Whether you are renting or buying, deciding where to live in Dubai can be a daunting task, there are just so many options! Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of Downtown Dubai, the unparalleled views of the high rises in the marina, the peace & quiet of Palm Jumeirah or the community vibe in The Greens, we have deciphered the key residential areas in Dubai and the pros and cons of each. Happy house hunting!
The Palm Jumeirah – Easily one of the most exclusive addresses in the Emirates, The Palm Jumeirah is cited as the eighth wonder of the world and as you can imagine, living on a wonder of the world doesn’t come cheap. At the top end of the scale you have the incredible five and six bedroom beachfront villas that line the frongs of the palm, so exclusive the street is securely gated to keep the riff-raff out. If you don’t have a spare few mil, there are plenty of luxury apartments and hotel residences that line the trunk. Shoreline is one of the most popular, with stone coloured palatial buildings shining like beacons along the trunk of the palm. Property here is slightly cheaper than the other apartments and apartments are spacious and well-maintained, a downside being that the promoted beach access is very restrictive, don’t expect to have your friends over for days in the sunshine! Tiara , Marina Residences and Oceana are slightly more upmarket, offering amazing views of the Burj Al Arab, Atlantis and the marina skyline respectively but be prepared to pay top dollar for the privilege.
- large and well maintained apartments
- Great views
- Lack of amenities (Milk & Honey is all you have to do your weekly shop)
Dubai Marina – The marina is one of the newest areas of Dubai and much of it still under construction with a seemingly never finished skyline of impressive nose-bleed inducing residential skyscrapers. The great thing about the marina is that there is an abundance of apartments, all pretty much to the same spec wherever you go. If you don’t mind being crammed in like sardines to a tower of 80 floors plus just to get an amazing view of the Palm in all its glory or the beautiful marina itself, then this is for you. Prices are slightly cheaper the further out you go with residents paying a premium for sea facing or JBR located properties. The ever popular Ocean Heights, Elite Residences and Princess Tower line the main road and look out directly onto the sea (think conveniently directly in front of Barasti) and are the most sought after apartments, although don’t expect to be wowed by the interiors or facilities. If you pop over the bridge to the other side and you have buildings such as Horizon which faces out onto the Yacht Club and is right by the metro which makes things a little easier, you get a much nicer pool area and apartments can be a little cheaper.
- Walking distance to shops and amenities
- Great views
- Crowded buildings and facilities
- The recent fire in the Torch Tower has put a question over the safety of living in very tall high-rise buildings.
The Greens & The Views – One of the older, more established residential areas in Dubai, located in between Tecom and Dubai Media City. The great thing about this area is that it right in the centre of everything and easily accessible, you even have your pick of the taxis that circle around waiting to pick up residents. It is a family dominated area and was once slightly cheaper than the other residential areas due to the lack of views and distance from a beach (it is a 5 minute drive to put it in perspective) but this makes for pleasant walks along the canal and with the Greens Centre in the middle you can even walk to a supermarket and even better, Nandos! The apartments are old inside and many look tired and need updating, but the new taller developments such as Links, Golf Tower and Panorama are finished to a very high standard and some even boast fabulous golf course views.
- Community feel
- Walking distance to amenities
- Apartments can be older
- Facilities are basic and need renovating
The Springs – If apartments aren’t for you and you would prefer a villa, then look no further than The Springs. A 5-10 minute drive outside of the marina, The Springs is a fully residential development with hundreds (and we mean hundreds) of identical townhouses lining the streets. It is a well established community which is popular with families, especially as the houses come with a tiny garden. There are lots of lush greenery and scenic lakes that make for perfect evening strolls and the area feels a million miles away from the bustle of the city. The great thing about them is the space, the not so great thing about them is that many are very tired and in desperate need of updating. If you aren’t looking for mod-cons and smart systems then this is a great choice especially given that for the space you get you are almost doubling what you can get for your money elsewhere in Dubai.
- You get an upstairs and a downstairs and a garden
- It allows for a real residential, family feel
Jumeirah Village Circle – This is located in what is called in estate agent speak as ‘New Dubai’ which translates to mean ‘ in the middle of nowhere’. Located out near Sports City it can be a bit of a trek to get into the heart of the city (we say trek but it is around 15 minutes) but the apartments and townhouses, of which there are over 2,000 of them, are all brand new and finished to a very high standard. The price here is considerably less than some of the other areas but you certainly don’t compromise on space, style or facilities, you just miss the view. There is no view, unless you like sand. The townhouses are enormous and the apartments are high-spec and come with great pool areas. The idea of JVC is to create village life which is already starting to happen but don’t be expecting anything more for the time being.
- A great investment
- Large, spacious properties
- Further inland
- Lack of anemities
Downtown Dubai – Properties in the immediate area around the Burj Khalifa are few and far between as you would imagine and expect to pay top dollar for them, that said if you find one, hang onto it. Downtown Dubai refers to the area in and around the Dubai Mall and the Khalifa, previously referred to as Burj Dubai. There are a few residences around here and the ones that there are, well they are simply spectacular. The Lofts, launching this April are a prime example here; fantastic views, high-quality finish and great faciltiies. Of course, you could even live in the world’s tallest building itself,with the Burj Khalifa residences being available to rent and buy.
- The location is everything here
- High quality property
- So, so expensive
- Getting in and out, the traffic this side of town can be horrendous during rush hour.
Arabian Ranches – The Ranches are located close to Studio City and around 15-20 minutes outside of the Marina and the hub of Dubai activity. Primarily a family community with huge sprawling villas spread out over an enormous estate, Arabian Ranches is an exclusive address and a great choice for those looking for peace and quiet and who don’t mind paying for it. The community is desert themed which also features a championship golf course. The faciltiies here are great with shops, excellent schooling and restaurants. In fact, those that live in Ranches rarely need to leave the Ranches. The properties are huge with good sized gardens and some villas even come with their own private pools. It has a real sense of community and has earnt its sought after reputation.
- The villas are enormous
- There is a real sense of community with excellent amenities
- You are a little further outside of the centre of Dubai
- It will cost you.
Jumerirah Lake Towers – lovingly referred to as JLT, Jumeirah Lake Towers sits behind the marina and connects to Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s a large residential and business development centered around artifical lakes. Each tower in JLT is organised into clusters of three named from A to Z to help navigate, each cluster has it’s own retail waterfront and parking area.The towers in JLT proper are organised in 26 clusters of three named from A to Z, each cluster has its own parking structure and a retail waterfront. This doesn’t really make it that much easier to decipher where everything is located. Property here is cheaper in the marina but some of the views can be equally as stunning. The facilities are good with large pool areas and the gyms tend to be well-equipped. Aparments are of good size but again, expect lots of high-rises and not much else. There is a metro which is useful and you can, on a cooler day walk to the beach at JBR and Marina Mall. It’s a little soulless to be honest, although the hotels in the area, along with their bars and restaurants do add a little bit of fun.
- Cheaper than the Marina
- Apartments are always available
- The one way system will drive you crazy
- It isn’t very pretty