Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Juan Ruiz
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Faced with a 5-day school break, my family headed on an epic 1,000-mile round-trip road trip from our home in Qatar to the United Arab Emirates. When researching Marriott properties in Dubai, I came across Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection — a Polynesian-themed hotel in the least likely of places.
As I have 3 kids from 9 to 11 years old, our family was after a few days of theme park thrills. I was surprised to learn that every room rate at Lapita included admission to a Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park, and I was shocked to see that an overnight stay would cost us less than the price of tickets.
Learn more about my family’s stay at Lapita to see if it’s an ideal choice for your next trip to Dubai.
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection is located in the southernmost outskirts of Dubai, nearly halfway to Abu Dhabi. The Dubai Parks and Resorts property is relatively isolated from the area’s other big tourist attractions, so it’s essential to understand your proximity to any other places you might want to visit.
Travelers from the U.S. are unlikely to fly into Dubai’s smaller airport, Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) in Jebel Ali, but it is a touch closer at 16 miles away.
If you’re arriving via Abu Dhabi, the hotel is 49 miles from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
The closest Metro stop is UAE Exchange, about 10 miles from the property, so you would need a car to complete the journey. Consider renting a car or using a taxi or rideshare if you plan to travel outside the Dubai Parks and Resorts area. A hotel shuttle into Dubai is also available.
Dubai Parks and Resorts is home to 3 theme parks (MOTIONGATE Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park Dubai), several hotels, a dining/shopping area known as Riverland Dubai, and The Outlet Village.
Lapita is across the street from the outlet mall and just a quick shuttle ride or drive to any theme park.
At the time of my visit, there was a complimentary shuttle that departed from the hotel at 10 a.m. with 1 morning outbound route to JBR open beach, Mall of the Emirates, and Dubai Mall, finishing at 11:15 a.m. The afternoon return route departed from Dubai Mall at 3 p.m., running the route in reverse and arriving at the hotel at 4:15 p.m.
I found the cheapest rooms for our October 2023 dates using the Marriott BreakAway Rate through my husband’s employer. This is a discounted rate of up to 30% off that is offered to employees of select companies for leisure travel. In my case, I saved 21% off the standard rate or 3% off the prepaid rate.
For my family of 5, I booked 2 rooms for 1 night:
This room combination was slightly cheaper than the same combo under the Family Room option. Due to the off-season timing, I was hopeful we would still be able to get connecting rooms.
After additional tourism fees, I paid $425 total using a Marriott eGiftCard. If you were paying with cash, consider using one of our recommended best credit cards for Marriott loyalists.Hot Tip:
These rooms included 1-day park tickets to any 1 of the 3 theme parks. We chose MOTIONGATE Dubai, whose tickets were 330 AED (~$90) each. Considering that 5 tickets would have cost us $450 without lodging, I think 5 tickets and 2 rooms for $425 was a steal.
As a Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite, my husband earned 5,230 Marriott Bonvoy points (3,391 Base + 339 Elite + 1,500 Extra) total for both rooms. The 1,500 bonus points were from the Marriott Bonvoy quarterly promotion. The base points were not credited properly for both rooms, so I contacted Marriott directly for a resolution.
Award nights at Lapita can run from 21,000 to 46,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
We arrived at Lapita mid-afternoon after a long day of driving. We planned to check in, hit the pool for a bit, and then drive to Dubai Mall for dinner and to see the fountain show in front of the Burj Khalifa.
The tropical vibes hit us immediately upon parking, with thatched roofs, tiki masks, and palm trees setting the mood.
We drove to the valet to inquire about self-parking and were told it was immediately behind the porte cochère.
After parking and stepping into the Dubai sun and heat, we noticed a golf cart dropping guests off at their car. It must have been evident to the cart driver that we were dragging our belongings in, but he did not stop to offer a ride. Nevertheless, we wheeled our bags toward the lobby.
The day before checking in, my husband received an email notifying him that he was selected as a “guest of the day” and to head to the VIP lounge to check in.
Unfortunately, we were too distracted with the leis upon arrival that we missed the sign to any VIP lounge and headed to the main reception on the left upon entering.
The main reception desk agent looked up our reservation, made a quick phone call, and then Fransischa, from the prior day’s email, arrived to escort us to the Marriott Bonvoy Elite Lounge.
Fransischa guided us to the Marriott Bonvoy Elite Lounge, which was to the right after entering the property. Our kids were treated to a welcome juice, and I handed our passports over for scanning.
A manager came over to introduce himself and informed us that we had been upgraded to a Jr Suite with Park Access, Junior Suite, 1 King, Resort view, Balcony room. He confirmed that the suite would connect to the 2 Doubles room and that we would be treated to the breakfast buffet. What a welcome surprise!
My husband was a Silver Elite at the time, and the upgrade and breakfast were more in line with what a Platinum Elite might receive.
The Junior Suite was being offered for 1,204 AED (~$328) that night.
Fransischa gave us our room keys, MOTIONGATE Dubai ticket vouchers for the following day, and a brochure with a property map and park information.
The reverse of the map offered details on hours for the parks and hotel facilities, the shuttle service, and Wi-Fi.
The lobby was quite stunning. It had a variety of unique seating and a complimentary juice dispenser (my kids’ favorite).
The left side of the lobby was primarily for check-in, while the right was for PALAMA Lobby Lounge’s clustered seating.
Lapita had several family-friendly amenities to enhance our stay. Let’s dive in!
There were 2 pools and 1 lazy river at the resort with varying hours:
The spa and a restaurant separated the pools, so there was a short distance to cover between them. If you were watching your kids from a lounger, you would need to move to whatever pool they were at, as you cannot see one pool from the other.
I loved that there were several lifeguards stationed at each pool. I also appreciated that restrooms were located outdoors, very close to the pool.
The Mahi Mahi Family Pool was the deeper of the 2 pools and had plentiful seating with umbrellas.
While we didn’t order anything poolside, I thought the ordering button and QR code for the menu and to order at each umbrella was a fantastic idea.
We were able to pick up towels from 1 of 2 areas. I wrote my name and room number down to check out the towels, but they were returned in a large bin, and it was unclear how to ensure that staff knew my towels were returned.
I was also unsure if we could take the towels back to our room. Since no one was available to ask, we left them at the pool and dripped the entire walk back in the cold A/C.
Lifejackets were also available.
When the lazy river closed at 6 p.m., my family headed to the family pool. At sunset, this turned out to be a miserable decision as, near-immediately, the entire pool area was filled with blood-thirsty mosquitos. I covered myself with a towel with just my face peeking out, and I was still eaten alive.
The pool quickly cleared out after the swarm descended (I also didn’t last long!), so I’m unsure if the mosquitos were present all night or just at dusk.
For the younger set, there was a much shallower pool close to the lazy river.
There was also a splash pad that was quite popular as I walked through.
My kids loved the lazy river the most, which was relatively uncrowded. There were also some shaded areas and loungers throughout this area.
The flow was a little slow, but they had a lot of fun riding on the single and double tubes that were floating along.
The fitness center was just past the kids’ club on the way to the pool. It was open 24 hours.
There were various pieces of Life Fitness cardio equipment, such as bikes and ellipticals.
My interest was piqued with this body composite analysis machine.
Strength training equipment was well-spaced, and you would not feel crowded here.
There were several TVs, a few treadmills, and a selection of free weights.
A handsome mirrored room had equipment for yoga or classes.
Room-temperature water and towels were available outside of the locker area. There was also a shower and a separate restroom.
The kids’ club was open Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Children ages 4 to 12 were allowed 2 hours of complimentary access.
The front area had space to store shoes and shelves for board games.
The entire club was colorful and cheery, with various seats, stuffed animals, balls, and areas for art.
The theatre area was showing a movie on the TV, with bean bags available for comfy seating.
My kids preferred the pool over the kids’ club, but if we were on an extended break over multiple nights, I’m confident we would have stopped in for a craft.
While Tiki House was closed during my visit, the hotel touts this space as an “immersive Polynesian cultural playground.”
The Tiki House had 4 daily timings that you could sign up for, hourly starting at 1:30 p.m. Children ages 4 to 12 could access 1 hour for free, with additional hours charged at AED 50 (~$14).
According to prices listed at the kids’ club, Tiki House art activities included tiki face ceramic (AED 35/~$10), tiki planter pot (AED 55/~$15), and tiki face painting (AED 10/~$3).
It had a lovely deck just outside the front door.
A sign at the door indicated that the spa offered free 10-minute chair massages, though this wasn’t mentioned when I dropped by.
There was a tiny retail area with pool toys and swimwear.
You can stop by anytime to see the abundant koi fish or visit at 11 a.m. for the fish feeding.
If your room did not come with theme park tickets, or if you wanted to purchase tickets for additional days, the Ticket Room was to the right of the check-in desk.
The Ticket Room was open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and sold tickets at the same price as at the parks for 1-day passes (330 AED/~$90 each). There was also a sign indicating park timings and closures (for example, LEGOLAND Water Park Dubai was closed on the day we intended to visit a park).
On the exterior wall of the spa was an outdoor movie screen, though there was no signage indicating any specific events.
Close to the main building was a large covered room with seating, fans, and swamp coolers. Ideally, this would be where one might take a shade break to cool down, but with the heat, the coolers were just moving hot air around.
Fortunately, there was a self-serve fridge with chilled water.
The Wi-Fi was pretty miserable as I couldn’t connect well at the pool, in my room, or in the main areas of the hotel.
The property offered complimentary parking just outside of the front entrance.
Our rooms were located on the second floor of the main building.
I was wowed by the overall design and level of detail in unsuspecting areas, like the elevator bank. From the bright blue and wood design elements to funky seats and bamboo stalks, this was a fun place to wait for an elevator.
Our rooms were at the end of a long walk down the hallway.
As soon as I opened the door, I knew we were in for a treat. The space was a massive 613 square feet, with a living room that flowed into the bedroom, 2 balconies, and a separate bathroom.
Immediately upon entering, there was a sturdy luggage bench just ahead of the bathroom.
Further into the room, there was a closet, a full-length mirror, and the door connecting to the room next door (we had to call to have this unlocked).
The closet had a safe, laundry bag, hair dryer, luggage rack, slippers, ironing board, and iron.
I’m sure these welcome treats were delicious, but I wouldn’t know — my kids devoured them immediately.
The living room TV was huge and had a large shelving unit/desk underneath. The desk also had a small trash bin that was divided for recycling.
An empty mini fridge was under the TV unit.
The desk set featured a notepad and pencil, a QR code for the in-room dining menu, and a note that if there was sandstorm residue on your balcony, you could request cleaning. There was also mention of an AED 500 (~$136) fee for smoking in a non-smoking room.
The coffee and tea service offered a capsule coffee machine, kettle, Dilmah teabags, cups, and bottled water.
The couch across from the TV looked lovely but was very stiff and uncomfortable — great for putting your shoes on but not for watching a show. It also had a pullout sofa bed, and the top cushion from the chaise portion could be lifted to reveal a storage area.
On the living room balcony, there was an inner bar attached to the railing, and we found that many guests used this to dry their swimwear (there was no clothesline in the suite).
The bedroom made me feel like I was a million miles away from Dubai. I was transported and loved the creative mixed use of patterns.
Unfortunately, we could never figure out how to turn on those lovely ceiling fans.
A similar shelving/desk unit with a TV was across from the king-sized bed.
There was a nightstand on each side of the bed, which featured lighting controls, a lamp, and recessed night lighting. A phone was on one nightstand, and a clock was on the other.
My kids were thrilled to have a clock in their room as they often wake before us and never know when to try to wake us up. This clock had night light functionality and looked to have wireless charging. It was plugged into an outlet with 1 universal and 2 USB-A outlets.
From the wood tile floors to the themed design, this room felt very chic and comfortable. It also didn’t show much wear, considering the hotel opened in 2017.
The balcony off of the bedroom overlooked the main building and spa area, and it received full sun in the afternoon.
The bathroom opened to a central vanity area with the water closet to the left and the shower to the right.
We had our kids brush their teeth in this sink, which was too far from the counter’s edge to do so properly. There was toothpaste everywhere by the time my crew was done.
There was a mix of toiletries, including a Tommy Bahama comb, soap, a hygiene kit, and a shower cap. There was an unbranded dental kit, comb, and shaving kit. The shower amenities were Essentiel Elements Bathe products from Gilchrist & Soames.
The water closet featured a bidet, a spray wand, and a toilet.
The toilet is also where the bathroom’s only trash can was. I found this inconvenient when opening the toiletries or needing to throw a tissue away.
To the right of the vanity was the walk-in shower. This had both wand and rainfall showerhead options, and there was a stone bench. A second set of miniature Essentiel Elements Bathe products was in the shower.
Despite the difference in size, the adjoining 398-square-foot 2 Doubles room had a similar look and feel. The beds were high and comfortable.
The TV and cabinetry were similar, though this room had 2 chairs and a table instead of a desk.
One of the nightstands had a Holy Quran and prayer mat.
The balcony also featured 2 chairs and a table, with views of the defunct Bollywood Parks Dubai.
The vanity area was similar to the one in the Junior Suite, but the bathroom overall had some unique differences.
Ahead of the shower room, the closet opened to the vanity area. This feature was neat as it could open from the hallway or the bathroom.
This room had a tub with a small glass partition. For folks who aren’t used to this type of configuration, this generally means shower water goes everywhere. The toilet/shower area was also very, very dim.
KALEA, located on the ground floor of the main building, was open for breakfast and dinner.
The buffet breakfast ran from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. Signage advised that 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. was the best time for breakfast, with 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. as “getting busy” and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. as the busiest time. Adults were priced at AED 110 (~$30), and kids 6 to 12 were AED 55 (~$15). An à la carte breakfast menu was also available.
A dinner buffet ran from 6.30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at AED 155 (~$42) for adults and 75 AED (~$20) for kids 6 to 12 years old. A beverage menu was available.
We were promptly seated with a number placed on our table, but by the time we had returned with food, another group had claimed our table. My husband resolved the issue with the attendant and was assigned a new table.
The selections at breakfast were tremendous and global. My kids had fun with this cereal display with a variety of toppings. Low-fat, full-fat, and hot milk were across from this area.
Nearby were yogurt, muesli, cheeses and cold cuts, and porridge and congee with condiments. There were cut fruits and whole fruits.
The vegetarian section had hot Indian and Jain cuisine (I enjoyed a quick pav bhaji!), salad, and pickles.
An Asian Corner featured items like vegetable fried rice, stir-fried egg noodles, and what appeared to be a make-to-order noodle soup station.
This is also where you could order custom eggs, though Western-style scrambled eggs, beef bacon, beans, and potatoes were available nearby.
There was a wide selection of Emirati favorites, including mamounia (roasted semolina), foul medames (stewed fava beans), batata harra (spicy potatoes), shakshuka (eggs in a tomato/pepper sauce), and saj bread (cheese or za’atar in a wrap). There were also plenty of cheeses and dips.
The most kid-friendly area of the buffet had waffles and pancakes with toppings (yes, that is a chocolate sauce dispenser). I appreciated the kid-friendly stepstool.
Sliced bread was nearby for toasting, as well as a bounty of baked goods, from za’atar croissants to pain au chocolat.
Most buffet items were labeled with allergen notices, and there was a sign advising guests to ask a staff member regarding ingredients if they had an allergy.
Toward the entrance was a honey station, with honeycomb and several types of interesting honey varieties.
There were dispensers of masala tea, black tea, hot chocolate, and black coffee. You could also make yourself an espresso, cappuccino, or cafe latte. I appreciated the to-go cups!
Finally, there were self-serve options for orange, watermelon, pineapple, or apple juice, or infused or regular water.
I enjoyed the Middle Eastern and Indian offerings most, but there was something for every taste.
While temperatures were in the high 90s during my stay, I’m sure KALEA’s patio area is lovely on cooler days.
My kids were constantly tempted by the gelato at this lobby cafe, but at 25 AED (~$7) a cup, it was a hard pass from me (especially with a McDonald’s across the street!).
The cooler had more reasonably priced items like cake pops, yogurt, mini cakes, and doughnuts.
ARI was the poolside restaurant and served beverages from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and lunch and dinner from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. A sunset happy hour was from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., but be warned that no one was safe from the mosquitos at dusk.
The Mediterranean-leaning menu offered options such as salads, sandwiches, pizza, and a kids’ menu.
Hikina was located to the left of reception. It featured Pan-Asian cuisines such as sushi, wok-fried noodles and rice, curries, and seafood options and was open for dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday.
Worth mentioning is that when we had lunch at MOTIONGATE Dubai, the cashier asked if we were staying on the property. After showing her our tickets from Lapita, we received a 20% discount, which was a pleasant surprise when our lunch rang up over $60.
We did not receive this discount when buying drinks at a shop earlier that day, but the cashier told us we should have.
Before our arrival, I emailed the hotel to inquire about requesting connecting rooms and verifying if I could use my Marriot eGiftCard. The responses were fast and courteous.
Upon arrival, every staff member we encountered was helpful and had a smile on their face.
The personal email from Fransischa ahead of arrival was a nice touch (really, who doesn’t want to be “guest of the day?”), and the front desk team coordinated seamlessly with her to get us checked in properly.
The team members I spoke with were happy to answer my questions about the property and offer directions.
We truly enjoyed our stay at Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection. This resort was an ideal option to overnight at ahead of a day at MOTIONGATE Dubai. With theme park tickets included in our nightly rate, and that rate being cheaper than the cost of the tickets themselves, this stay was a no-brainer. Getting upgraded to a Junior Suite and being offered a complimentary breakfast made our time that much more enjoyable.
With the on-site pools and kids’ club, as well as easy access to the theme parks, dining, and shopping nearby, this property makes a fantastic staycation option for U.A.E. residents. Visitors who plan to tour the top Dubai attractions may want to consider a more central hotel. Still, those with LEGOLAND Dubai or MOTIONGATE Dubai on their list will definitely want to check out Lapita.
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection is located close to 3 theme parks: MOTIONGATE Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park Dubai.
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection has plenty of family-friendly amenities, such as 2 pools, a lazy river, and a kids’ club. There is also a fitness center for adults and several on-site restaurants. The hotel’s proximity to MOTIONGATE Dubai and the LEGOLAND parks can’t be beaten.
Check-in time at Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection is 3 p.m., and checkout time is 12 p.m.
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