Was Dubai (Jumeirah Beach Hotel) Your Best Ever Family Holiday?

(56 Posts)
ChickenSpring Mon 25-Mar-13 20:59:57

Looking to book a holiday at Jumeirah Beach hotel for a special birthday. Was really excited, until the prices started going up and up... So frustrated that we could have got the same holiday for £3-400 less just a couple of weeks ago. Now faced with either researching other holidays, or just booking at the higher price. Very keen to hear from anyone who has been with young children (ours are 5 and 2). We would be booking the dine around half board package which I understand is valid at all the Jumeirah hotels. Would we really enjoy fine dining with young children though? Oh and very nervous about drink costs too.

Roseformeplease Mon 25-Mar-13 22:06:17

Dubai is absolutely horrible unless you want to be trapped in a hotel. One big motorway, loads of high rises and hotter than hell. The hotel is ritzy but full of Brits. Try the Med as they are much kinder to children in Spain or Greece. In Dubai they are all stuck in a hotel room with the nanny.

ChickenSpring Mon 25-Mar-13 22:35:17

Thanks Rose. I've read lots of reviews and some do liken it to a slightly more up-market Butlins! It is certainly not somewhere we would normally go, but we hoped it would offer us a bit of luxury, whilst still being family friendly. We wouldn't be using the kids club or babysitting - the age they are they don't need a lot of entertaining other than other kids to run around with and it sounds like there are plenty at this hotel! Has anyone else stayed there and could help? We need to decide tomorrow morning before the prices go up even more. Spent all of this evening trying to find alternatives, and it seems most 'luxury family' holidays are in this price bracket.

WaynettaSlobsLover Mon 25-Mar-13 22:36:46

Agree dubai is dreadful. Better looking at the med or North Africa. Majorca is stunningly beautiful friendly locals etc.

ChickenSpring Mon 25-Mar-13 22:44:47

Hmm, Majorca. I will check that out as the shorter flight is very appealing. Very confused about Dubai. We have friends with same age kids who have been to Dubai and loved it. Not this hotel though hence the post. Maybe it is a love it or hate it type of place?

Roseformeplease Tue 26-Mar-13 08:06:11

You can get equal, much cheaper luxury elsewhere and not be in a large car park.

Bakingnovice Tue 26-Mar-13 08:15:25

Dubai is great for luxury but v expensive for eating drinking. And I agree that it is hotel based. We stayed at the westin Dubai a few years ago and have also been to the royal meridian and enjoyed both. We decided againSt JB on the basis that we thought it might be a bit of an upmarket Butlins. We haven't been for a few years now as its quite limiting once you are there and getting around is horrible. You can't walk anywhere and the only places we went to outside the hotel were huge shopping malls. It's good holiday if all you want is luxury and a break.

Lindamaryd Tue 26-Mar-13 17:10:43

I couldn't disagree more with the posters who hate Dubai! I am going there for about the 7th or 8th time this year and can hardly wait. We have tried a couple of other hotels, but have always ended up back at the JBH. My boys were 3&4 when we first went and are now 9&10. It is a false environment, made for wealthy tourists, but I feel you get what you pay for. The JBH in particular is great for families. The staff, who are mainly from places like India and the Far East, are without exception lovely. One of the reasons we keep going back is that they always make the whole family welcome, not just the grown ups! Other things we love about Dubai & the JBH...reliable weather, fantastic water park on your door step, excellent food choices for children, (not just nuggets etc on the kids menu, but sea bass, steak, chicken, proper food!), great hygiene standards, and a very high regard for safety. I have never seen anything like the life guards monitoring the Jumeirah pools. We travel a great deal and would highly recommend Dubai. If your budget stretches to the Premium Leisure Club do go for it, it covers some of the alcohol charges (which are eye-watering) and provides access to the very pleasant executive pool. There is so much more I could tell you, so please feel free to post any specific questions I might be able to help with. Try Best at Travel for a quote, they've been cheapest for me on the last couple of times, Value added travel and Destinology are usually good too.

NinaNannar Tue 26-Mar-13 17:11:14

arent there huge human rights issues in Dubai?

NinaNannar Tue 26-Mar-13 17:11:41

you need to disable your cookies OP - dont they add to the prices every time you look/?

MOSagain Tue 26-Mar-13 18:29:50

Dubai is lovely. You don't have to spend all your time in the malls, there are other places to go. I've stayed at the JBH a number of times and think the kids club there is one of the best. Have stayed at Atlantis twice and their kids club isn't nearly as good. The kids will love the wild wadi water park next door.

Drink can be expensive (you won't get it in a lot of restaurants that are not in hotels). Just be careful when you go, it can get VERY hot in the summer and don't go during ramadam.

thekingfisher Tue 26-Mar-13 18:32:17

look at sani beach in greece for luxury family, or the elounda group of hotels still hot but far more family friendly shorter flight etc etc

Look at BA holidays they had the cheapest holiday to the Sani as they are one for the few carriers who fly there so discount the flight in comparison to travel agents costs

ChickenSpring Thu 28-Mar-13 16:50:21

Just caught up with this thread. Thank you so much to everyone who has posted. We have booked the holiday twice in the last couple of days and both times it has fallen through due to rooms not being available. Thankfully we haven't lost any money. We decided on the Dar Al Masyaf in the end as we get some free drinks but are now having to reconsider the JBH. Back to my original concerns about drinks cost, and also read some reviews saying the hotel and grounds are starting to show their age?

IntheFrame Thu 28-Mar-13 22:38:02

Travelzoo had the hotel in July and August last year for £570 for 4 nights plus flights. Don't now how much it is that you are considering paying but to just to point out that availability in low season is possible.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 28-Mar-13 23:00:11

Have you considered the Shangri-la in Oman as an alternative?

ChickenSpring Fri 29-Mar-13 23:35:01

InTheFrame, that sounds like a really good offer. The best deal I've got for the hotel so far is £300 per night, although that does include half board for 4 of us in a refurbished room.

Lone, I've had a look at Shangri-la and it looks good! Price is comparable, in fact I think it could be cheaper if my experience of prices you get from ringing around versus accepting online is anything to go by. The longer flight and stop at Dubai is a bit off putting though. Also, I think this year my heart is set on Dubai, but this could definitely be an option in the future so thanks for suggesting it!

sphynx Mon 01-Apr-13 15:20:39

We have stayed at Dar Al Masyaf every year for the last 5 years. My children age 12 and 7 have loved it every time. If it is a relaxing holiday you want with good food, lots of restaurants, friendly and helpful staff, large rooms you will love it. The villas are very private and the Butler service is excellent. You really do get what you pay for. Each group of villas has its own private pool with a lifeguard. The Sinbads kids club is very good. The breakfast served at the Khymat is amazing, with endless choice. The first time we visited Dubai my children were also age 2 and 5 and they loved to spend time on the beach.

Frogman Mon 01-Apr-13 15:30:39

You are thinking of going somewhere because you get free drinks confused confused
I lived in Dubai - it's Blackpool on steroids and the JBH ain't classy by any means.
Europe wins, hands down, anytime.

middleagedspread Mon 01-Apr-13 15:35:25

When are you thinking of going?
I can highly recommend Mauritius as a luxury family holiday. Many of the hotels are really special; fantastic service, great beaches & lovely people. In the UK summer there are some great deals.
Only downside is the 12 hour flight.

Wallison Mon 01-Apr-13 15:39:49

Dubai is full of chavs who couldn't cut the mustard in the UK and also built on slave labour overseen by one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Why on earth would you want to go there?

ChickenSpring Mon 01-Apr-13 23:07:52

Sphynx, those are exactly the reasons we want to go to Dubai/Dar Al Masyaf! With two young children all we really need is a pool, a beach and other kids for them to play with. We are the ones that want the luxury side as we enjoy eating out, appreciate nice accommodation, modern facilities etc.

I do get confused by the differing opinions of Dubai though - Chav/Upmarket Butlins versus luxury 5 star?

Free drinks would be a bonus at Dar Al Masyaf as it could save us £30+ a day versus JBH.

We want to go in June. Have concerns about the weather but it is out of our budget at other times of the year.

givemeaclue Tue 02-Apr-13 07:22:22

Won't it be too hot for little ones in June? You'll find the beach too hot?

givemeaclue Tue 02-Apr-13 07:23:01

We are going to Mauritius in a few weeks with our children looks ideal.

givemeaclue Tue 02-Apr-13 07:24:32

I think Dubai must be a bit like las Vegas, some love it, its bling its chav its tasteless its ott. Others love it for same reason!

givemeaclue Tue 02-Apr-13 07:26:32

Others hate it, sorry!

Mondrian Tue 02-Apr-13 07:44:26

If you are getting it for 300/night then you get 300/night crowd not 600/night crowd.
We liked JBH but that was some 10-15 years ago, we stopped going there around yr 2001 as it started heading downhill. Last time we went to Dubai was in 2006 with our toddler and stayed at Medinat hotel which was far better that JBH with more things to do and better selection of cuisine (same group). We always bought drinks at duty free and stored in room bar, that way we only topped up when we went out. I agree that now a days its just an expensive concrete resort and will get far better value if you change location.

SizzleSazz Tue 02-Apr-13 07:57:48

I hated Dubai when I went. One big building site with Indian workers shuffling round in blue sackcloths. Although obviously you can't see them from inside the luxury resorts, so that's ok then hmm

Personally I would head for Turkey or Morrocco for heat and not too long a flight.

ChickenSpring Tue 02-Apr-13 09:19:31

Well I've been to Vegas and I hated it! Not my think at all. Although that was more about the gambling and prostitution. We stayed in a nice hotel on the strip and I did enjoy our suite, which is perhaps why Dubai appeals due to the luxury accommodation.

I will have a look at Mauritius today as an alternative as I've still been unable to book the Dubai holiday at a price we are willing to pay, so thank you for the recommendations!

Givemeaclue, yes I am concerned about that. We probably wouldn't hang out there all day, but I am hoping that we could spend an hour or so there, maybe late afternoon when the sun is less intense. We would obviously do all we can to keep safe in the sun. Although you've got me thinking now that maybe the sand will be too hot for them to walk/play on? Hadn't considered that.

givemeaclue Tue 02-Apr-13 09:25:24

If the kids are inside in the air con all day its not much of a holiday is it

givemeaclue Tue 02-Apr-13 09:33:00

Turkey good idea, some luxury hotels there

Or have you thought about Abu Dhabi? The city is a bit more family friendly.

[[http://www.shangri-la.com/abudhabi/shangrila/ The Shangri-la is nice]

Though I suspect the Emirates Palace May be out of your price range.

Mutley77 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:38:15

Haven't been to Dubai so perhaps I'm not going to be overly helpful but have a couple of close friends who regularly go (and love it!).

However from what you are saying I'm not quite sure what it is about Dubai that is attracting you. You can get luxury accommodation and good food in many places - June is a great time of year in terms of options as Europe is wide open to you in view of the weather. Dubai will be v v hot in June and therefore you may not get the benefits of a holiday that you would enjoy elsewhere (ie kids and you being outside around pool / at beach) without worrying about getting too hot or sunburned the whole time you are there. Having just emigrated to Australia the heat is fast losing its appeal to me - haven't had any trouble with sun safety it is just not overly pleasant to be out in high 30s all day!

Have you looked at somewhere like Martinhal in Portugal - ok I'm sure the height of luxury isn't at quite the same level as Dubai but the food was lovely (on and off the resort), the accommodation was beautiful - and the self-catering townhouses gave extra flexibility over a hotel room. The childcare was also excellent.

I personally would reconsider your options.

Mutley77 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:42:51

PS - when I say childcare I mean both the kids club, which my children asked to go to after meeting other kids who were going (they only went 2 hours per day but it was soooooooooo relaxing for DH and I having a break from watching our then 2 year old in the pool for 2 hours), and a lovely girl from the kids club then babysat in the evening while we went to the restaurant which wasn't child suitable / friendly a couple of evenings. The other restaurants were well geared up for kids and there was children's entertainment within our view so that they could enjoy themselves while we ate more leisurely.

Cosmostocupcakes Wed 03-Apr-13 20:55:39

Well I love it - then I would as I have lived there for 10 years - when are you planning on going? Its great for family holidays, lots to do - buy the entertainer book for discount vouchers - drinks are not cheap but similar to other hotels around the world - most evening buffets include drinks.

Children are adored here!

But some will love it and some will hate it!

Doesn't every country have human rights issues? shock

So much hate..... sad or just envy

Cosmostocupcakes Wed 03-Apr-13 21:10:10

There are nicer hotels the JBH though!

I see you want to come in June - it will be warm but so will Turkey etc...

Morgan Wed 03-Apr-13 21:15:32

I too lived in Dubai and would say that it will be hot in June - hot sand and surfaces around the pool . Nice when in the water but hot and sweaty otherwise .

I loved Dar al Masyaf though - good choice ! Nicer than JBH but still access to Wild Wadi etc and all the restaurants .

Can also second Oman if you fancy that .

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 03-Apr-13 22:28:33

Chicken there are direct flights to Oman both with BA and Oman air.

ChickenSpring Thu 04-Apr-13 14:09:20

Thank you everyone. We still haven't booked our holiday. I was so disappointed when our booking fell through again last week (rooms not available at price quoted) that I've decided to have a few days rest from looking. I am starting to have a few doubts about Dubai as well, mainly the weather (too hot in June!) but also the love it or hate it thing. I am going to look into some of the alternative holidays you have suggested so will keep you posted.

givemeaclue Thu 04-Apr-13 15:48:21

Op if you didn't love Vegas I think youre right not to do Dubai

Well I'm glad the weather is putting you off and not the very valid points people have made about the human rights violations hmm

Cosmostocupcakes 'Doesn't every country have human rights issues? '

No, they don't, which is kind of the point. Indian workers in Dubai are often slaves, in the very real sense of the word. Or have you not noticed the roadside shacks they live in? Were you not aware that they have their passports confiscated and are forced to work 7 days a week building roads?

carlajean Thu 04-Apr-13 22:26:46

I agree totally with lulubellarama how people would want to holiday somewhere built on slave lab our, which is ongoing, is beyond me

PoppyWearer Thu 04-Apr-13 22:31:06

We had a superb holiday at the JBH ten years ago, when Dubai wasn't exactly unspoilt, but it was possible to move.

We went back about six years ago and it was awful. Rude Russians everywhere, prices had gone through the roof, getting a restaurant reservation was a nightmare and traffic was hell. Everywhere was a building site. To top it all off, it rained!

JBH was still great, but markedly less great than previous experience and we didn't enjoy being elbowed out of the way by rich Russians every five minutes.

Not hurrying back.

Kelleewhy Thu 04-Apr-13 22:49:33

Went to the JBH for my honeymoon 11 years ago, before they created that little island for the celebrities to live on and definitely before the England football team stayed in the Burj! It was lovely and quiet then but from the sounds of some of your comments, it's taken a turn for the worse??

It's best to go in December. We went at a ridiculous time of year - September - and it was so hot that our camcorder lens kept steaming up! Even at 10.30pm! All in all we had a wonderful time at the JBH - great service, not many Brits though.

My worst holiday EVER was when we took our DCs to Egypt!! Never again!

Wallison Fri 05-Apr-13 00:00:34

"Our camcorder lens steamed up in Dubai" is a sentence that has so many first-world problems jammed into it that I could hardly begin to unravel them

Also very amused at disapproving of gambling but thinking slavery is ok.

MintyyAeroEgg Fri 05-Apr-13 00:10:41

Op, I am also seriously puzzled as to why you would want to holiday in Dubai. Or why anyone would want to, for that matter.

If you have a large budget then there are some amazingly beautiful countries to visit in Europe all of which will have wonderful luxury hotel options.

I sincerely cannot understand the appeal of Dubai at all confused.

HolidayArmadillo Fri 05-Apr-13 00:18:07

I like Dubai. Sorry.

We stayed at the Jebel Ali Golf resort. And latterly with friends. But June would be far too hot. Latest we've been is April and earliest October. Both still far too hot.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 15:21:09

I haven't been with children but we went for honeymoon and stayed at the burj al Arab and a hotel in the desert that I can't remember. I enjoyed it but it was air conditioned car,air conditioned hotel, air conditioned shopping centre and for me it really lacked character, but if I went with DC perhaps chilling out by the pool would be more the order anyway, but there are other places I would rather go to for that personally so don't be too disappointed. I

ChickenSpring Fri 05-Apr-13 17:58:22

Minty, it's not so much about wanting to stay in Dubai, but more about staying in a luxury, family friendly resort, short-ish flight, good food. Regarding budget, we set out wanting to spend £4.2k, this has now risen to £4.5k (+£1k drinks/other budget eek!). We can get 10 days half board, ocean views, refurbished room in JBH for this price. I've tried to find alternative luxury holidays in Europe in budget and I'm struggling. I really liked Martinhal in Portugal that Mutley kindly recommended, but couldn't get it on budget including food.
I'm coming to the conclusion we need to find out for ourselves whether we love or hate Dubai as opinions differ so wildly! My concern about the weather is growing, but we have friends who have stayed over the summer and they seemed to think it was fine. I have never stayed anywhere that hot before, it's really hard to imagine how we will adjust to it and how limiting it may be.

Barbie1 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:05:16

I lived in Dubai for four years and was very sad to leave.

I however wouldn't recommend going in the middle of summer, it's so very hot and wouldn't be at all pleasant especially with children

tass1960 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:13:49

Agree re DAM - been for the last three years taking advantage of the summer flavours deal - going again in September - lots of fantastic restaurants to choose from so it's not like half board deal in a hotel with only one restaurant. Always book early though and get great deals

ChickenSpring Fri 05-Apr-13 18:19:12

It is such a shame about the weather. We can only afford a big holiday like this once a year (and this is a lot more than we normally spend anyway), so if we don't go in June, Dubai is pretty much ruled out for us on a cost basis.

givemeaclue Fri 05-Apr-13 18:29:18

Go te Turkey instead then!

Barbie1 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:33:08

Have you tried this web site for some inspiration? smithandfamily.co.uk/

Ive just booked the Moon Palace in Mexico. Ive booked 10 nights all inclusive, in May, for just under 5k. Maybe that could be an option for you?

humblebumble Fri 05-Apr-13 18:42:32

It sounds to me as if you are looking for luxury accommodation and relaxing holiday then Dubai isn't a bad choice. THere is very little of "cultural" interest, but it is fun for a short holiday. People seem to love it or hate it.

Did you say you planning on going in June? It will be very hot, average highs of 38 degrees. It will be Ramadan for most of July and some of August this year, which I would avoid although hotel prices would be much cheaper!

I lived in Dubai for a few years. I like the heat. It doesn't really cool down at night at that time of year, which can be odd if you are not used to it. I can't remember it being that humid in June, it was worse in August/Sept/Oct.

JBH is a good family hotel, it connect with all the Jumeriah Hotels so you will have access to the same things (you can take a golf cart from one end of the resort to the other). The pools are chilled so they will be cool. The sea will most likely be too warm to pleasurably go into. There are lots of restaurant choices within the massive complex. Also the city is set up for the heat so there are lots of air conditioned choices if it is too hot.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 19:13:27

I absolutely love heat, I have never in my life ever complained of it being too hot. I have spent almost all of my summers in Turkey often at 38-40 degrees and never ever complained.

But Dubai, it isn't heat, it is humidity. To be fair we had just been to the Seychelles so didn't really need to chill out anymore, but every time I left a building my glasses completely glazed over and my husband had sweat running down his legs.... It was weird. And Early septemeber. Having said that I don't personally think heat is aroblem for children as long as they are protected and with the sea or the pool I think it is fine. When we were kids in Turkey we spent all day at the beach always and when we take our kids we do the same, just need to take the usual precautions and everyone has to go in the water regularly.

I am biased but since people have already mentioned Turkey, I imagine you could get so much for your money in Turkey as well as perhaps a bit of culture to boot.

The luxury in Dubai I found a bit too in my face. Don't get me wrong it was lovely but way too OTT, we actually swapped our last night to stay in a desert hotel and felt so much more relaxed. It was once in a lifetime luxury but not one I am in a rush to repeat.

Enjoy whatever you decide, I think with that budget you will get something really nice somewhere.

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