Hotel review: Anantara The Palm, Dubai
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is a beachside urban escape located on the eastern crescent of the iconic man-made Palm Jumeirah island just off the mainland.
Sleek yet indulgent, the hotel shows off traditional Thai architecture with clean lines, marble floors, white walls and decadent dark woods.
If you're looking for a luxury child-friendly family holiday in Dubai, this is the perfect spot.
See also: Hotel review: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai
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As soon as you walk into the vast lobby bedecked with fresh flowers and views out to the sea, you know you can relax. Thai scents like lemongrass float in the air and staff couldn't be more friendly.
What's to love?
A 400-metre private beach overlooks the Dubai skyline, while a large infinity pool with a swim-up bar overlooks the golden sands. There's a watersports centre (waterskiing, kayaking, windsurfing, pedalos, banana boats, paddle boards and more) to keep anyone with the energy busy while you lie back on your sun lounger and order drinks from chosen sunspot.
The Asian-inspired Anantara Spa is a haven of relaxation set on an island in one of three lagoon pools at the hotel, too. Treatments are inspired by ancient Thai traditions as well as the Middle East's rich cultural traditions, using Arabian Gulf's seawater pearls. There's a Turkish Hammam and 24 treatment rooms, including five couple's suites.
Best rooms in the house
We stayed in a Premier Access Lagoon Room, which, as the name indicates, offers direct access from your balcony into one of the three lagoon pools that wind their way through the property. It's a fantastic feature and worth splashing out on if you can. Not all of the rooms get the sun all day, so if this something you're keen on then check when booking. There are 260 Lagoon View and Access Rooms, 12 Beach Pool Villas, and, if you're feeling really flush, 18 Overwater Villas (in fact, Anantara is the only hotel to have overwater villas in the UAE). Rooms are contemporary and slick, with dark wood floors and crisp white bed linen.
What's the food like?
The four main restaurants offer a delightful mix of Asian and Mediterranean fare.
The food in Dubai is exceptional and it's difficult to go wrong. Crescendo offers all-day dining and is the main breakfast spot; Mekong is one of the top Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants in the city and is a must-visit; if you're looking for something more laidback, head to the Bushman's Bar, an authentic Australian restaurant offering good old Aussie specials like kangaroo steaks.
Head over to the Beach House and enjoy a Mediterranean feast and seafood while watching the sun set over the Arabian Gulf. Bliss.
Before heading to your preferred dining destination, grab a drink at the Lotus Bar, just off the main reception, where you can sip cocktails with sea views.
This place is perfect if you...
... are searching for a truly laidback family getaway with a modern luxury feel. Children are really well catered for, with a kids' club (open 8am to 7pm) and kids' packs available to keep the little ones entertained during mealtimes.
There are sandy patches for children to play in next to the lagoon pools, and lifeguards on duty all day if the older ones want to explore. There's also a teen-targeted room decked out with pool tables and table football. On the flip side, if you're looking for a truly serene couple's-only holiday, you won't find it here.
Take a trip on the resort's Thai longtail boat for a different - and scenic - way to visit the Dubai Marina. Want to head further afield? Soak up some culture at a local souk. We loved the Souk Madinat in the shadows of the Burj Al Arab; for a taste of adventure, go on a Dune Safari, and hit the sand dunes any way you fancy from camel-back to 4x4 or quad bike. The Aquaventure Waterpark or Wild Wadi Waterpark also make for a fun-filled day out.
Don't forget to check when Happy Hour is at the bars and restaurants. Alcohol is expensive in Dubai, so the daily two-for-one offers go down a treat. Also keep your eyes peeled for the small Thai boats that weave their way through the lagoon pools and bring refreshments straight to your room terrace.
I want to go!
Nightly rates at Anantara Dubai The Palm start from £152 on a B&B basis. The hotel is a 45-minute drive from the Dubai International Airport, and taxis are easy to pick up outside the arrivals hall.
See more pictures of Anantara The Palm in our gallery below.