Seven reasons Dubai is great for families

Whether for a holiday or to live, the emirate has plenty to offer parents and children

In a city where superlatives are not uncommon, it's not surprising that Dubai tops many world-best lists.

This week, the emirate was named the world's number one destination for family holidays in a survey by travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip.

The data encompassed the quality of family hotels, attractions and beaches, general safety and even the strength of the ocean currents, and Dubai was given a rating of 7.42 out of 10, followed by Colombo, Turks & Caicos, Barbados and Corfu, Greece.

As a fairly well-travelled long-time resident and relatively new mum, I concur.

My data does not include strength of the sea's tides, but these are my reasons for believing Dubai is a veritable family playground.

A 'melting pot' of nationalities

The term "melting pot" is thrown around way too often, but if anywhere is a good example of such a cauldron of communities, it's Dubai.

Walk around any bustling public place and snippets of an enormous range of languages will reach your ears.

I grew up in Bahrain, which is similarly multicultural, albeit much smaller, and I truly appreciate what growing up around people of all different backgrounds did for my general world view.

For my daughter to experience the same on a much grander scale, is a real privilege.

Friendly, sprawling residential communities

We live in Dubai Hills Estate, where the majority of houses are taken up by families. Every week or so you'll spot a newborn being strolled around the foliage-paved pathways by new mothers and fathers enjoying their comparatively easy introduction to parenthood.

See inside the newly opened Dubai Hills Mall

The trials and tribulations of having a new baby, giving birth in Dubai, the community you live in – these are all great icebreakers and make it very easy to strike up conversations with strangers (and potential friends), if you're so inclined.

The nationalities of these people, of course, will also span the planet.

Leave your doors unlocked

This is more figurative than literal, as I do still advise families to lock their doors at night, but if you don't it's unlikely you'll need to ring the police the next morning, as you undoubtedly would in other parts of the world.

Dubai, just as with much of the rest of the Gulf, is a safe place to live, and offers enviable security to resident and visiting families.

Scroll through the gallery below to see a Dh160,000 family villa in the 'happiest part of the emirate'

Attractions galore

This is perhaps the most obvious reason, but it deserves a mention all the same. There is just so much for families to do in Dubai.

From one of the world's largest waterparks – Aquaventure Atlantis – to child-friendly theme parks and myriad soft play centres, weekends are never dull. Expensive, maybe. Boring, never.

Everyone wants to visit

This can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it, but I personally enjoy the fact that my family and friends back home are always up for a visit to Dubai (pandemic notwithstanding).

I've lived in countries where they'd rather not visit and so the burden was always on me to fly to England more frequently. Now I can invite people to stay with us and enjoy their company without having to take on the stress (and cost) of flights and home visits. And my daughter gets to spend more time with them, too.

It also gives us a good excuse to go into full tourist mode, visiting all the places we might not have the time – nor inclination – to head to on a regular occasion, from The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa to the many beaches.

Authentic culinary experiences

This is akin to it being a melting pot of nationalities, but the fact that in the city you can find restaurants serving most cuisines is a real plus point in my view, so I can introduce my daughter to all the flavours of the world.

From Indian and Filipino street food, to fine dining and all the best Middle Eastern spots, I love that she's going to grow up not turning her nose up at "unusual" dishes and will know what real hummus should taste like (not the shop-bought stuff in the UK).

A world of education at your fingertips

For most Dubai residents who have come from afar, if they were back home there would be one, maybe two or three, options in terms of your child's education.

In the emirate, and the rest of the UAE, there are all sorts of schools offering varying curriculums and classes, and it's not a case of one size fits all.

There are similar threads throughout, overseen by the city's Knowledge and Human Development Authority, such as inclusion, but in terms of general ethos or particular syllabuses, you have your pick.

From eco-friendly institutions to places that don't give homework or those that offer bilingual options, there's plenty to choose from (perhaps even too much, if you're anything like me and get overwhelmed by choice).

Updated: April 08, 2022, 6:02 PM