There is never a dull moment for families that choose Abu Dhabi as their next holiday destination. In fact, you’d be surprised at how much action-packed adventure is on offer here for families with children visiting the UAE’s capital.
From theme parks, such as Warner Bros World and Ferrari World, to water parks, such as Yas Waterworld, wildlife adventures at the country’s only World Heritage Site Sir Bani Yas Island, to a plethora of beaches and islands along its 200km coastline… Abu Dhabi has so much to offer holiday makers. Plus, with everything available both indoor and outdoor, it really is a year-round holiday destination.
Almost all hotels in Abu Dhabi, and on our list, cater to families with children and toddlers. And most, if not all, also have one or more swimming pools on the premises. Many have kids’ clubs and even offer babysitting services, usually at an additional cost.
When looking for a family-friendly hotel in Abu Dhabi, you’ll have to decide which part of the city you want to stay in. Yas Island is home to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 circuit, theme parks and waterparks, while Khalidiya gives you access to the incredible beaches and shopping that the Emirate has to offer. Hotels on the Grand Canal offer views of the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque, while those on Al Maryah Island offer peace and tranquillity.
So before you go ahead and make a booking, ask yourself, what do I want to do in Abu Dhabi, and make sure to choose a hotel that is best located for your plans.
To help you plan your stay, find our roundup of the best family hotels in Abu Dhabi.
Best family hotels in Abu Dhabi: a roundup
Best overall family hotel in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace
Best budget family hotel in Abu Dhabi: Officers Club and Hotel
Best Abu Dhabi hotel for young children: St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Best Abu Dhabi hotel for theme parks: The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton
Best Abu Dhabi hotel for motorsports: W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island
1. Best overall family hotel in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace
Emirates Palace | Check availability
Hailed as the ‘other’ 7* offering in the UAE, Emirates Palace hotel puts you in the lap of luxury. This hotel spans 1.2 miles wing-to-wing and offers 0.8 miles of coastline. There is so much on offer, that you won’t feel the need to leave the hotel during your entire stay.
Inside, the hotel truly feels like a palace with its Arabesque décor and gold-gilded ceilings. Take in the various art and artefacts as you wander through its vast corridors. Inside, the palace feels a little aloof, but as soon as you step out into its lush green gardens, adventure awaits.
There are two swimming pools. Adults can enjoy the Las Brisas Pool, located in the East Wing Beach Club. It features a large jacuzzi under a charming gazebo, and three smaller bubble pools attached to the main swimming pool with a swim-up bar.
Families can luxuriate in the larger adventure pools, located in the West Wing Beach Club. Water activities include a tranquil Lazy River run, cascading waterfalls, two water flumes, and a pool activities area. Children are in for a ton of fun at ‘Sarab Land’ where experienced child-minders will guide them through activities and games. An outdoor play zone is also available.
The whole family can also take part in water sports from wake-boarding, water-skiing, mono-skiing, inflatable rides, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Drive time from the airport: Emirates Palace is a 25-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
What Mumsnet users say
“If you want to go all out however (and have a big budget) then Emirates Palace is completely mind blowing. It truly is palatial. However, it does lack atmosphere and is so big that it can feel a bit soulless.” Poptartpoptart
“Everything! Service, style, food was incredible, very lovely. I can't comment on the kids' stuff and am pleased to say I didn't take them :) Toiletries in the room are fantastic, gorgeous bed linen etc. T'is pretty pricey tho :(“ MABS
2. Best Abu Dhabi hotel for motorsports: W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island
W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island | Check availability
This one is for all motorsports lovers. Located on Yas Island, overlooking the Formula 1 circuit, W Abu Dhabi is a dream escape for those that have a need for speed.
The hotel is modern, with fun design elements that are a signature of every W brand hotel around the world. Adorned with floor to ceiling windows, it gives perfect lighting for all the instagrammable moments that you want to have.
Kids aged 4 to 12 years old will love the Kids Zone on the seventh floor of the Marina Building. While parents are requested not to leave the hotel premises when their children play, they can enjoy the various hotel amenities safe in the knowledge that the little ones are taken care of by experienced childminders.
Parents and older teenagers can take advantage of the fabulous spa, designed as a traditional hammam. There are two rooftop swimming pools where you can cool off after a relaxing spa experience.
Off the hotel premises, families can access Yas Beach Club with a complimentary Yas shuttle service. The beach club offers beach and pool facilities, as well as a bar and dining area.
This particular hotel welcomes the whole family, pets included. It is one of the few Abu Dhabi hotels that allows cats and dogs to stay.
Drive time from the airport: W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island is just a 10-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
3. Best Abu Dhabi resort for families: Anantara Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
Anantara Qasr al Sarab | Check availability
If a holiday worthy of Aladdin and his Genie is what you desire, then a trip to the vast desert expanse is what you need. Anantara Qasr al Sarab rises out of the desert sands of the Empty Quarter like a mystical oasis of ultimate luxury.
This secluded resort has everything that you need for a family holiday. Each of the seven restaurants are child-friendly, and offer Middle Eastern and International cuisines. There are also child-friendly cooking classes.
Aside from the expected swimming pool, spa and gym facilities, the resort also has a world-class tennis court. In addition, families can take part in traditional bedouin activities such as camel riding and falconry shows, as well as mountain biking, horse riding, archery and so much more.
For a little me-time, your kids can enjoy the small kids’ club, suitable for ages 3 to 12 years old, or you can take advantage of the babysitting service. Families that need a little more space will enjoy a stay at one of the private villas, which come with their own plunge pool and butler service.
Drive time from the airport: Anantara Qasr al Sarab is 2 hours and 15 minutes away from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
What Mumsnet users say
“Qasr al Sarab is in the desert and absolutely amazing. Fantastic rooms and the food was unreal. You are about 2 hours from Abu Dhabi so there really is nothing more to do but they have activities like desert safaris, sandboarding and camel trekking if you want to do more than lie by the pool (we were more than happy to lie by the pool!) It’s properly luxurious with them coming round every hour at the pool with cool towels, iced drinks, offers to clean your sunglasses etc!” Bellebelle
4. Best Abu Dhabi hotel for swimming pools: Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana
Khalidiya Palace Hotel | Check availability
Your family will be treated like royalty at the Khalidiya Palace Hotel. Everything about this hotel is pristine. From its gigantic pool - the largest in the whole of Abu Dhabi - surrounded by cool lush gardens with sprinkles of red parasols to the contemporary, Arabian style of the decor… Khalidiya Palace Hotel is a delight for the senses.
Featuring a plethora of children’s activities, this is one of the best kid-friendly hotels in Abu Dhabi. Your kids are in great hands with swimming instructors that can help them learn to swim, or simply improve their stroke. Karate lessons are also on offer. In addition to the huge hotel swimming pool, there is also a kids pool with a jungle gym.
Even the restaurants keep the little ones in mind. All children under five eat free here. Saturday brunches also cater to the kids - with Ali Baba and the Forty Chefs, there are always surprises in store for the little ones. Families can also enjoy authentic Arabic cuisine on the private beachfront. But keep in mind that this is a dry (alcohol-free) hotel.
Lastly, the hotel has a gym and spa facilities and offers babysitting services should you wish to use them.
Drive time from the airport: Khalidiya Palace Hotel is a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
5. Best Abu Dhabi hotel for theme-parks: The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton
The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton | Check availability
This is the world’s first Warner Bros. hotel that will delight the entire family. You will experience unique hospitality through the lens of your favourite Warner Bros. characters.
Be surprised when your room service is delivered by a Looney Tunes character - it almost makes you want to dine in all the time. For those that want to experience the hotel’s other culinary options, there are five restaurants to choose from. The Director’s Club is the hotel’s signature movie-scene inspired restaurant, and is worth a visit.
In addition to a fitness centre and spa, the WB Abu Dhabi has two pools for unique experiences. The Overlook pool has a swim-up bar and offers expansive views across Yas Island, while the Matinee Pool features a ‘dive-in’ theatre where you can enjoy your favourite cartoons, while indulging in your favourite cocktail and mediterranean inspired delights.
The Looney Tunes themed kids club will keep the little ones occupied while you have some adult fun in the pool or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment.
The best part of the hotel is its next door neighbour, the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi Theme Park. This is the world’s largest indoor theme park. It has six immersive lands including DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City and Cartoon Junction. Your kids can meet their favourite superheroes like Batman and Superman, or cartoon characters such as Scooby Doo. There are almost 30 rides, family friendly attractions and live entertainment.
If that’s not enough, you’ll also enjoy transfers and entry to Ferrari World and Water World for even more family adventure.
Drive time from the airport: WB Abu Dhabi is a 10-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
6. Best Abu Dhabi hotel for food lovers: Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal
Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal | Check availability
Located close to one of Abu Dhabi’s most famous cultural attractions, the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque, Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal is among the best family-friendly resorts in the UAE.
Feel the luxury in every corner of the hotel. Starting with the private beach and swimming pool views. The kids can enjoy the cascade Adventure Pool, as well as the Ritz Kids club for 4 to 12 year olds. Offering a compelling repertoire of creative activities, the Kids Club offers an extensive program of supervised activities, both indoors and out.
You can take your tastebuds on a culinary adventure without leaving the hotel. There are eight restaurants featuring different global cuisines to choose from. For children, the Cascades restaurant offers a complete children’s menu if your little one is a fussy eater.
Located within the hotel complex is the Venetian Village. You will be transported to a different world here. Enjoy beachfront dining at many globally recognised restaurants including Barfly by Buddha Bar and Tokyo Grill or head out for a romantic night while taking advantage of the babysitting services offered by the hotel.
Drive time from the airport: Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal is a 20-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
What Mumsnet users say
“The Ritz Carlton in AD was impressive. Big hotel, a bit out of the way but nice.” Justfivemoreminutesplease
7. Best Abu Dhabi hotel for young children: The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi | Check availability
Fisher-Price bath toys and special children’s bubble baths are provided in-room for young children, just ask your butler. That’s right, the butler service is a signature experience of this hotel chain, making The St. Regis Abu Dhabi the ultimate luxury family holiday destination for a memorable vacation.
Centrally located, The St. Regis is just a short drive from major tourist attractions such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Saadiyat cultural district, as well as the city centre without being too far from sun, sand and play. Enjoy exclusive spa experiences and sophisticated dining options, including brunch in the hotel’s suspended suite - the highest in the world - or dinner on the skyscraper’s helipad.
Adventure and enchantment await your little ones, aged 1 to 12 years old, at the Sandcastle Club. The themed cave has a program of activities to capture the imagination, from dancing and arts, to nature walks outside, there is something to pique the interests of every child. Kids can also enjoy the climbing wall, sandpit and outdoor swimming pool.
Babysitting services are available but require 24-hours advance notice. Furthermore, you can get a 50% discount on a second interconnecting room.
Drive time from the airport: The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is a 20-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
8. Best Abu Dhabi hotel for the beach: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotels and Villas | Check availability
Head for Saadiyat Island - Happiness Island, when translated directly from Arabic - where you will find Park Hyatt Hotel and Villas nestled on an incredible natural beach. Far from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, this prestigious destination is a natural habitat for Hawksbill turtles and other wildlife.
This 5* resort charms families looking for a luxury getaway. Here you will find exotic gardens, palm-lined walkways, and a fine sandy beach. Enjoy the temperature controlled 50 metre infinity pool, as you gaze at the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf. You can also venture into the Gulf and enjoy the beach club facility. Families with young children will love the Kids Pool.
There is a supervised Kids Club on premises for those aged 5 to 12 years old, and baby sitting services are available. The property is also home to a number of restaurants, a spa and tennis court.
Drive time from the airport: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is a 35-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
What Mumsnet users say
"We stayed at the Park Hyatt in Abu Dhabi, which was also lovely and luxurious but it felt more American in style and was on the beach with a completely different feel about it (and cooler than the desert)." Bellebelle
9. Best family hotel for skyline views: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryan Island | Check availability
Located on Al Maryah Island, this 5* resort oasis is surrounded by water. It offers 360 degree views of the spectacular Abu Dhabi skyline, and is located just five minutes from the city centre.
This city oasis is perfect for families that like to explore. They can experience the hustle and bustle of all that Abu Dhabi has to offer within a short distance, and then kick back and relax at the end of a busy day. Concierge is on hand to help you plan a day out with the family in Abu Dhabi.
Six restaurants offer varied cuisine. Children can play at the play area located next to the restaurants, and children’s menus are offered. The swimming pool is located on the third floor of the hotel, and becomes a vibing lounge complete with DJ after sunset. Guests of the hotel have complimentary access and transfers to Cove Beach, just 15 minutes away.
The Kids for All Seasons program offers children complimentary cookies and milk on arrival, as well as access to the kids and teens clubs. Trained staff are on hand to take care of the children, while the grown-ups have some much needed ‘me-time’.
Babysitting services are also available in-room, as are rollaway beds and cribs.
Drive time from the airport: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi is a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
10. Best luxury family hotel in Abu Dhabi: Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri
Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri | Check availability
Experience modern Arabic luxury at the Shangri-La hotel. Rooms are located in different buildings spread across this luxury resort. Interconnecting canals give the entire place a very European feel with Arabic style architecture.
The pool has been hailed as an Instagram-worthy spot as it offers views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Guests can also enjoy the private beach and separate adults only swimming pool at CHI the Spa. Here you will find a gym, yoga studio, sauna and spa facilities.
The smallest guests, A.K.A your children, will enjoy the children’s activity zone with activities such as painting, sand art, puzzles and more. Parents can take advantage of babysitting services at an additional fee.
Drive time from the airport: Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri is a 20-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
What Mumsnet users say
"The Shangri-La without a doubt! It's one of the most amazing hotels I've ever stayed in. The lunch and evening buffet is stunning and there are also another 4 or 5 top class restaurants in the hotel too. It's classy and luxurious but still has a really friendly relaxed feel to it." Poptartpoptart
11. Best budget family hotel in Abu Dhabi: Officers Club and Hotel
Officers Club and Hotel | Check availability
This one is for active families who want to get the most out of their holiday. Officers Club and Hotel is not the common choice of hotel, but it is great for families with older children due to the history and amenities that it houses.
The property is huge, and offers an Olympic sized swimming pool, an expansive spa and gym facilities, including a martial arts training studio. Here you will also find a professional shooting range for enthusiasts, as well as squash courts and a tennis court.
Older children will delight in the on-site bowling alley, while younger kids can enjoy the dedicated children's area which also has a sheltered swimming pool.
The rooms come with a variety of features from ones that have balconies to ones that have a kitchenette and seating area.
Drive time from the airport: Officers Club and Hotel is a 15-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Is Abu Dhabi family-friendly?
Abu Dhabi completely caters to families with big and small kids. There is so much on offer, from resort-style hotels with plenty of kids activities, to amusement parks, shopping centres and sports complexes and wildlife sanctuaries, Abu Dhabi is the ultimate family destination.
Where can kids go in Abu Dhabi?
There is so much for the whole family to do and experience in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. We have rounded up some fun-filled activities for the whole family to enjoy:
Yas Waterworld: the only Emirati-themed water park in the world where you can enjoy over 40 different rides.
Ferrari World: home of the world’s fastest roller coaster.
Wadi Adventure: the first man-made water rafting, kayaking and surfing facility in the region.
Fun Works: located in Yas Mall, kids can enjoy roller coasters, arts and craft workshops, a five-storey soft playhouse and more.
Desert safari: enjoy a heart-stopping 4X4 desert driving experience, sandboarding, camel rides, henna and a bedouin inspired Arabic dinner complete with live entertainment.
Al Ain Zoo: home to a plethora of animals in a spacious and clean zoo.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve: see the 250 plus flamingo population that inhabit the area.
Where can I get cheap flights to Abu Dhabi?
A number of budget airlines operate from London and other cities in the UK to Abu Dhabi. A direct flight is seven hours, however, you might get more reasonable rates if you book flights with one or more stopovers.
Do I need to hire a car in Abu Dhabi?
While you do not need to hire a car in Abu Dhabi, it is more convenient than getting an Uber or Careem (the local version of Uber), or hailing a taxi. While Uber and Careem do have a child seat option, a regular taxi usually doesn’t. Plus taxis can get expensive.
Driving in Abu Dhabi is a breeze, the road network is excellent and there is plenty of parking. Your hotel will offer a complimentary valet service in most cases.
When is the best time to go to Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi is a year-round destination, as there are plenty of indoor activities during the hot summer months of May to August where temperatures soar above 42 degrees centigrade.
The best time to visit is in autumn and spring as hotels are slightly less expensive and there are fewer crowds. Winter is the busy tourist season for Abu Dhabi.
How we chose our recommendations
Recommendations by real parents
Before choosing any destination for our roundups, we first consult the Mumsnet forums. With over 10 million users per month, there’s a lot of suggestions by real parents who have been there, done that when travelling to Abu Dhabi with the family.
We’ve also picked the brains of ex-UAE expat, Nela, to provide you with a detailed guide and advice on where to stay with the kids in the emirate, the best places to see, and even tips on some of the unusual activities you may enjoy with the little ones in tow.
Expert guidance and traveller reviews
Here we’ll also check what travellers are saying about Abu Dhabi on these sites, taking into consideration both the positive and negative points of their trip to bring you a well-rounded and honest guide.
Finally, we cross-referenced all of the above information to find the best Abu Dhabi hotels for families that had won the most awards and recommendations across the board. We feel there’s something here for everyone, to suit every budget.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.