From the Hawaiian shirt-wearing bellboys who greet you on arrival with a friendly ‘Aloha’, to the alloy racing wheels on the resort’s golf buggies, it’s immediately clear that Lapita isn’t your average Dubai resort. Situated in the heart of Dubai Parks and Resorts – the sprawling theme park city comprising Legoland, Legoland Water Park, Bollywood Parks and Motiongate – this one-of-a-kind Polynesian-themed property certainly does things differently.
I’m checking into one of Lapita’s three enormous Private Villas: a palatial abode in a private corner of the resort with three en-suite bedrooms, a vast living and dining space with towering double-height ceilings, and a private pool, terrace and Jacuzzi that make this an ideal address for families.
My villa, ‘Ahi’, which means ‘fire’ in Hawaiian, faces north, and from the spacious terrace of the first-floor master suite, I have a clear view of Motiongate and its new Hunger Games roller coaster, and the meandering river which runs around the resort. A circular day bed and dining table for two offer a bird’s-eye view of the pool and patio area, making this a great spot for mums and dads to enjoy some private time while still being connected to the outdoor space below.
A four-poster bed occupies the centre of the suite, where dark brown furniture, Polynesian art and a feature lampshade gives the space plenty of character. In the bathroom, marble counter tops and his and hers sinks are embellished with signature amenities from Tommy Bahamas, and there’s plenty of wardrobe space for an extended stay.
A small landing outside the suite looks down on the living space, affording a close-up view of the central Dale Chihuly chandelier that floats above the sitting area.
The magic of Lapita and this 307 sqm villa in particular is that it transports you away from the UAE and into a private world. Indoor plants and orchids bring the outside in, complementing the sea-grass green sofas and wicker armchairs in the living area. Guests are greeted by a piece of art depicting a giant coral leaf upon arrival, flanked by feature lamps and fiery orange woven stools. There’s more art throughout: a swirling seashell stands by the 65-inch Samsung TV, and a Polynesian batik-style print covers a piece of hand-made parchment above the six-seat dining table. My favourite is an enormous piece of ocean-beaten walnut, shaped by time and tide.
But the highlight of this villa is the outdoor space. A wall of bi-fold doors opens up in the living room to create an enormous indoor-outdoor arena, providinga generous amount of space in which children can run riot. A fountain wall behind the pool creates a permanent soundtrack (and helps with the Feng Shui, of course) and there’s plenty of outdoor seating for the whole family to spread out and make the most of Dubai’s balmy weather.
Guests at Lapita receive a pass to enjoy the theme parks, and if you can tear yourself away from the villa, it’s only a short buggy ride to the main Dubai Parks entrance. On the journey, keep an eye out for Ari, the Mediterranean poolside restaurant, and Kalea, the resort’s all-day dining venue. For a more indulgent experience, drop the kids off at Luna & Nova Kids and Teens Club then book yourself in for a rejuvenating treatment at Ola Spa – you’ll need it after all those rides.
Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, Lapita is the only hotel in the theme park city. As well as the existing theme parks, the hotel is a stone’s throw from Dubai Outlet Village, where designer brands are available at discounted prices, and by 2019, another theme park, Six Flags, will open its doors next to Lapita.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to keep the entire family busy, and with the plush surrounds of a Private Villa to call your home, the adults will be taken care of too.
The Important Bit:
WHAT: Private Villa
WHERE: Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts
PRICE: from AED 12,000
(US$3,267) per night
TEL: +971 4 810 999