x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Travelling with kids: find a pool for the perfect holiday

The best kind of family break features easily accessible water bodies for the kids to splash in.

My motto for going away with the kids for the weekend in the UAE is "safety in numbers". The more people you take with you, the less parenting you actually have to do and the higher the probability of having 30 minutes of "me-time" - something that barely features in my vocabulary anymore.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I don't love spending time with my little ones but over the last five years the concept of sunbathing or lounging lazily by the pool reading the latest chick lit has completely disappeared from the realms of possibility.

Instead, from 6am to 7.30pm, the day is a high-octane adventure of splashing around in the pool, building elaborate sandcastles, pushing children ever higher on the swings and stopping little hands from scooping cupfuls of gooeyness directly from the chocolate fountain in the hotel restaurant.

Which is why taking a big crowd of parent-pals with you is a great way to guarantee an easier ride, because we can all take shifts. While one parent might offer to take the group of little people off for a session of sandcastle construction, the rest of us can enjoy a break before we volunteer for arts and craft supervision at the kids' club or water-slide action in the pool.

And my favourite hotel for a family weekend away has become the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa on Al Aqah beach. My vote is not decided by its restaurant-range, plethora of spa treatments or even the family-friendly price - but simply ease of access to the pool. Because, quite frankly, children aren't interested in anything on holiday apart from where the nearest body of water is and how quickly they can get there.

By booking a basic family room on the ground floor, we are equidistant from the pool and the kids' club. Exit the front door and we're colouring Dora the Explorer pictures in under a minute. Slide open the French doors at the back and you can stroll through the lush greenery and jump straight into the pool.

What I love about this hotel is that it doesn't just have one pool, it has three, and that includes a children's pool with a killer water slide that makes the adults scream louder than the children.

And because I'm a great believer in space, the ground floor garden room option has a triple advantage. It also gives the children an area to charge around and let off steam with their mates and the adults somewhere to sit out and relax in the evening while we listen to the snores of our slumbering offspring through the voile curtains after bedtime. For me, that's the closest thing to holiday bliss for a parent with small children.