I booked our Dubai package with Emirates holidays, I always wanted to fly Emirates so it was only right I booked with them. It cost about £700 per person for flight and hotel for 7 days, I paid £55 extra to add on an infant . Booking with Emirates is easy and I am happy with the service that I received. The children are well looked after and get travel packs on the flight depending on their age. Ahaziah and Kaion got a blanket with a soft toy and Micaiah got a pouch with socks, pens and activity packs. On the way there Ahaziah and Micaiah got an activity box and Kaion got a baby pack with wipes, spoon bib etc. The ICE inflight entertainment system is fantastic with great music, movies, TV shows, games you can even watch live sport. I was very surprised at all the song choices I could find and made my own playlist.
As I travelled with an infant they automatically booked our seats with an infant bassinet. Kaion is 5 months and was snug inside it, if he was any bigger/ older it would have been too small, but he slept like a dream in it. The food on Emirates is good for children and adults.
I would definitely book a package holiday with Emirates again, you get great value for your money even in economy. I did however notice that on the way there the staff were quite worn out and this is what I read up on, they are known to be over worked and this was the vibe I felt, this could potentially be cause It was a night flight because on the way back I didn’t feel the same.
Hyatt Regency Dubai
We stayed in Deira which is 15 minutes from Dubai airport, the location was perfect for us although it was a little far from some of the excursions, but if you don’t mind travelling this shouldn’t be a problem. The area itself wasn’t the greatest (it was a bit like Peckham and you don’t see a lot of women) but it was a 5 star hotel and it was very close to the metro station.
We got connecting rooms and they were very comfortable and clean. The hotel itself is attached to a mall and has its own supermarket, ice rink and revolving restaurant. There are cash machines along with an ice cream bar. The hotel has a spa and provides complementary shuttle services to the beach and malls. The hotel also have their own car service which is very affordable. Overall I had a pleasant stay at this hotel, the staff couldn’t be more helpful and friendly even if they tried.
To get to the hotel I used hopper transfers, I’ve used them before and haven’t had any issues with them. I also had a discount code to get a percent off. Ahaziah left my bag in the mini van (he had ONE job) and they were able to bring it back to the hotel that evening. It cost around £50 for a return private mini van.
I pre-booked all our excursions before travelling at put together an itinerary so we didn’t waste any time deciding what do to. With certain countries I feel itineraries are important to maximise your time, money and experience. ALOT of research, planning and sweat went in to planning this family holiday and it all paid off. I learnt some great tips, I saved lots of money and I took some risks all I will share with you throughout this post.
Atlantis the Palm
So this is so crazy, I was scrolling on Instagram checking on all the pages of the places I wanted to visit and while on the Atlantis the palm I saw they had a splash web sale for 50% off all tickets valid until the 19th October 2019. I had penciled in Atlantis for 19th October but decided to go on 18th October to ensure I took advantage of the sale. I booked the tickets on the Atlantis official website and was so proud of my purchase. It cost £180 for 5 tickets.
The tickets include entrance to aquaventure, Europe and the Middle East largest waterpark with thrilling slides. I went on leap of faith and shark attack which were both scary but so fun for an adrenaline junky like me. The children enjoyed the children splash zone with plenty of slides and Ahaziah went on one of the bigger slides with my brother.
It also includes access to the lost chambers aquarium which was surreal, massive fish tasks and shark feeds. You also get access to atlantis private beach. The beach is lovely and there is life jackets available for children to wear.
We took public transport to Atlantis so that we could get on the monorail to see the stunning view of atlantis and the palm, if you take cab you drive under the tunnel and you don’t get to see the beauty of it. From our hotel it took 1 hour 30 minutes which included metro, tram and monorail. It is very easy and cheap to use public transport in Dubai and you get to see the stunning cityscape of the country.
My top tip would be to arrive when it opens to enjoy the full day of activities. We arrived late and didn’t get to go on many slides as the queues for the popular ones can be very long.
Burj Khalifa, Aquarium and underwater zoo
So this was the risk that I took….. Obviously I wanted to visit Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world and I saw combo tickets were quite popular so I looked into that. I found a website/ app called Klook which had the cheapest rate. When I looked into reviews they were good until I looked at reviews from Trust Pilot. The reviews here were awful and I think it got 2 stars. After reading so many awful reviews I decided that I would look into the savings that I would make after all people only complain when they have a bad experience and didn’t get what they want at the end. I looked at trust pilot reviews on getyourguide.com and Groupon and they too were awful and because I have used Groupon many times before I decided to take the risk as I would be saving over £100. I book through third parties all the time so I know how it works, I felt confident purchasing these tickets and they were confirmed within minutes and I got the tickets straight away. I didn’t have any issues using them. These tickets cost £210 for 5 people plus I got 20% off this amount with a promo code, it is not a UK based company they are based in Hong Kong so they don’t take GBP I paid in USD but paypal converted this.
Burj Kalifa is stunning in the day and night, its absolutely incredible. The lift takes you up to 124 floor in seconds. You cannot bring buggys upstairs but this isn’t made clear on the website or anything so if travelling with an infant bring a sling or your arms will get tired (under 3’s are free). You can spend as much time as you want to at the top.
In the mall you can see the aquarium but with the combo tickets you get access to the tunnel as well as the under water zoo. The tunnel is cool but its not that long. The underwater zoo is good, the boys loved it but I think lost chambers aquarium is much better. The combo tickets are great value for money but I personally wouldn’t buy tickets to the aquarium or under water zoo alone.
When at the mall you may as well see the fountains show which last 3 minutes every 30 minutes. It is so magical. You can get a boat for an incredible view or you could stand along the bridge which is what we did. The view was still amazing.
Dubai mall itself is overwhelming, with 5 floors and over 2000 shops. We had brunch in IHOP which was devine. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for the 10 minute walk from the metro station.
When you book a Emirates holiday you get complementary tickets to Dubai Parks and Resorts. It has 3 theme parks, 1 waterpark and unique dining and retail district. We chose Legoland splash park because Dubai is hot but they have AC everywhere and I wanted to be outside in the heat with water. The park is suitable for 2-10 year olds but there was plenty for Kaion to do and my 17 year old brother had a great time on the slides.
We took a hotel car here as transport is not included in the ticket and the drive was about 50 minutes. It cost 375 dirhams which is about £80 return for a 7 seater which is pretty reasonable. There are life jackets available all around the park and it is recommended for children who are non swimmers to wear them. It wasn’t busy at all here so the boys spent loads of hours on the slides. Again I would advise getting here early especially if you have water babies like mine so that you can check out the retail shops, we didn’t get to have a look because the boys spent the whole time in the water.
So here I will explain why it is important to do research when booking with third party companies. I also booked Ferrari world with Klook because it was on sale. I paid £221 plus 20% discount off this price for 4 people. Now Ferrari world is in Abu Dhabi which is about 90 minutes drive from Dubai, I knew I wanted to go but I really didn’t want to spend lots of money on getting there. I saw that you can take public transport but it would take over 2 hours, my brother was happy to do this jorney with me so I decided that we would go rather than IMG world.
When doing more research I found that there is a FREE shuttle service which takes you from various locations in Dubai to Yas Island. The closest pick up point to us was Diera City Centre. Now when I booked tickets with Klook it said Ferrari World with FREE shuttle. However, no where on the tickets does it say how or where you get the shuttle but because I did my research I knew what time and where I needed to be. I can see how people would give this company poor reviews because essentially this is false advertisement.
We woke up VERY early to take bus to Deira but the bus drivers at the station were not helpful in informing me where to get tickets so we ended up getting the metro which was quicker and easier. We got to the location which was Big Bus Tours service station and the shuttle was waiting, we got on it and it departed just after 9.30. We picked up some passengers from one other stop and drove all the way to Yas Island and the first stop was Ferrari world.
Getting back was also very easy and simple, the transfer was quite empty so the boys had lots of space to spread out along the seats and sleep.
Ferrari world was epic and it was their favourite excursions they did. The roller coasters were fantastic and Ahaziah managed to go on one at least 4 times. There was one that he couldn’t go one and that was the fastest roller coaster in the world. I went on it and it was crazy!! but I still enjoyed. Kaion and Micaiah could enjoy some rides and play areas but it was better suited for children over 1.3 metres. I think you could spend a few hours here as it closes quite late however I would advise getting combo tickets to the other parks in Yas Island for a more action packed day especially if you stay close to or its is easy to get to Abu Dhabi.
Yes mall is also great, we ate at The Cheesecake Factory which was my favourite meal in Dubai.
VIP Desert Safari
When in Dubai one must visit the desert! Another excursion which a lot of stress went into. So ideally I didn’t want Kaion going to the desert because I wasn’t sure if it would be hot for him so the plan was for my mum to have him that day. But that meant I would have to pump everyday to ensure he had milk for those 6 hours which I really didn’t want to do. Plus I am avoiding the use of chemicals on my children and to ensure my pumping equipment was sterile I would have to use Milton tablets which would have been the easiest option while travelling. I didn’t want to use the Milton tablets so I contacted the company and ask if it was possible for my mum to be dropped off at the camp while the rest of us do the dune bashing as that was my only concern for him. They agreed and said this was fine.
I booked this on Groupon and it cost 573 dirham which was £122 for 5 people, I also got 20% off this price with a Groupon discount code. The company I used were luxury tours and they communicated with me efficiently via email and Whatapp. On the the day of the excursion they WhatsApp me exact pick up point along with a photo of the car.
The package include pick up from hotel, dune bashing, camel ride, welcome tea, henna painting, dance floor, music system, evening snacks, free flowing water/ soft drinks, shish, international BBQ buffet (vegetarian and non vegetarian) fire show, belly dancing show. The price didn’t include but for additional price you could use quad bikes and take pictures with falcon.
Overall this company was good my only gripe was they took us to a shop dressed us all with the headscarfs and it wasn’t clear that these were extra especially as it says photos in traditional costumes. However, we all got one even Kaion and the photos I took looked amazing and the memories we made are priceless.
I did also feel like it was rushed a little, the camel ride was pants so if you haven’t rode a camel before don’t hold your breath on this as it last 1 minute. The boys and I wasn’t fussed as we have rode camels before but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be impressed.
So as I explained in the beginning my issue with Kaion dune bashing and all the preparation I had done before, that all went out the window because he joined in with it. I head him in my hands and at no point did I feel unsafe otherwise I would have requested them to stop. He was absolutely fine but I am shocked they allowed it because it is not recommend for under 6 year olds. The dunes itself wasn’t that big but it was a great experience and I am glad that myself and my mum didn’t get to miss out on that experience.
Dubai with children is incredible, there is so much for families and everything is amazing times 100. I would go back and recommend this country if you haven’t been before. I recommend booking excursions before hand and bring money for food and transport. The weather was 36/39 which was perfect as it wasn’t too hot and it was enjoyable.
If you are heading to Dubai and not sure what you want to do or you don’t want to plan an itinerary I’ve been told that it is cheaper to get a Go Dubai card so I would advise looking in to it, our you can do what I did and book each attraction separately and use discount codes on each attraction but this does require lots of work and research.
Ahaziah’s favourite part of the whole holiday was Ferrari world, Micaiah’s was Ferrari world and Legoland, I enjoyed it all and would go back to aquaventure and Dubai parks and resorts along with some of the other fantastic experiences that I didn’t get to visit.
On the metro women and children have there own seating area which is pretty good but don’t think the women will offer you a seat when your holding your infant in your hand, its free for all. I notice the women were unpleasant the men were very helpful and friendly.
I will do another post about travelling with an infant and the travel hacks I used to make it a enjoyable trip.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and if you have any further questions pop them in the comments
Until the next adventure……