| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Family life in Jafiliya

Meenal Raipancholia tells us about living in the Dubai district

meenal0928_1
© ITP Images

Founder of ‘Little Bollywood’, a high end kids’ clothing line that she personally sources from India (check it out on Facebook in time for Diwali!), Meenal Raipancholia and her family moved into their spacious duplex in the family-friendly Jafaliya district earlier this year. With its central and convenient location (the Jafiliya area is situated behind the Bur Dubai police station, moments from Trade Centre roundabout), she says she feels incredibly blessed to have found her home: ‘We’re very settled here. It’s difficult to find a complex like this, that has plenty of space for children to play, is in the centre of the city, but is still safe with not many cars.’ It’s a great place to raise her daughter Prianne, who celebrates her third birthday on October 27, she adds.

Why did you decide to move here?
We used to live in Jumeirah Beach Residence but wanted to be closer to our family. We fell in love with the place as soon as we found it, there was so much space. The house had a positive vibe, and we knew it was the right choice for us. I also love that we live in the epicentre of Dubai. It is so easy to get anywhere from here literally in just 15 minutes.

How long have you lived in Dubai?
I’m originally from Bahrain, my family has been there for five generations. My husband is from the UAE, and he’s been here for four generations: his family are one of the oldest Indian families here in Dubai.

Did you find it easy to meet other mums here?
There are lots of families with small children here in this complex, we’ve been very lucky. All my neighbours are fantastic, they are great mums and we get on really well. It’s been wonderful to meet likeminded people. One neighbour, Meeta, has become like family. We love to chill out over family dinners in the evenings. We have a pool, a party area and a gymnasium, so it’s great for us parents too. And we have a beautiful courtyard in the building with lots of fountains where the children can play.

What about family-friendly facilities in your local area?
Oh there’s loads of fantastic places within a five-kilometre radius, such as Zabeel Park, Children’s City, Dubai Zoo and The Dubai Mall, which has the aquarium, Urbano’s house at KidZania and new toddler skating at the ice rink, which Prianne really loves. There’s always something for her to do around here, and in general, Dubai is very child friendly.

Where do you go for the weekly shop? Can you shop locally, or do you have to hop into the car?
One downside is that it would have been fantastic to have a Spinneys just that little bit closer, because the nearest one is at Burjuman, or on Beach Road. I generally have to hop into the car for shopping trips, and either go to Union Co-op or Carrefour in Satwa. The Dubai Mall is very close, though, and there’s so much there for Prianne to see and do, she especially loves watching the fountains.

Where do you go for mum and dad’s night off?
We’re so central, we can easily go to any of the hotels nearby. We love Spectrum on One at The Fairmont, which is just five minutes away, and we regularly go to Teatro. When we’re dining as a family, you can’t beat the Market Café at the Grand Hyatt – it’s so much easier when we have Prianne with us, as there’s a lot of choice and everyone gets to have what they love. Otherwise, we’ll head to The Dubai Mall, we’re spoiled for choice with all the restaurants there and at Souk Al Bahar.

Essentials

Shopping
The Dubai Mall 800-DUBAI-MAL
Burjuman 04 352 0222

Schools
DESS 04 337 1457
Little Star Nursery 04 398 2004
British Orchard Nursery 04 398 3536

Play
Kidzania 04 448 5222
The Dubai Aquarium 04 448 5200
Zabeel Park 04 325 9988
Children’s City 04 334 0808

Eating
The Fairmont 04 332 5555
Towers Rotana 04 343 8000
The Address Downtown 04 436 8888

By Meenal Raipancholia
Time Out Dubai,

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