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The Best Family Holidays: Vacation & Staycation Ideas for Summer 2016

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Get that family holiday you’ve been lusting over…

It’s that time of year again, mamas, and we can’t wait! Summer is officially in full-swing, and the long school holidays are the perfect time to book a well-deserved family holiday. Whether you’re looking to escape the Dubai desert heat, or stay around the Middle East, here are some getaway ideas to give you a fun-filled family adventure!

Family Vacations

We teamed up with the fab Lightfoot Travel to find you the very best family friendly destinations…

Spend your summer holidays with the family in Vietnam

Central Vietnam
Looking for a combination of beach, culture, markets and history, mamas? Get that winning trio at Hue, Hoi An and Danang – all of which still remain fairly off the beaten track. The Imperial City of Hue is perfect for exploring Vietnam’s history – and there’s lots for families to see and learn! The pretty cobbled streets of Hoi An are a dreamy family-photo backdrop. The best bit? It feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. And if you’re missing the beaches, then head to Danang on the coast, with an abundance of picture postcard white sand beaches, turquoise water and sunny skies. Sample delicious authentic Vietnamese cuisine, delve into the bustling street markets, shop until your hearts content, and enjoy some amazing scuba diving to top it all off!

A 7-night stay for a family of four at the Victoria Hoi An (2 adults + 2 children) starts at AED 15,641 and includes accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and flights for four from Dubai to Danang.

The Anantara in Koh Samui, Thailand is a great place to vacation with the family

Koh Samui
Koh Samui is a haven for families looking to unwind under sunny skies! Choose a secluded property where you can sip cocktails next to an infinity pool whilst the kids splash around, or charter a luxury catamaran to explore islands and caves galore! Kick back with a book and enjoy the amazing panoramic views without moving a muscle! Kids can dive, indulge in water sports, kayak and explore the lush island greenery crammed with exciting wildlife.

A 7-night stay for a family of four at Anantara Bophut (2 adults + 2 children) starts at AED 16,980 and includes accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and flights for four from Dubai to Koh Samui.

A fun-filled getaway in Inkaterra Reserva Amazonia in The Amazon

The Amazon
This one really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The Amazon is sure to excite the whole clan – so make sure the littles are old enough to remember it all (or, alternatively, take plenty of photographic evidence)! Pack your bags for a unique adventure, and get ready to head off the beaten track. The 4,400 mile long Amazon River runs through Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil (to name a few – woohoo!), and is bursting with wildlife and plants native to the region. If you’re looking to delve into it, you can even charter a luxury vessel and explore the region in style and comfort. From spotting pink dolphins, crocodiles and toucans galore, to resting and relaxing on one of the river’s white sandy beaches, there is plenty for the kiddos to fall in love with…

A 7-night stay for a family of four at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica (2 adults + 2 children) starts at AED 47,929 and includes accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and flights for four from Dubai to Brasilia.

Escape the hustle and bustle at the BElmond Jimbara Puri in Bali for a summer holiday

Great weather, fabulous shopping, and surfing galore are just a few reasons why Bali is the perfect destination for a family holiday escape. From fascinating culture and dreamy beaches, to sumptuous local food, this action packed holiday offers plenty for the parents, and the littles! Explore the terraced rice fields in Ubud, where children can spot tons of wildlife and can explore jungle temples. And if you head over to Uluwatu, the kids can learn to surf on beaches famed for their great waves! It goes without saying that you’ll have to try the gorgeous Balinese food (all whilst taking in the fabulous views, of course).

A 7-night stay for a family of four at Belmond Jimbaran Puri (2 adults + 2 children) starts at AED 20,290 and includes accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and flights for four from Dubai to Bali.

New Zealand's Huka Lodge is a great place for a summer holiday with the family

New Zealand
With endless activities for all ages, New Zealand is the perfect destination for a family summer holiday! Whether it’s skiing, hiking, paragliding, bungy jumping or wine tasting, immerse yourself in everything on offer here. Middle Earth, as it is often referred to, is known for its adrenaline heightening activities. Explore beautiful scenery including snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, beautiful green forests, and breath-taking glaciers. New Zealand offers lots of exciting wildlife, head to Kaikoura to spot baby seals and whales, before discovering penguins in South Island. The food and wine on offer in New Zealand is second to none, with delicious cuisine for the whole family!

A 7-night stay for a family of four at Huka Lodge (2 adults + 2 children) starts at AED 53,116 and includes accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis and flights for four from Dubai to Auckland.

Family Staycations

Dreamy escapes don’t need to involve long flights or pots of cash – especially when you’ve got young kids for whom a hotel room is fun wherever you are. So take a look at these holidays right here in the UAE, well within arm’s reach…

A staycation at the Ajman, a short drive from Dubai, is a great way to spend summer in the UAE

A Family Staycation In Ajman
Sometimes, even though we live in the UAE, we haven’t actually visited all of the Emirates beyond Dubai (slightly embarrassing). So if you’re looking to tick locations off the list? Head over to Ajman. With beautiful beaches and a slower pace of life, the smallest of the Emirates is only about a half hour drive from downtown Dubai (when the traffic is okay – DON’T attempt it during rush hour!). With school hols on the way, a staycation with kids at The Fairmont, Ajman can mean two days of splashing in the pool, collecting crabs on the beach and causing havoc at the breakfast buffet…

Check out our full review here

A family staycation on Zaya Nurai Island

A Family Staycation on Zaya Nurai Island
Imagine this – arriving at a jetty only to be taken on a boat to an exotic island surrounded by crystal blue sea, stunning villas on the beach all with private swimming pools and a lush natural island habitat with the friendliest staff waiting to greet you. Have you guessed where in the world we are? Well, let me surprise you: this heavenly escape is literally one hour away from Dubai, in Abu Dhabi. Welcome to Zaya Nurai Island, a tropical paradise 20 minutes by boat off Saadiyat island. Stemming from the Arabic word ‘Nur’ meaning light, Nurai is an island of staggering beauty, of turquoise seas and white sands. A place filled with natural harmony appealing to all five senses.

Check out our full review here

A family staycation in the Hajar Mountains

A Family Staycation in the Hajar Mountains
The Hatta Fort Hotel, just an hour’s drive from Dubai in the gorgeous Hajar Mountains, is one of the most kid-friendly and super chilled places you can hope for. Oozing old-world charm and with that sleepy ‘you’re away from it all’ vibe that most of the newer, bigger resorts lack. Our Sassy Ed Kaya first visited The Hatta Fort Hotel almost 6 years ago to escape the July heat when her newborn prevented travel further afield and now, three kids later, it’s become a regular go-to for a tantrum-free getaway. If you need any more convincing to book a quick family staycation, we’ve listed 10 reasons why we love it…

Check out our full review here

 A glamping staycation on Yas Island in UAE, perfect for summer holidays
A Glamping Staycation on Yas Island
Located only 1 hour from Dubai, why not check out the Capital – Abu Dhabi – where the very cool Yas Viceroy Hotel on Yas Island has just launched a ‘glamping’ option for a family holiday. Nope, you won’t be sleeping under canvas, mamas, but your kiddos will (in your room), a novel way of giving them a fab experience and a good night’s sleep without the need for cramming a room with extra beds. This is a family (air-conditioned) adventure that’s perfect for the hotter months coming up.

Check out our full review here

A family summer holiday doesn't get any better at the Anantara on The Palm islands in Dubai
A Family Staycation right here in Dubai
Looking for a quick escape? We can vouch for this place. After just two glorious days on this Palm island paradise, we left feeling rested, happy and as though we’d had a week away (exactly what every mama wants to say). Mega family friendly Anantara, The Palm is right within reach for even the busiest of parents. If you need more convincing then these summer offers are sure to do the trick. And if your other half still needs some convincing to spend the summer holidays right here in Dubai, then our 15 reasons to book a stay here, is sure to make the decision easier!

Check out our full review here


This article was brought to you in partnership with Lightfoot Travel, a Dubai-based luxury tour operator offering expert travel advice & inspiration, tailor-made itineraries & full booking services. Visit or call +971 4 455 8788 to book your holiday now.

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