And in opening Lapita – named after an ancient prehistoric culture - Dubai has added a resort-style hotel that has you feeling like you are on holiday before you’ve hit the parks.
It was always going to be important that Dubai Parks & Resorts’ debut hotel wasn’t another cookie cutter property that simply offered a bed for the night.
As the first of a new brand – and rightly so – Lapita channels the vacation vibe, from Easter Island heads to décor, it makes you feel as though you’ve arrived somewhere other than another Dubai hotel.
The lobby is big, spacious and has an almost mountainside cabin demeanour about it. This sense of size extends to the guest rooms, many of which are in standalone buildings.
Designers have incorporated the spirit of the South Sea Islands into the finish, ranging from dark wood, wicker and bamboo, a charismatic celling fan and breezy colours that inject elements of fun.
There’s also a small but pleasant balcony that gives views across the hotel landscape.
Back on ground level, the Lapita covers a lot of acreage that has been well thought out, from a lazy river-centred kids pool area to a larger adult pool zone flanked by a bar and restaurant, Ari.
Together with the Ola Spa, this tenders the hotel as a plausible place to simply spend a weekend at, regardless of the parks attractions next door in Legoland, Bollywood Dubai and Motiongate.
Inside the Lapita main building you’ll find further F&B choices, aimed at keeping you from straying into the adjacent Riverland district with its myriad dining and refreshment options.
On the ground floor there's the hotel’s large all-day dining concern, Kalea, tendering some innovative and well-executed choices amid the regular Arabic favourites and crowd-pleasing family plate fillers.
The tropical nature of the place filters into some of the spread, including a pleasing Polynesian chicken, which also pops up at breakfast beside a moreish date smoothie.
Hikina proved a great dinner choice; very bright, very efficient and smoothly operated, this is Cantonese food (plus other regional themes) done with finesse rather than fuss.
Décor is again stylish, and a large balcony affords views across to the theme parks and wider Jebel Ali area.
Word has it the food up there is also very much worth checking out and – during peak times – this has the potential to be a cool hang-out to rival more central night spots.
Lapita might have a challenge on its hands keeping customers on site to dine, but with 504 rooms it has the potential to be buzzing with those that do.
The Polynesian theme isn’t over the top, but lends the property enough of a signature style to make it stand out and work brilliantly as a parks resort-supporting hotel.
And with some great deals on at the parks during the summer, Lapita is a fun and comfortable base to return to if you’re planning to make a weekend of exploring the rides and attractions.
LAPITA is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection – which are usually boutique city concerns.
DOUBLE room prices start from around Dh550, including breakfast and taxes – check www.marriott.co.uk or call 04 810 9999 for availability.
HIKINA, Ari and Lani are featured in the current Entertainer app, giving you two-for-one on main meals.
LAPITA is also ideally placed for a visit to The Outlet Village, a short hop from the main entrance.