Unexpected Serenity at Anantara Dubai

When I think of Dubai, I think big, bold and brash. The types of hotels we are used to are ones like Raffles, which ooze loud luxury and decadence from their core. So when we packed our bags for a recent mini break to Dubai, and Sophia’s first experience of travel, the last thing we were expecting was understated elegance and complete tranquility awaiting us at the other end.

But that’s exactly what we got at Anantara Resort and Spa, which is perched on the eastern edge of the iconic Palm Jumeirah. The hotel is unique in Dubai: the only place which offers a Thai-style experience, with South East Asian-inspired spa, architecture and over-water villas.

Our ‘Premier Lagoon-View’ room was large and airy, with a huge wooden bed, adorned with intricate carvings, and a peaked ceiling where an enormous, authentic ceiling fan hung, despite the air conditioning.

Our bed last night was so big that all three of us were able to starfish! 💛

A photo posted by Follow Your Sunshine | Blogger (@polbag) on

From the balcony, our view was over the lagoon-style swimming pool below us, which weaved in and out of the buildings, imitating the appearance of a location far more natural than this manmade island in this newly erected, sprawling city.

In fact, the only giveaway that we were anywhere other than an isolated wooden hut over a tropical lagoon was the enormous marble bathroom, complete with Elemis products…oh, and the fluffy American pancakes that arrived at our door the following morning.

As we wandered around the resort, I felt as though I was somewhere very far from the Middle East. Steps came down from the ground floor rooms into the shallows of the pools, meaning that these residents could literally roll from their bed into the water.

The staff drove rickshaws along blossoming pathways, transporting guests or materials for maintenance.

At The Beach House, we consumed Italian food while looking out over white sands and turquoise waters, and discussed how relaxed we were. After 2 months of sleepless nights with a newborn, this was exactly what we needed!

Even Sophia seemed to feel completely at home.

I was so happy that we’d chosen this resort for Sophia’s first taste of luxury travel. Her enjoyment was apparent – she had her first dip in a pool which she loved so much that she soon fell fast asleep…

In fact, quite out of character, she even slept in the evenings, allowing us to have a couple of romantic meals together.

By the time it came to leave, we were feeling more relaxed than we had been for weeks.

From the smooth music and soothing atmosphere that we enjoyed with sushi at The Lotus Lounge…

To our huge fluffy bed, where we enjoyed the deepest of slumbers…

It’s Thursday at last! Almost the weekend here in Qatar. We woke up this morning wishing we were still in this enormous bed in @anantaradubai but my dad has just arrived for a visit which has softened the blow of coming home a little. Hope you’re all enjoying the wind down to the weekend! 💛

A photo posted by Follow Your Sunshine | Blogger (@polbag) on

And our endless enjoyment of the stunning pools at every time of day…

Day 22 of the #TTLMAYMAMACHALLENGE with @tattooedtealady My proudest moment as a mummy came this weekend. We have come to Dubai on a mini break and it’s been a weekend of firsts for little Squeaks. First time on a plane, where she was an absolute angel for 90% of the journey (and only got a bit upset when I insisted on feeding her underneath her breast feeding cover). First time in a pool, which she absolutely loved (in fact she loved it so much that she fell asleep!). First time at an aquarium, where she enjoyed watching the fishes swimming over her head. And first time sleeping overnight anywhere but our bed at home. Rich and I love exploring the world, and were determined to introduce our little girl to travelling early on. If this weekend’s anything to go by, she’ll be a pro in no time! 💛

A photo posted by Follow Your Sunshine | Blogger (@polbag) on

Not a bad spot to catch a few morning rays ☀️💛 {part of #FromWhereITan collaboration with @pinayflyinghigh}

A photo posted by Follow Your Sunshine | Blogger (@polbag) on

The peace of Anantara will stay in our hearts for a very long time to come.

EDIT: For a bit more insight into our time in Dubai, have a watch of the video below:

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I am posting this as part of the monthly travel link-up with Emma, Angie, Jessi and Carolann. This month the theme is unexpected places. If you’d like to join in, head over to any of the girls’ blogs before the 7th June!


  1. June 2, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    Sophia does look very relaxed and it's great that you are getting her used to water so early on. Sounds like a very relaxing stay

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:04 am

      It was so lovely. We have been swimming at home several times since and we've definitely got a little water baby on our hands!

      Polly xx

  2. June 2, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I can see Sophia taking to luxury travel very well!

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:04 am

      Haha! Like mother like daughter!

      Polly xx

  3. June 2, 2016 / 10:58 pm

    Oh my gosh! Sophia sleeping in the pool just about killed me it was so cute. Very brave of you to travel with a new little baby, but you seem to have picked a beautiful and peaceful place to do it.

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:05 am

      Hehe thank you so much Lauren! We were so so happy with our choice.

      Polly xx

  4. June 3, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    Such a gorgeous resort – it certainly looks like the perfect place for a much-needed break! What a lovely little first family holiday. Great video too!

    Sophie 🙂

    • June 10, 2016 / 8:19 pm

      Thanks Sophie! We loved it so much that I think we'll be back one day. 🙂

      Polly xx

  5. June 3, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    This has opened just after we were in Dubai and at the time I thought it would finally be somewhere we'd like to stay there! The classic Anantara calm and style is the perfect unexpected addition to Dubai!

    • June 10, 2016 / 7:21 pm

      I completely agree! Dubai was crying out for a place like this – in many ways it's the antithesis of the city…and I love it! Think you would too.

      Polly xx

  6. June 3, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Polly! This looks like exactly the most perfect getaway for you and your family — relaxation, family time, and a bit of romance. That pool looks divine! I loved reading that you felt more relaxed than you had in weeks – you deserved it!

    • June 10, 2016 / 7:22 pm

      Thank you so much lovely lady! It was impossible not to be relaxed when wallowing in a pool like that! All three of us loved it 🙂

      Polly xx

  7. June 4, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    I feel like Sophia's sleepy, happy face floating in the pool says it all…

    • June 10, 2016 / 7:23 pm

      Absolutely! I have a feeling she's going to become accustomed to luxury hotels pretty quickly…

      Polly xx

  8. June 6, 2016 / 1:59 pm

    It's look like such a lovely resort. Very unique to what you would expect to see in Dubai xx

    Maya Not Mya

    • June 10, 2016 / 7:23 pm

      Completely unique! I like the fact they've been brave enough to do something completely different.

      Polly xx

  9. June 6, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    I genuinely think parenthood suits you and Richard. Sophia is the sweetest blogger baby ever and I love that photo of her in the pink dress! x

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

    • June 10, 2016 / 7:24 pm

      Aww Honey, that is such a lovely thing to say! Thank you!! Hehe she's pretty cute huh? Of course I'm a little biased though 😉

      Polly xx

  10. June 12, 2016 / 10:13 am

    What a water baby! This looks like an absolutely fabulous resort

  11. June 13, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Sophia is too adorable!! Omg! And the hotel looks gorgeous, what a lovely break for you all.

    C x | Lux Life

  12. August 3, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    The resort sure looks like it doesn't belong anywhere in Dubai. Beautiful one, and you have shared some really good shots of the place.

  13. Nicky Quinn
    August 3, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    I way to go there now!

  14. August 3, 2016 / 9:54 pm

    It opened just before we left Dubai and I was so glad we didn't miss on visiting it! It was amazing and it had the Anantara ambiance and service which it's famous for. 🙂

  15. June 16, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Wow looks incredible, I want to go now!

  16. June 17, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    Omg this looks so amazing, I hope you had the best time there, all your photos are incredible too.

    Katie xx

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