We went on our first holiday as a family of 4 in May 2016 to Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai. After various stresses at home, we were looking forward to some relaxing, quality time away with the boys and that’s exactly what it was.
We booked a night flight as we had done last year when it was just the three of us and that worked out great. The boys slept from take off and woke up just before landing. We flew with British Airways and the experience was somewhat different to our flight with Emirates last year. We found the aircraft interior to be quite shabby and of a low standard. It felt much more of a budget flight than Emirates, which was pristine in every possible way. We arrived at Dubai Airport and quickly found our luggage and then got a taxi from outside for 120dhms (approximately £26).
Upon arrival at the Atlantis, we were met by a friendly porter who took our luggage out of the taxi and gave us a ticket to take to the check in desk. Check in was a bit lengthy but we had a few things to organise including ensuring we had a microwave in our room. I had called British Airways prior to travelling to enquire about the possibility of having a microwave in the room so we could sterilise bottles. I was advised that this would be possible but just to remind them upon check in. We did this but were told that their policy had recently changed so they were unable to provide an in room microwave. They did however say that we could use room service for free to get bottles sterilised and to get warm milk. It therefore wasn’t a major problem and they were very accommodating. During our time there we actually found out that we could have an in room microwave and this made life so much easier. They probably soon realised that this was going to save endless telephone calls to room service at all hours of the day and night. It was a bit tricky to explain how to sterilise the MAM bottles as well so I was much happier doing this myself.
The hotel is beautiful and clean. Our room was cleaned at least twice a day and we felt so relaxed leaving our personal belongings out without the fear of anything going missing. We had two double beds as well as a cot and there was still plenty of space to move about.
As I mentioned, this was our second holiday here and to or surprise they actually remembered us and Maicen. Kam took Maice down to one of the restaurants and he came back beaming, telling me how they remembered Maice and gave him ice creams and drinks.
We took the half board option which worked out great for us. Breakfast was included daily which consisted of everything from cereals and fruits to parantas (Indian flatbread) and pizza! The meal sizes are so big, which we had learned last year, so this time around we would often only use one half board ticket for lunch as most starters are like main meals themselves and in some restaurants such as The Edge and Nasimi Beach, we could exchange the dessert for a side instead. Kids meals were free, although Rhys was just 7 months so was mainly just having milk and fruits, bread and potatoes.
There is plenty to do at the hotel, including an Aquarium and a Water Park, which is one of the best in Dubai and there is unlimited free access during the duration of your stay. As well as this, there is the Dolphin Experience, which we did last year for Maicen’s first birthday and a Sea Lion Encounter, which you can pay an additional (but discounted) fee for.
We had planned to go out to the shopping centres and see more of Dubai, but actually didn’t end up leaving the hotel even once. We just loved lounging and having relaxing yet fun filled days with the boys at the hotel.
Our daily routine
6.30am : The boys would wake up
7.15am : Dressed and ready to go down for breakfast at either Kaleidoscope or Saffron. We would usually just all freshen up and put our swimsuits on with short and t shirts over the top so that we could go straight to the pool afterwards.
9.00am : We would get to the pool around this time. There were always plenty of sun beds available and we would get one in the more shaded area with an umbrella. After applying copious amounts of sunscreen, Kam would take Maicen into the pool and I would take Rhys.
11.30 : Lunch at a poolside restaurant (Nasimi Beach or The Edge) or Asia Republic, where Maice loved the Thai green curry and rice. We would take a walk around afterwards and either go to the Aquarium or sit and have some ice cream.
13.00 : Back to the room to bath the boys, give them some milk and for them to have a nap. I must admit that I would join them for part of their nap but Kam would stay awake, enjoying the views from the room and have a couple of drinks.
15.00 : Start getting ready for dinner, iron the boys clothes and prepare their changing bag for the evening.
16.00 : Wake the boys up and let them have a play in the room before getting them dressed.
18.30 : Dinner. Our favourite restaurants were Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar and Seafire Steakhouse. Both restaurants were very accommodating to the children too, which made dinner enjoyable. Our favourite buffet restaurant was Saffron as they had a great selection of dishes from all around the world, which were all of a very good standard – Italian, Indian, Japanese and Thai just to name a few.
20.30 : Take a stroll around the hotel and see the underwater creatures as we walked past (there was always a security guard ensuring that only guests staying at the hotel came through to this area).
21.00 : Bed time
I would highly recommend visiting the ShuiQi Spa. I used the jacuzzi and steam room, following which I had a wonderful one hour full body massage. I always feel a lot of tension around my shoulders which was genuinely relieved by having the massage. This set me back around £100.
We would have loved to have dined at Nobu Japanese Restaurant and Ossiano Seafood Restaurant, however they do not allow children under 10 years to dine there, therefore we were unable to go.
Another point to note – breakfast is not usually included on your check in day. We got there quite early and as our room wasn’t ready, they advised us to go for breakfast whilst we waited. It was only when we were checking out and saw the bill, that we realised this!
We absolutely love this hotel. Nothing is too much trouble and they are so child friendly. We’re always recommending it to family and friends and for us it’s a guaranteed fantastic holiday.