We find Dubai's most strange and beautiful properties for rent
With the little ones starting back at school in early September, there are scores of new residents landing in the city (welcome!) as well as thousands of ‘old-timers’ with leases up for renewal. Many of us feel settled in our current abodes, but according to property analyst CB Richard Ellis’s latest market report, we should shake things up to pay less and get more. Apartment rents have dropped 19 per cent over the past year, and villas 10 per cent: it’s even more of a renters’ market right now. Remember how in 2007 a one-bed apartment in International City cost Dhs65,000 (now Dhs25,000) and a two-bedroom villa in the Springs Dhs250,000 (now Dhs80,000)? Those were the bad old days.
Now the market has opened up even more, we’ve scoured the city to find the best pads on offer (all available at the time of going to press): from a hotel, to an affordable 10-bedroom villa. Read on and you may just be calling the world’s tallest tower home next week.
Apartments Al Marsa Plaza, Dubai Festival City USP: Sweeping skyline views, luxury amenities and a deceptively central location.
Area: This little-known sweeping building sits just across the bay from Dubai Festival Centre and is conveniently located near Old Dubai as well as Sheikh Zayed Road and DIFC. Festival Centre itself has everything a resident could need – doctors, a cinema, a supermarket, Ikea and even licensed restaurants. Al Badia Golf Club is also just a walk away.
Amenities: This building has it all too – two pools, a gym, a convenience store, a salon, a café/deli and a licensed lounge with a great view.
Beachfront Residences, Jumeirah USP: These affordable 67 sq m one-bedroom apartments are located right on the beach. Isn’t that the Dubai dream?
Area: Situated in a gated compound off Jumeirah Beach Road facing the sand, this area is like Dubai’s Chelsea or Upper East Side. It’s the most covetable bit of land in the city.
Amenities: As well as the beach and sea right on your doorstep, the compound has a gym, pool area and 24-hour security.
Price range: Dhs105,400 for a one-bed apartment (in one cheque). www.bhomes.com (600 52 2212).
Index, DIFC USP: This architectural behemoth was designed by Lord Norman ‘Gherkin’ Foster – good if you want to live in an 80-storey icon.
Area: Halfway between DIFC and The Dubai Mall, Index is 30 seconds from Sheikh Zayed Road and just a few minutes from Jumeirah.
Amenities: There will be a double-storey complex housing a large pool and gym soon, but it’s not yet complete.
Price range: From Dhs70,000 for a one bedroom to Dhs600,000 for a 836 sq m mansion of a four-bedroom apartment. www.bhomes.com (600 52 2212); www.up.ae/index (800 877 253).
Kharbash building, Umm Suqeim USP: An affordable apartment with a Burj Al Arab view.
Area: It’s rare to find an apartment in Umm Suqeim – which is a to-die-for area thanks to proximity to the city’s best beaches, hotels and restaurants. We timed a drive from Kharbash to Media City – four minutes, bang!
Amenities: The building is older that most, but there’s a small gym and a courtyard swimming pool, and it’s a five-minute drive from some of the city’s best schools and medical centres.
Price range: From Dhs95,000 for a two-bedroom apartment. www.asteco.com (04 403 7700).
Limestone House, DIFC USP: A DIFC building that looks like it came straight out of Manhattan.
Area: The DIFC area is a great place to live: not only are you walking distance from work if that’s your place of business, but you’re also right beside many galleries and eateries of Gate Village (bonjour La Petite Maison), as well as just down the road from The Dubai Mall. There are plenty of small grocery stores dotted nearby as well.
Amenities: There’s a well-equipped gym, an indoor lap pool, a sunken terrace, a jacuzzi and, one of the hardest things to find in Dubai, beautiful hardwood floors.
Old Town apartments with gardens, Downtown Burj Khalifa USP: The best of both worlds: the convenience of an apartment, but with a garden!
Area: This old-style Arabian community (see main image, far left) is smack in the middle of Downtown Burj Khalifa. Live here and you’ll be able to have car-free weekends: from breakfast at Baker & Spice at Al Manzil Souk to lunch rustled up after a shop at the nearby Spinney’s or Waitrose, and dinner at the licensed Souk Al Bahar.
Amenities: These apartments are quite small (the average one-bed is about 68 sq m), but bag one on the first floor and you’ll get your very own private garden in which to relax.
Price range: From Dhs90,000 for a one-bed to Dhs130,000 for a two-bed. www.emaar.com (800 3622).
Park Place, Sheikh Zayed Road USP: Think marble-topped kitchen islands, mosaic rain showers and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out towards Jumeirah’s beaches, offering an exclusive view of the sun setting over the sea.
Area: This tower is situated right next to The Fairmont Dubai. You’ll also be within walking distance of the other restaurants along the arterial highway, as well as to DIFC, thanks to the metro over-bridges. Jumeirah is also just behind you (as well as a cheap Union Co-op supermarket).
Amenities: A rooftop infinity pool, a well-equipped gym, a salon and apparently Dubai’s fastest elevator. Duplexes are also available in the building.
Price range: From Dhs75,000 for a one-bedroom to Dhs110,000 for a two-bedroom. www.parkplacedubai.com (04 329 7944).
Sunset Apartments, Jumeirah USP: There’s a reason behind the name of these Miami-style apartments: direct beach access to watch the sunset.
Area: Located right on Jumeirah Beach, there are a range of apartments to choose from. You also have the benefit of the nearby restaurants (such as Arabic hangout Shu, and Beach Plaza’s Circle), plus supermarkets and beauty salons along Beach Road.
Amenities: These 155 sq m apartments have open-plan kitchens, separate laundry and powder rooms, as well as dishwashers, plus a gym and pool. However, air-conditioning is not included and pets are not allowed.
Price range: From Dhs180,000 for a one-bedroom. www.bhomes.com (600 52 2212).
Hotels Armani Residences and the Burj Khalifa, Downtown Burj Khalifa USP: Be one of the few people to live somewhere designed by Giorgio Armani; be one of the few people to live in the world’s tallest building. Oh, and tell all your friends.
Area: The Armani Residences and Burj Khalifa apartments are located from the ninth to 16th floor.
Amenities: Armani Residences boast elevator access and a common front entrance lobby, Armani/Casa furniture, room service and housekeeping and a spa and gym. The plain apartments include a parking area, concierge service, two gyms (one ladies’ only), a walk-in closet and two pools.
Grosvenor House Residences, Dubai Marina USP: Sea views and a luxury interior in an enviable location.
Area: We implore you to leave the gilt-edged confines of the hotel, since the beach is just across the road. The Walk at JBR is also nearby, while Marina Mall is a Dhs10 cab ride away and boasts a luxe cinema and Waitrose.
Amenities: There’s a separate entrance from the hotel, a fitness club, private parking, a swimming pool, housekeeping, internet access, laundry service and it’s furnished. Bonus.
Price range: A two-bedroom apartment here ranges from Dhs360,000 to Dhs400,000. www.bhomes.com (600 522 212).
Ibn Battuta Gate Residences, Jebel Ali USP: Spacious, well-facilitated apartments in an ‘iconic’ landmark.
Area: Close to forthcoming Jebel International Airport, minutes away from Dubai Marina and walking distance from the sprawling (not to mention wacky) Ibn Battuta Mall. What’s more, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa is 15 minutes down the road.
Amenities: Discounts from the Mövenpick, a swimming pool, a gym, a space in the ‘Middle East’s newest robotic car park’ (a machine picks up your car and puts it into a spot). DEWA, satellite TV and internet are included.
Affordable Arabian Ranches USP: Think tree-lined streets, large villas and a homely feel – all at an affordable price.
Area: Arabian Ranches has always been renowned as one of the city’s most expensive family-friendly villa communities – until now, thanks to two-bedroom villas in the Al Reem, Gazelle and Palmera communities.
Amenities: There are shared facilities including a pool, park, children’s playground and community centre. Villas in the Al Reem community boast en-suites and a study, while the two-bed townhouses in Palmera are Spanish-themed.
Al Quoz Villas USP: The cheapest, most central villas in town.
Area: Many think of Al Quoz as purely industrial housing, but behind Oasis Centre (which is outside the tricky part of Al Quoz) are very affordable villas. The best bit? You’re 10 minutes from the Marina, 10 minutes from Jumeirah and 10 minutes from Trade Centre. Right in the middle of the city.
Amenities: They all come with gardens, although some will take a lot of work to look plush, and few have pools.
Price range: At the time of going to press there was a bright pink, eight-bedroom villa in Al Quoz available for Dhs150,000. Bargain. www.dubizzle.com.
Bungalows, Green Community USP: Brave the drive into the desert and you’ll be rewarded with a serene, green and quiet enclave with a friendly feel.
Area: The Dubai Investment Park area is a mere 15-minute drive from the Marina (sans traffic); it’s equally close to Jebel Ali, and even closer to Ibn Battuta. However, you don’t need to travel far for shops and hotels – The Market offers restaurants such as The Fish and Chip Room, Zenzi Thai and Haru Robatayaki, while Courtyard by Marriott offers a number of licensed premises for Thursday night revelry.
Amenities: Play area, gardens, 24-hour security and internet access.
Price range: Three-bedroom, one-storey bungalows range from Dhs180,000-Dhs210,000. www.dipark.com (800 34 7275).
Cedre Villas, Silicon Oasis USP: Spacious villas with high-end finishings, great amenities and attainable prices.
Area: Many people think Dubai Silicon Oasis is too far out; however, it’s only about a 10-minute drive to Mirdif City Centre and a 15-minute drive from The Dubai Mall. There’s also a nice community feel, with plenty of dog walking spots and the like.
Amenities: The community has its own school, a playground, pools and a tennis court; there’s also a Spinney’s, a Costa coffee shop and An Al Arrab restaurant at hand for your shawarma needs. The villas themselves have very large gardens.
Price range: Three-bedroom villas start from Dhs145,000, while four-bedroom villas begin at Dhs185,000 per year. www.dsoa.ae (04 501 5000).
Cordoba Residence, Dubai Internet City USP: A small, family-friendly complex with a shared pool and easy access to New Dubai’s main business districts.
Area: Located near an ever-expanding group of educational institutes, this complex is just five minutes’ drive from the beach, and there are a number of restaurants scattered around the area, as well as hotels with licensed eateries and bars. Those of you who work in Knowledge Village, Internet City and Media City will be able to walk to work.
Amenities: Perfect for young families, there’s a children’s play area, customer care centre and 24-hour security.
Price range: From Dhs60,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to Dhs105,000 for a two-bedroom villa. www.cordobaresidence.com (04 453 9376).
Dubai Creek Club Residences, Deira USP: 92 villas nestled next to one of Dubai’s most stunning hotels – the Park Hyatt.
Area: You’re right across the road from Deira City Centre, but you’re also right on the creek: this is an unusually peaceful port in a bustling part of the city.
Amenities: Each four-bedroom villa has its own private pool (get in!) and garden – you’ll also get recreational membership to the Dubai Creek Club, which includes access to the gym and pool, as well as discounts at the many dining outlets in the complex – hello Traiteur!
Price range: The four-bed villas start from Dhs300,000. www.dubaigolf.com (04 380 1234).
Emirates Golf Club Residences, Emirates Living USP: Rare views of lush greenery are afforded by these golf course-facing, four-bedroom villas, and rental grants you membership to the Emirates Golf Club.
Area: A gated villa community in the New Dubai area, nothing is more than a few minutes’ drive or walk away, including the clubhouse itself, metro stations, Dubai Marina Mall (complete with cinema, restaurants and supermarket) and a nifty little shopping area located in The Greens.
Amenities: Each villa has a private swimming pool and garden, and, with golf club membership, you’ll have access to the gym, pool and facilities including squash and tennis courts. Not bad.
Price range: From Dhs235,000-Dhs300,000 for four bedrooms. www.dubaigolf.com (04 380 1234).
Layan Villas USP: If you want to save on rent and still live in a villa, this community has the lowest rental rates around.
Area: One of the first communities to reach completion in the largely-delayed Dubailand development, there’s little surrounding Layan at the moment in terms of entertainment, but it’s a great choice if you want to settle far away from the hustle and bustle of more developed areas. What’s more, it’s just a 10-minute drive to the retail and restaurants on offer in Motor City (which is home to Dubai’s largest Spinney’s), plus Sports City and Arabian Ranches.
Amenities: Children’s play areas, a nursery and 24-hour security.
Price range: Two bedroom villas from around Dhs68,000. Salwan (800 725 926).
Marina Promenade villas USP: Secluded villas overlooking Dubai Marina which are just five minutes’ walk from the beach.
Area: Littered with restaurants, bars, hotels and shops, Dubai Marina has become one of the city’s most popular residential locations.
Amenities: Facilities at your disposal within the complex include squash courts, a games room, a very well-equipped gym, a swimming pool, a kids’ play area and even berthing space for small boats.
Commute... Cove Rotana in RAK is one of our favourite UAE beach resorts. We were excited to hear that you can actually live there – there are 173 residences with private beach access, with a one-bedroom furnished chalet (a roomy 164 sq m) with sea views from Dhs80,000 a year. www.rakrealty.com.
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shirin Sep 21, 2011 01:30 pm
with regards to Al barari,Dubai land rentals,first of all,if i had all this money to be living in this particular project,why in the world would I burn away my One million every year in rent?will I not spend a few more and actually buy out the property?secondly,Its hardly central,innit?please use a bit of intelligence while penning your articles!these r hardly rental secrets!
ray Sep 16, 2011 05:02 am
I'd hardly call Mirdif a Rental Secret
Tally Sep 15, 2011 10:08 am
What an odd article. The title says "Best kept secret" but you're featuring expensive apartments in expensive areas that everyone knows are expensive?
Here's an actual "best kept" secret: you can now get a 750 sqft one bedroom apartment in the low rises in the Greens. Great community, just as convenient to anything as the Marina, lovely landscaping, nice little community centre. The rent? Starting at 45,000 AED.
Now that is what I would call a "secret," not a 100K one bedroom right by DIFC.
ogden Sep 14, 2011 12:19 pm
I can't believe you didn't mention Mirdif and Motor City, they're very affordable. Come on, do your homework, don't just copy and paste what's handed to you by the agents ! Very disappointing guys ...
Anel-Carline Sep 04, 2011 03:47 pm
Also living in JBR 1-bed but paying 65K. Better Homes always inflates prices. Even our previous rent was much lower than what they mention in the article.