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‘Deluxe Family’ hotel rooms …. a real luxury hotel innovation

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In a couple of days I will publish a full review of the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm in Dubai, a thoroughly modest little hotel where all of the room corridors are lined with gold leaf!

I wanted to separate my discussion of the hotel from my discussion of my room, because the room was in some ways the most interesting bit.

If you’ve got a couple of young kids, your options when it comes to hotel rooms are limited.

  • You can try to squeeze two kids into a standard hotel room. However, fire regulations or lack of physical space often make this impossible, and who wants to spend 8 nights in a hotel room with zero free floor space?! And what do you do at 7pm when the kids go to sleep?
  • You can book a suite. This lets you squeeze the kids into the bedroom with you – its a tight squeeze, but at least they can go to sleep at 7pm and you can watch TV, order room service etc. And you have spare floor space. The downside is that most hotels charge – for a suite that is twice the size of a normal room – 3-5 times the price!
  • You can book two connecting rooms. This can work OK – the kids can go to sleep early in the other room – but you waste a lot of space. You don’t need two mini-bars, two desks etc.

The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai, which opened in 2011, has introduced ‘Grand Deluxe Family’ and ‘Deluxe Family’ rooms. These are very clever pieces of work, and something which I would like to see other high-end hotels pick up.

The ‘Grand Deluxe’ version of these rooms run from 65 to 80 square metres – I think ours was at the top end of that. To all intents and purposes, the room looks like a normal shoebox shaped hotel room. The genius of it, though, is that when you walk in there is an additional small room at the top. This is just big enough to squeeze in two single beds, with a small bathroom and a wardrobe.

The second bedroom and bathroom combined were only about 15 square metres. This is perfectly OK when only used for sleeping. That meant that the rest of the room gave us a huge 65 square metres of space.

Here is the kids bedroom:

Zabeel Saray Grand Deluxe Family room

And here is the main room – look at all that space. If we’d had two interconnecting rooms of 40 sq metres each, we wouldn’t have had even a fraction of this space.

Zabeel Saray Grand Deluxe Family room 2

These rooms are only on the sides of the hotel. They have to be, because that is the only way that you can have a window in the small second bedroom. This limits how many you can fit into a hotel, of course.

The other clever thing about this room is that you could, if necessary, sell it to a normal couple with no kids. The main area, at 65 sq m, is as big as a standard room anyway so a couple wouldn’t lose out – and they would have the extra bedroom for storage etc.

I was very impressed with this concept. In a couple of days I will tell you what I thought of the rest of the hotel ….

If you are looking to book Zebeel Saray, you should contact our booking partner Bon Vivant.  Bon Vivant is a Jumeirah Preferred Partner agent and can get you additional amenities, including free breakfast and a food and drink credit, with your booking.  You can contact Bon Vivant via the form on this page on Head for Points.

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Comments (12)

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  • pete says:

    Thanks for sharing this Raffles. I am staying there in August (2 adults and child of 13 years) but have had issues with getting club level access via BA. It seems this is not offered to bookings of more than 2 adults ? Would be interested to know if / how you got club level access with 2 small kids and a booking for a Grand deluxe family room ?

    • Raffles says:

      I didn’t get club access. However, the restaurant was closed on 3 days of our stay for a private function so we had breakfast in the club. Frankly, you’re not missing much – breakfast is better in the restaurant.

      The club is basically a bar, it may even have been designed as a bar and turned into the club lounge later. It has the Daily Mail printed out, that was the only thing of note! It is easier for young kids to run around in the lounge vs the restaurant, though.

      Do note, though, that breakfast is very expensive (£25 per adult, £15 per child) and there is nowhere else to go nearby. A deal with breakfast or club access should be considered in this context.

      PS. August, you’re brave!

      • pete says:

        Thanks for the info – i have half board booked but as im used to all-inclusive the last few years i was more worried about the drinks bill at the end of the week !!! I thought that Club access would give some nibbles during the day and some ‘free’ drinks in the evening – therefore bringing down the cost a little….may not bother with it now

        Haha last time i was in dubai it rained solid for 4 days, so bring it on !!

        Looking forward to your JZS review !

        • Raffles says:

          I assume there are nibbles during the day, but was never there apart from breakfast. The beach bar was doing 2-4-1’s from 3pm to 7pm so that should take the sting out of the drinks bill a bit!

  • Tom Betts says:

    How did you locate it, out of interest? I seem to keep having the dilemma about where to stay with kids and this does indeed look like a great setup. Just wondered if you had any specific resources you could share!

    • Raffles says:

      Fluke, to be honest. We usually stay at Madinat, their sister hotel, so I took an interest in this when it opened and saw they had these rooms.

      • coronationchicken says:

        Dang! I had hoped you might have had a secret source.. 🙂

        • Tom Betts says:

          Hmm not sure why Wordpress keeps calling me that..!

          • Tom Betts says:

            Think I might have fixed it..

          • Raffles says:

            Look at Hilton Residence Suites as well for a family. It is an apartment-hotel, just opened, which connects to the established beachside Hilton at Dubai Marina. Decent value when I priced it up.

            Slightly more painful option is Jumeirah Emirates Towers. This is a business hotel, very smart and has family sized suites. Price is a fraction of the beachside hotels, but you get free access to the beach and pools at Madinat Jumeirah as perk. You will be in a taxi each day but the cost saving is marked.

  • paul says:

    A bit OT, but do children really go to bed at 7pm any more? It did happen in my generation when we ate dinner at 5:30, but my child has never gone to bed before 9pm and if he did he’d be awake at 4am!

    • Raffles says:

      Mine always have, although the oldest has only just turned 5. We have always been very strict on bedtime, though – both our kids slept through the night by 12 weeks, and from that point always went to bed at 7! Give or take, obviously.

      My view that having your kids go to sleep at 7pm was natures way of keeping the parents sane. We have some friends whose eldest, until they started school last September, would never go to bed before 10pm. Imagine never getting a waking hour with your parner without your child being there as well!

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