, all-inclusive family fun, it’s hard to look past Centara Mirage in the Deira Islands area of Dubai. The beach frontage here is not so much the highlight but all the fabulous amenities for families.
Everything feels like it’s been thought of with the family in mind, from bunk beds in many bedrooms to the comprehensive on-site water park, ropes course and even a family-friendly spa with kids’ treatments.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining too, and convenient places for city sightseeing in Dubai. Definitely keep this on your list of top family resorts in Dubai.
9. JA The Resort
One of the most comprehensive resorts in Dubai can be found west of the city in Jebel Ali. Far more than just an industrial port for the city, head just that little bit further on the freeway back toward Dubai and JA The Resort reveals a hidden treasure!
Actually a combination of three hotels on one site, you’ll find JA Beach Hotel, JA Lake View Hotel and JA Palm Tree Court, all sharing some state-of-the-art resort facilities. There are over 25 bars and restaurants to choose from here as well as a gorgeous sandy beachfront.
Whether it’s water sports you’re into, golfing, horseriding or archery, there really is something for everyone here. It’s one of our top recommended resorts for older children who love their holiday activities.
Special Mentions in Dubai
There were so many fabulous choices we could have included, but we had to narrow the list down; in our well-worth considering list, we’d add:
Atlantis the Palm – it’s iconic, it’s grand. It can also be overrun with tourists and lack top-notch customer service with the sheer volume of guests. For this reason, it didn’t make our top picks but do keep an eye out for specials.
If you can get a good deal on double rooms along with entry to Aquaventure and the Lost Chambers then I’d suck it up for sure and go enjoy, with the crowds!
- We love the exquisite One & Only Royal Mirage Resort but a little out of price range for most – maybe save that for a special romantic getaway.
- Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort at the end of Jumeirah Beach Residences puts you in the heart of the action with a superb range of family-friendly features
- Dukes The Plam, A Royal Hideaway is another charming and family-friendly option with its gorgeous infinity pool set overlooking JBR, beach access and a lazy river.
- Fairmont the Palm comes highly recommended in many local mums’ chats!
- Centara Mirage Beach Resort Dubai offers a fabulous array of family-friendly amenities, but its beach is a bit meh; not an issue if you’re kept busy with the waterpark, lazy river and family spa! They offer all-inclusive deals, too, so definitely keep this on your list of top family resorts in Dubai.
Then completely out of ordinary budgets – yes THE iconic building of Dubai is a beach resort hotel, the Burj Al Arab. I’m not sure we should print here how much that’ll cost your family of 4+ per night! Go on, tease yourself and have a look here!!
Best Beach Resorts in Ras Al Khaimah
“RAK” is slowly but surely becoming THE place to go for your UAE staycation but is perhaps a lesser-known gem for overseas visitors. It is just a little bit further away from the big cities, so you feel like you’re truly away on an escape (but it’s less than an hour from Dubai).
Prices tend to be a little bit cheaper and more inclusions for your money. It’s also easy to access the desert and mountains for those looking to day trip away from the beach for a different aspect of the UAE as part of the same vacation – you can read more about all the fun outdoor activities in Ras al Khaimah here.
10. Doubletree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island
We love it because: Just what you want from a resort! The site has 5 swimming pools, including 2 dedicated kids’ pools, 600m of beach frontage, a kids club including an arcade zone and our favourite – the Pirate Boat Aqua Zone!
You will also find a new Tarzan Boat with trampolines, high dive boards and rope swings! This is in addition to play parks for the little kids, 14 restaurant choices and the choice of two spas – including a ladies-only spa if you’re thinking a girly weekend away!
The rooms in the villa suites overlook lush gardens and are really generous in size. There are plenty of grounds to explore before taking in awesome sunset views from the 9th floor.
Since our first visit to this resort, we have since been advised it can be a little rowdy and difficult to get seating at the restaurants on popular dates – do bear this feedback in mind, but we consider it a great value offering, especially off-peak amazing family prices.
11. Waldorf Astoria
We love it because: Set this one aside for a special occasion as it does cost a little more than others in RAK, but get set for a real family treat. With its own private beach, 18-hole golf course, luxury spa, 9 restaurants, tennis courts, and swimming pools.
Add to the mix for kids, there is a complimentary kids club, along with indoor and outdoor play parks, and babysitting can be arranged if you’d like a night out to try one of the 9 restaurants.
Special mentions in Ras Al Khaimah
We have a lot of runners-up in RAK! There is really a great selection of resorts to choose from along the extensive new coastline created by Marjan Island.
- Rixos Bab Al Bahr – famed for its ultra all-inclusive packages that are real value for money and a great party atmosphere. We only left it off the top as we felt there were more family-friendly options. It most definitely catered to the family market too, with extensive leisure facilities, the Rixy Kids Club, Teen Republic and babysitting (for over 3’s only).
- The Cove Rotana Resort – Although this resort provides beautiful Arabian styling and it’s own private beachfront, we felt there were more impressive beach offerings in the area. It is just BEAUTIFUL though with its centrepiece lagoon and village-like feel.
Villas here with private pools are a great option for families and groups. Facilities include 6 onsite restaurants as well as Flippers Kids Club and a kids pool, along with spa and leisure facilities. Certainly, if you’ve tried the Marjan Island resorts before and are looking for a change of pace this would be another great option.
Best Beach Resorts Fujairah
The Emirate on the furthest east coast of the country is now easily reachable from Dubai in under 2 hours. Still not as popular with overseas guests, it can be a bit of a hidden gem for local residents looking to escape the big smoke for a weekend, nestled between the mountains and the ocean. The Al Aqah area is the most popular for beachgoers – you can read more about things to do in Fujairah here.
12. Le Meridien Al Aqah
We love it because: For stunning views over the Gulf of Oman, lush gardens and extensive leisure facilities, this has become a firm family favourite.
The Penguin Kids Club offers an extensive program of activities for the little ones; entertainment staff are on hand as well as mini-golf, indoor and outdoor temperature-controlled pools and a splash area for littles.
Special Mentions in Fujairah
Miramar al Aqah Beach Resort – Close on the heels of Le Meriden, on the same stretch of beach, you’ll find Miramar. 5-star family luxury, complimentary kids club, with shaded pool, playroom and kids menu. Equally great for the grown-ups offering extensive evening entertainment packages.
Address Beach Resort Fujairah is a newer opening the team still need to go and visit before we added into our top recommendations but by all reports, it’s looking great! Three swimming pools, kids club, spa and fitness centre, huge beach frontage. Our biggest concern though is that the price tag is looking beyond budget for most families of 4+ needing a residence apartment.
And Best of the Rest – Elsewhere in the UAE
We didn’t have any beach resorts specifically from Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain make it to our top 12. Not that there aren’t accommodation choices in each of these Northern Emirates with merit, but they just weren’t spectacular enough to make the final cut with some very tough competition!
A lot of the resort hotels in Ajman are relatively new and not on the waterfront. There is the Ajman Hotel (formerly Kempinski), but the beachfront here isn’t as white and glossy as photos make out – you are next to a port.
The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah in Ajman is definitely worth highlighting. though again, may make a better couples retreat than family.
Sharjah is a dry emirate which makes it very hard to compete on the international resort scale; their speciality is more in affordable business traveller accommodation. Radisson Blu is set on the waterfront here if you are after a beachy option without any of the drinking party.
Top Tips and Practical Information For Booking a UAE Resort
Beware the Taxes
*For all the hotels we have listed and referred you to Booking.com for more information PLEASE look carefully to see if breakfast or taxes are included when comparing prices.
Whether prices are quoted gross or net really seems to vary, so check the fine print and expect to pay something extra at check out. Watch out for;
- Municipality fee
- Tourism fee
- Property services charge
- Room Tax 10/20AED per room night (varies by Emirate)
- From 1 January 2018 a VAT of 5% was implemented.
Also, with the exception of the Rixos chain and its ultra-all-inclusive model, expect to pay a lot for extras within your hotel. They know they have a captive audience, and you will pay all the taxes mentioned above on every purchase (it varies by Emirate whether prices are quoted inclusive or exclusive – look carefully for the +++
The Weather in the UAE
Remember, you’re on the Arabian Peninsula, which is vastly desert. Sure, that means pretty much year-round sunshine, but it’s important to understand a few things about desert weather.
The UAE in Summer
- The peak of summer can be unbearably hot, so hot you are unlikely to get any enjoyment out of sitting by the pool or dipping in the beach during daylight hours. The best resorts will chill their pools to make them bearable, but you’re unlikely to find any relief in the ocean where water temperatures can still be well over 30°C.
- You will also find a lot of things in the UAE shut down over the summer. Certainly, a lot of outdoor events and seasonal attractions are closed at this time of year, but life does move indoors. Expect you’ll be spending your daytime with kids at these indoor attractions, whilst early evening you can likely venture back out to the beach.
- The plus side of summer, you COULD find some incredible summer deals. They aren’t as cheap as they used to be but do seek out summer specials. Whether you’re a UAE resident looking to staycation or overseas visitors wondering if it’s still worth stopping when its so hot, the answer is yes! But you may not get “the full UAE experience”.
Winter in the UAE
Winter can be a little chilly. Yes! Daytime temperatures warm up to be pleasant for most but expect to need a wrap or cardigan in the evenings.
- Make sure your resort pool is heated, and unless you’re brave (or from the coldest parts of Europe!); in December-January at least it might be too cold for an ocean dip. Prices tend to be high in December as it’s the school holidays and a lot of expats have overseas visitors at this time. Christmas to new Year is exceptionally busy – wait until early January if you can.
- It’s also worth bearing in mind around late January to early February, some resorts use this low period to do annual maintenance, so not all pools or splash areas may be open. Ditto with the local waterparks.
That still leaves an absolute load of shoulder season to enjoy, though! You really can’t go wrong visiting mid-October to Mid-December and late February through to late May are the best for resort weather.
Religious holidays, events & resort etiquette in the UAE
Religious and public holidays are frequent occurrences throughout the year. You can see the calendar of 2023 expected holiday dates here.
We say expected as religious holidays are based on moon sightings, and as a general rule, even events that fall on known dates like National Day or New Year’s Day, the public holiday may be observed on different dates.
Ramadan is a different thing again! The Holy Month of Ramadan is the 9th month on the Hijri calendar (dates vary every year). Muslims around the world use this as a time of deep reflection.
Visitors are asked to refrain from a number of activities and provide an environment that allows Muslims to observe the month in an appropriate manner – primarily refrain from eating in public. Where it used to be that most restaurants and shops shut during daytime in Ramadan, this has SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGED. You will find nearly all restaurants and shops now operate without restriction during the Holy Month.
The other thing visitors should bear in mind if visiting during Ramadan is that opening hours can significantly change. The country very much moves to a nighttime culture.
Ramadan in 2024 will run from approximately 10 March to 9 April.
Can I wear a bikini in the UAE?
There are slightly different social rules within a private setting, like a resort and out in public. Whilst wearing a bikini might be fine within a resort, leave it there. Do not go on to the public beaches or into town scantily clad.
We would suggest even at the poolside, though, to show a little respect. Whilst you might be on private beaches and slightly different rules apply than public places like the mall, you will likely be sharing the resort with other Muslim families. You will notice that Muslim ladies show modesty at all times; most wear full-length burkini’s when swimming with their families. Personally, we’d recommend being more covered up than usual for everyone’s comfort – but you’ll see so many flaunting the local cultural etiquette.
Even if you’re not explicitly pulled up for it, showing too much skin in public here is considered disrespectful. I’d always suggest ladies look to cover shoulders and knees at a minimum. Gents, I’d honestly leave the budgie smugglers at home. Longer swim shorts are the norm for local men hitting the beach.
How to Save on UAE Beach Resorts
There are a few ways to get a little more luxury for your money.
- Grab an Entertainer 2-4-1 products if you’ll be out in the UAE for more than a few days. They cover a huge range of restaurants and entertainment facilities, including those inside resorts you might be staying in. If you plan selectively, you can make your money back on the cover price.
- Use the HotelsCombined price comparison tool. We’ve linked to them above in all our recommendations as they are the quickest and best way to compare hotel search engines and the hotel themselves for the best value offers. Do click on the details and carefully read the fine print on each advertised offer though. Some online booking agents might have access to group deals that go beyond the headline price or throw in complimentary extras or upgrades (like theme park tickets or restaurant vouchers).
- Sign up for the hotel’s newsletter. Particularly large chains like Marriott, Hilton, and Anantara, tend to write to their members first to let them know if there are great deals coming up. Sure, it can be spammy, but set them to go to a folder rather than your inbox and when you’re ready to research holidays, take a look.
- Sign up for Groupon.ae; Again, another one that can be spammy overload when you first sign up but set your mailing preferences right and they do have some really good value offers pop up.
- If you are after a daycation rather than a staycation, why not look into a Privilee Membership? They offer day access to a huge number of the UAE beach resorts as well as food and beverage discounts; it’s the best way to take a holiday without actually needing to pack your suitcases!
- Look out for Best Bites+ Member Deals for Summer Stay & Dine pakges – some real bargains and a reasonable joining fee that will instantly pay itself back.
So have we missed a favourite here? A place no longer as kiddy-friendly as it used to be? We’d love your feedback to keep our Top 12 UAE Beach Resort listing as up-to-date as possible!
More UAE Staycation ideas
Whilst you’re in the UAE, don’t forget to check these other posts out too:
- Best Desert Resorts in the UAE – a truly unique way to experience the UAE at least one night in desert luxury is a MUST!
- The UAE’s most exclusive family resorts with private pools – want to keep to yourselves? This list of private pool resorts is perfect for that special family event or privacy whilst enjoying all the benefits of staying in a resort.
- Incredible UAE Resorts with water parks – offering a little something extra, these top UAE resorts and hotels are family favourites!
- Best indoor attractions in Abu Dhabi –
- Best of the outdoors & the UAE in winter
- Fun family things to do in Fujairah
- Exciting places to visit in Ras al Khaimah
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