This summer marked our second consecutive year of not leaving the UAE. Instead of dwelling on the missed time with parents, grandparents and extended family, we decided to try and make this summer the best one yet for my son. Luckily, at just 3 years old, he’s happiest in our company and always manages to squeeze every bit of fun out of every situation. The ‘Hit the Road with The Hilton’ campaign was the perfect opportunity to explore some of the different Emirates.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Our first stop was a full board stay at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. The first thing I must point out about this hotel is how incredibly welcoming the staff were. The check in process was quick and we were offered a fresh juice, before being shown to our room.

The room! Oh my! We were given the King Deluxe Suite, which in itself was stunning, but an addition of a tent, balloons and towel animals to celebrate my son’s 3rd birthday was just so special. After exploring the suite and eating some of the delicious treats laid out for us, we went down for a play in the family pool.

Dinner in the Mezzerie restaurant was a real treat. It happened to be surf and turf night while we were there, so my husband was in his element. Some of our favourites were the roast salmon, maple roasted root veg and the fresh focaccia, brought to our table by the chef. The Molten Pudding was the highlight of our meal though, YUM!

After an amazing night’s sleep, I woke up before the rest of my family and enjoyed a cup of tea on the balcony. It was so peaceful and such a lovely temperature – I wish I could have bottled it up to use next time I needed some me time! Once everyone was awake, we headed back to the Mezzerie restaurant for breakfast. It opens at 6.30am- perfect for families with early risers, but on this occasion, my son had a lie in and so we arrived at a much more civilised time. Initially, the buffet seemed to be the usual fair of breakfast delights, however, part way through our meal, the chef brought fresh-from-the-oven cheese manakesh and zataar saj bread to our table.

We had the pool to ourselves for a while after breakfast, which was lovely, and the staff kindly took some photos of us. So nice to finally have some family photos with me actually in them!

Lunch was nice in the pool side restaurant, but we were pretty full from earlier overindulgence, so we shared some nachos and mocktails, before heading back to the room to pack and have one last soak in the giant bath.

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact the team on 04 818 2222 or email xxx.

Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers

For our second staycation with Hilton, we chose a hotel in Abu Dhabi, taking advantage of our ‘green Al Hosn app status’, which we needed for returning to work later in the week.

The Conrad Etihad Towers was our hotel of choice and boy did it deliver! A cluster of five towers, each one taller than the next – the drive up to the lobby was very glamorous, our Pajero felt somewhat out of place! We were greeted by the lovely Grace, who welcomed us with open arms and escorted us to the check in desk.

The check in process was a breeze. The guest relations manager, Lamya happened to be there and showed us up to our room, which once again was above and beyond what I had expected. My son was thoroughly spoiled with all the delicious treats and the camping theme which was set up in his adjoining room! We were on the 32nd floor and the view over the city was incredible. I spent some of my childhood living in Abu Dhabi, so I had lots of fun pointing out old landmarks to my family.

For lunch, I booked an afternoon tea experience on the observation deck. 74 floors up, with a 360° view, it was very special! The food was beyond amazing! The theme was ‘fashion’ and we ate biscuit perfume bottles, stiletto cake and jelly lipstick, among other beautifully crafted treats. It was my husband’s first afternoon tea experience and he was blown away by it. The afternoon booking suited us perfectly with a young child, but for families with older children I highly recommend visiting at sunset, I’ve been told it’s incredible!

The rest of the afternoon was spent in one of the three swimming pools. We opted for the kids pool, while enviously eyeing up the swim up bar in the adjacent pool. The poolside service meant we didn’t need to move from our spot and my husband and I could both have turns at lounging, while the other played with our son. Bliss.

For dinner we booked a table at Nahaam restaurant, where the staff were attentive, and the food was delicious. Si, our waiter, was a lovely man. He indulged all of our fussy meal requests and took my son for a tour of the restaurant. Although we were ready to pop, we couldn’t leave before trying the signature Churro’s, which were divine! I’d drive back to Abu Dhabi, just for them!

We all slept really well, partly because the bed was luxurious, but mainly because my son fell asleep in his tent. So, we had a child free bed for the first time in three years! Big win!

Breakfast was buffet style in the Rosewater restaurant and was probably one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had. Desmond, our waiter, catered to our every need – my tea pot was always full, so I was a very happy Mummy. The entire trip was just so relaxing, the hotel staff were wonderful – it felt like we were on holiday. Crossing the border out of Dubai for the first time in two years was actually very good for my soul. There’s something very special about Abu Dhabi, it has a very different feel to Dubai. We absolutely loved it and can’t wait to go back.

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact the team on 02 811 5888 or email etihadtowers.reservations@conradhotels.com.

Written by British mum, Eve Wycherley