Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re staying in the UAE this year then there are endless opportunities to head off for some hassle-free festive fun.
Though French hens, turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree may be lacking, there are watersports, white sands and even snow to be found in the emirates.
From guaranteed luxury at Abu Dhabi's Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri to a mountain retreat at Dubai's JA Hatta Fort Hotel, here are some of the best Christmas and New Year staycation deals.
1. Caesars Palace Dubai
Enjoy a white sand Christmas on the 500-metre private beach at Ceasars Palace Dubai on Bluewaters Island, where you can also indulge in five temperature-controlled outdoor pools, children's festive activities and a meet and greet with Santa Claus himself. This year, UAE residents get a 20 per cent discount on the best available room rate with complimentary breakfast and dinner at participating Caesars Palace restaurants. Been a tough year? Treat Mrs or Mr Claus to the Gift of Time limited-edition 80-minute couples’ treatment at the hotel’s Qui Spa and get ready to start 2022 with a new spring in your step. It's also one of the best places in Dubai for views of festive fireworks.
From Dh3,396 excluding taxes; caesars.com
2. JA Hatta Fort Hotel
Search the sky for Santa’s sleigh from the Hajar Mountains this year and enjoy Christmas in the open air. Stays at JA Hatta Fort Hotel this festive season include a deluxe mountain room. There is also a choice of Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch or New Year’s celebration with plenty of holiday activities on offer, including Christmas cookie making, candy cane hunts and festive craft painting in Santa’s Village.
From Dh1,950 per night, minimum two-night stay including a festive meal; jaresortshotels.com
3. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates
Dreaming of a white Christmas? At Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, you can find exactly that with complimentary access to the Snow Park at Ski Dubai included in your stay. Once you’ve had your fill of making snow angels and shooting down the slopes with your family, you can head back to your Aspen Ski Chalet and get cosy in ultimate comfort. The chalets, which sleep up to six guests, each feature marble free-standing tubs, winter-themed amenities, private butler service and a roaring fireplace. As well as overnight stays, which have 30 per cent discount over the festive season. The ski chalets can also be hired out for dinners and private events from Dh750 per person. Let it snow!
From Dh4,786, including Ski Dubai access; kempinski.com
4. Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens
Perhaps you’re dreaming of a green Christmas? Zabeel House by Jumeirah in The Greens has you covered. Throughout December and January, the hotel is offering a bed and breakfast offer starting from Dh750 per night, perfect for a relaxing time away from home, or even better – somewhere to stash the in-laws. The hotel will be decked out in all its festive glory, and you can take your pick from Christmas Day brunch at Lah Lah or turkey with all the trimmings at Social Company.
From Dh750 including breakfast; zabeelhouse.com
5. The Abu Dhabi Edition
Planning on partying your way into Christmas Day? Clubbers at ANNEX at the Abu Dhabi Edition will be able to dance until they drop – right into a feathery king-size bed in one of the hotel’s Marina Deluxe rooms. The rooftop club is inviting partygoers to stay the night on December 24, 25 and 26 for a festive evening of dancing under the strobe lights before a restoring night’s sleep just a lift ride away. You’ll wake up the next day to sparkling marina views and fresh morning coffee, which you can sip in your plush Edition robe. Now that’s what we call a merry Christmas.
Dh5,000 minimum table spend; editionhotels.com
6. Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel
Get into the Christmas spirit at Anantara Eastern Mangroves this year. The festive escape includes a gourmet breakfast at Ingredients and a choice of Christmas Eve dinner or brunch on December 25 with a massive turkey, potatoes, sprouts and more. There will also be live musical performances throughout the holidays, plus Christmas gifts, a dazzling tree and the chance to slow things down with a peaceful stroll by the mangroves if the festivities all get a bit too much.
From Dh1,050 excluding service charges; anantara.com
7. Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
Head to the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri for incredible views, a kilometre of private beach and a stunning infinity pool this Christmas. The festive offer on December 24 and 25 includes a stay in a Deluxe Room for two and complimentary breakfast at Sofra bld. You can also feast on Christmas Eve dinner for an additional Dh261, or go for Christmas Day brunch for Dh349, before taking a festive sail on a traditional abra around the hotel’s winding waterways.
From Dh1,270; shangri-la.com
Ras Al Khaimah
8. Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort
This winter staycay on Ras Al Khaimah’s north shoreline is a Christmas cracker. With 1.5 kilometres of golden sand, seven swimming pools, watersports and a luxury spa, December days spent snoozing in front of the TV are a thing of Christmas past. Festive buffets are on offer at The Kitchen on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, starting from Dh195, while a huge Christmas tree and festive decorations will make sure you're firmly in the holiday spirit.
From Dh1,000; hilton.com
9. The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert
For a romantic Christmas stay surrounded by rolling dunes in the middle of a protected nature reserve, look no further than the Ritz Carlton in Al Wadi Desert. The luxury villas here are inspired by Bedouin architecture, and each has its own private pool and sweeping desert views. During the festive season, the resort will come alive with decorations, gingerbread house-making classes and Christmas brunches. Alternatively, you can stick to camel-trekking, archery lessons and stargazing in keeping with the desert dwellers of Christmases past.
From Dh5,287 including gala dinner at Kaheela Restaurant; marriott.com
10. Rixos Bab Al Bahr
Eat, drink and be merry this Christmas with an all-inclusive stay at Rixos Bab Al Bahr. This pyramid-shaped resort is all dolled up for the season with twinkling lights and a gigantic Christmas tree, while a visit from Santa is guaranteed to get you in the holiday mood. Unwind and relax in luxury rooms overlooking Al Marjan Island, feast to your heart's content during a decadent Christmas Eve supper and loosen the belt a couple of notches for a traditional festive brunch on the big day itself.
From Dh1,299 all inclusive; rixos.com
11. InterContinental Fujairah Resort
Swaddling a turkey baby? Snap yourself out of the Christmas carb stupor at the InterContinental Fujairah Resort. This festive season, and right up until the end of March, the hotel is offering an exhilarating Stay & Play package, including Dh350 credit to spend on watersports. So whether it’s Christmas kitesurfing or post-pudding paddle boarding, it’s time to take the reindeer by the horns and make a splash this festive season. Stays include one night in a Classic Garden View room, plus complimentary breakfast at Nama Global Dining and 25 per cent discount at the hotel restaurants.
From Dh850, including breakfast and watersports voucher; fujairah.intercontinental.com
12. Mysk Al Badayer Retreat
Head into the Sharjah desert this Christmas for winter frivolity set against towering sand dunes. Mysk Al Badayer is inspired by an Arabian castle and is the perfect setting for festive enchantment, while early morning camel rides and night-time stargazing add to the holiday thrills. This Christmas, guests can get 40 per cent off suites and 20 per cent off room rates, plus 20 per cent off dining and spa services when you stay a minimum of two nights.
From Dh980 per night when using the promo code FESTIVE for two-night minimum stay; myskhotels.com