By Cheryl King
The UAE Summer of 2021 will live long in the memory for many people. It was a chance to finally break free from the shackles of Covid and reconnect with family around the world, or try a new green-list, rather than bucket list destination.
We watched, and scrolled with envy at seeing holiday snaps, plane tickets and PCR tests plastered all over social media as many families seemed to make that great escape. Still wary of travelling in such times with a young family and the stresses of long airport lounging and Covid tests here there and everywhere, we decided against travelling overseas.
Still eager to entertain our two girls and give them a break from Dubai (yes, even children need it sometimes) we wondered over how to make it a memorable summer – then we found a winner – the idea of a UAE road trip.
Let’s just throw bags in the car (too many of them according to my husband) and head off on a domestic holiday adventure. We’ve been here for 16 years and there are still parts of the emirates we hadn’t explored. So that was the plan – six emirates, stay and play a couple of days in each one, then move on to the next.
Risking in-car tantrums, endless rounds of I-Spy, worries of uncharged iPads and the nagging. Fear of breaking down somewhere between ‘Umm Al Quwain and um, we’re in the middle of nowhere’, we set off on a King adventure across the Emirates.
Day 1 – 3: Abu Dhabi, Yas Island
With all the Yas Island Hotels offering ‘kids go free’ packages to the theme parks we decided to take advantage. Using the fabulous W Hotel as our base, we headed off to Ferrari World which was brilliant! So much to do and a fun packed day of 3D and 4D rides for families so we could all experience them together.
The next day we discovered Yas Waterworld for the first time. We chilled on the lazy river mostly while my daredevil daughter and husband braved all the water rides.
Day 3 took us to Warner Bros. Again, we ticked this off our to-do list and it was the first time visiting. All indoors, perfect for avoiding the heat. Some thrilling rides to say the least, we all had a blast. Something to do for all ages and kept us all entertained the full day.
Day 4 & 5: Sharjah
We traveled to Sharjah and stayed at a hotel which was recommend as a family hotel and that it was. While there is plenty to do in Sharjah both culturally and entertainment wise, we decided to take the opportunity to kick back and enjoy some pool and beach fun after the past few busy days. We stayed at Coral Beach Hotel and it had 2 swimming pools and a couple of kids water slides and a beautiful beach.
Day 6 & 7: Ajman
Staying at the Ajman Hotel gave us some authentic UAE feels. A huge entrance, big open spaces, a typical UAE type hotel. We were right at home with the amazing Zanzi Bar Beach bar and watched the sunset with wine and a game (or many games) or UNO.
We braved the heat and spent some time on the beach. The Arabian Gulf felt like a hot bath! At night we explored Ajman and found a fab funfair that had an assortment of bouncy slides and that kept the girls busy and happy.
Day 8 & 9: Umm Al Quwain
We checked in to Vida Hotel which was beautiful and super modern, and we had a lovely stay. We did not spend too much time as the Hotel as we spent a full day at Dreamland Waterpark (another tick on our to-do list). Again, we spent a lot of time on the lazy river while the other two deserted us for the big scary water slides and rides. Ticket prices are super reasonable and you can use Entertainer vouchers for discounts.
Our second day in the Emirate was spent at Umm Al Quwain Kite Beach Centre. Such a brilliant place to chill out and relax, even with kids. We hired a beach hut and they provided an AC unit, a shower in the hut, cold beverages and a fruit platter. The beach area is absolutely stunning with many Insta opportunities which I may have taken advantage of! The girls spent most of their time reading in the hammocks. A fabulous day was had by all.
Day 10 & 11: Ras Al Khaimah
We decided to do some glamping in the desert during our visit to RAK. We stayed at Dunes Safari and Camping Resort and were looked after like VIPs! Due to the time of year we were the only family staying on camp so they gave us a lot of attention and ensured we participated in all the activities they had on offer, such as sand boarding, camel riding and henna etc. Later a safari trip joined us for dinner where we enjoyed a taste of local foods and we got to watch some amazing entertainment from traditional belly dancing to fire dancing. Our dome tent was amazing and we had our own bathroom attached and an AC unit. They knocked the next morning at 8am with our pancake breakfast which was delicious. Such a fab stay and we can’t wait to do it again in the winter months!
After glamping, we booked into Murjan Island and Resort. We got upgraded to a suite and this is the hotel where I had my best night’s sleep throughout the whole trip! They had a great Pirates Kids Club and provided tickets FOC for the kids to play on the games. They had the best time!
Day 12 & 13: Fujairah
Our final stay was in the lovely Miramar Resort surrounded by the beautiful Hajjar Mountains. A slightly cooler climate and we actually thought it was going to rain! It did not, sadly. The resort was lovely and we walked straight out to the pool which the kids were super happy about. We enjoyed the massive waves on the beach. Never seen anything like it. It was legit like a wave pool. So much fun. From the beach we could see Snoopy Island which was fab to see as we’ve not seen it before and we heard the snorkeling there is brilliant and they have grey tipped sharks, harmless of course.
This was the end of our trip. On the way home we drove through Khor Fforkan which is also very beautiful with breathtaking sights from the mountains. Another place to visit during the cooler months.
Then we headed home to reality. Back to Dubai. We stayed in our home…. Home is where the heart is.