Family friendly Eid staycations in the UAE
Deals at five-star hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are currently priced between Dh600 to Dh1,250 per room per night. Image Credit: Supplied/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: After a bustling events season with occupancy rates of 85 to 90 per cent from January to mid-March, UAE hotels are launching attractive staycation deals for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan and the long Eid Al Fitr weekend. And as international travel gets more expensive, staycations are becoming all the more popular among UAE residents.

Hotels across the UAE have slashed their prices on staycation deals by 30-40 per cent compared to the January-March peak demand. According to a recent survey, 35 per cent of UAE residents are opting to celebrate the upcoming holiday season locally.

Amongst the ones planning to celebrate in the country, a significant majority are planning for staycations in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, and Abu Dhabi.


Book early for the best deals

From complimentary upgrades to spa treatments and free night stays, hotels across categories – luxury, four-star, three-star, and budget properties – have launched attractive packages for Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.

Deals at five-star hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are currently priced between Dh600 to Dh1,250 per room per night. And prices will increase closer to Eid, so hoteliers advise staycation seekers to book well in advance. For example, Anantara The Palm is offering a 25 per cent discount to UAE residents in any room or villa, and rates start at Dh950.

UAE residents can enjoy special rates and early check-in and late check-out at Legoland Hotel with complimentary access to either Legoland Dubai or Legoland Water Park for Dh850 for two adults and one child. Palazzo Versace Dubai offers staycation deals for Dh1,250 until April 30, including a whole array of benefits for UAE residents.

Five Palm Jumeirah’s ‘pay three and stay four’ and ‘pay six and stay eight’ deals are hugely popular and are priced between Dh1,544 to Dh1,755 for a family of four.

Properties in Ras Al Khaimah are more affordable, with staycation deals at Dh1,065 at the Marjan Island Resort and Dh1,099 at Cove Rotana. The offers are for a one-night weekend stay. Weekday stays are at least 20 per cent cheaper.


Staycations back in demand

Laura Eggleton, General Manager of Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, said: “In 2021, 4 per cent of the business was driven through staycation, which reduced to one per cent in 2022. Our Q4 long weekend did better than expected, although the major driver was the leisure travel than through staycations.” However, demand is picking up again this season.

“We’re seeing interest, but with all Eid periods, our lead time for bookings is very last minute,” said Eggleton. The hotel has launched a special Ramadan Kareem Room Package, including Iftar and Suhoor, starting at Dh549 (excluding taxes).

Anoop Dhondoo, Cluster General Manager, Novotel and Ibis World Trade Centre and Ibis One Central, told Gulf News: “Our hotels have been operating at a high occupancy rate of 75-80 per cent during the festive season, and we have even been fully booked at times. Some of the demand is being driven by staycation guests.” Ibis One Central and Novotel Hotels, part of the Accor Group of Hotels, offer their loyalty programme members (Accor Live Limitless) a 15 per cent discount with several perks.

What are ‘workcations’?

There’s a growing trend among UAE residents to indulge in ‘workcations’, where residents choose to stay in hotel properties with their families while logging into work from a remote location. According to Marriott Bonvoy’s 2023 Travel Trends research, which analysed the 2023 travel plans of 14,000 travellers across Europe and the Middle East, hybrid and remote working has significantly impacted travel plans in 2023.

“Nearly a third of those from the UAE (31 per cent) and 23 per cent from Saudi Arabia plan to take a ‘work-away holiday’ – where they will continue to log on and work whilst travelling, thus allowing them to experience a new place without taking annual leave,” said Neal Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Marriott International - Europe, Middle East and Africa. And a lot of these residents would opt for these workcations in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain