Monday, May 16, 2011

[ scoping out neighbourhoods ]

WHILE OUR temporary Dubai apartment is ok, I'm anxious to find our more permanent residence and get settled in. And so we took to the streets on the weekend to drive around a bit and get our bearings. Working within our budget, the biggest decision is whether to opt for a semi-detached villa or an apartment. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages which we quickly figured out.

For most expats, the gated communities seem to be the most popular. Villa neighbourhoods such as Emirates Hills, Arabian Ranches, and the Green Community are a perfect place to raise a family so they are great if you have kids (we don't). Most of these communities are relatively expensive but include onsite facilities such as community swimming pools, tennis court, supermarket, and a few take-out restaurants. Some may face out onto golf courses, while others onto man-made lakes.
Pros: Fairly spacious with 2-car parking at your door and a small backyard.
Cons: The areas surrounding these neighbourhoods are a maze of construction, both with new residences and roads. Getting anywhere definitely requires a car, which is a huge consideration since they are definitely in the suburbs and quite a distance from shopping centres, etc. Not on the metro line. Not much privacy from neighbours.

[emirates hills]
[arabian ranches]
[arabian ranches]
[green community]

The other option is to go for an apartment. There are tons of them to choose from and more and more still under construction. Location is key as well as the reputation of the builder and maintenance companies as some have already acquired a bad reputation for cheap fit and finish and cutting corners on on-going maintenance. 

For most expats, the Burj Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah or Dubai Marina seem to be the most popular areas. These areas are also relatively expensive so we are limited to a 2 bedroom for our budget. So obviously, the bigger the better as the 2nd bedroom must also accommodate the drying rack for laundry (there are no dryers) and any other storage we might need.
Pros: Restaurants, shops & services are right outside your door, including the metro line. Gyms, spas, and swimming pools included in each building. Great views.
Cons: Compact in size, limited storage, underground parking for one car, no backyard - just a balcony.

[burj dubai]
[palm jumeirah]
[palm jumeirah]
[dubai marina]

So as you can see, we have a bit of decision making to do. A villa does provide more of a "home" feeling like we're used to, but an apartment provides a lot of convenience. I still haven't made up my mind. What would you choose?



Pinecone Camp said...

You do have a big decision to make! It must feel like you're on another planet compared to where you're from. Wow. I know I would prefer to be where there is a little more action, especially if I were new to the area.
Have a great day!

Carol@TheDesignPages said...

I would definitely go for the apartment. Since you don't have kids it seems like the perfect opportunity to do all the exploring you could want. The gated communities seem to be lacking in the cultural experience you get in the city. Can't wait to find out what you choose.

Robynne's Nest said...

I definitely think the apartment option for you...lots more options by the sound of it. You can stroll to shops and restaurants and perhaps the you say, a better cultural experience as well as a better atmosphere. Good Luck! Robx

Razmataz said...

I think that given you have no children and outside play and meeting new kids is not an issue, I would immerse myself into the culture as much as possible and get th apartment. What good is living in a foreign country and you life is all with expats. Of course, I am not in your is hard to say from afar.

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

Wow. Such a different way to live. I'm just looking forward to following along with your choices. Best Wishes in finding the perfect spot for you!

flowers on my table said...

I think the apartment might be best for you too. It might be easier to meet people and a lot handier for shopping etc.It also depends on how long you are planning to stay and if you are planning to start a family. Good luck with your decision. Love Linda x

Formerly known as Frau said...

When we moved to Germany I wanted a house and a neighborhood feel. So to find what we wanted we were in the Country and secluded. I wish I was more in the city where everything was with in walking and exploring. Plus my hubby work ended up being 45 commute. I think what is best for you seem to be more of an explorer I can see you in the city. Good Luck!

PS the bigger the place the more to clean!!

All things nice... said...

Oh you really have lots of decisions, it's nice to have the choice, the photographs look amazing, I'm sure you'll be happy where ever you choose as the most important thing is that you will make it your home :)

All things nice...

dreams on 34th street said...

No kids?!?...I would go for the Marina! How beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

Meeling said...

We have kids so an apt might be a hard choice, but if it's just you and your hubby I'd go for the apt in a heartbeat. Seems more central for exploring on foot and being in a foreign place, I think that would make me feel more secure.

I don't envy all the choices you are going to have to can be stressful. I'm enjoying seeing and hearing all about your new journey Lisa.

Anonymous said...

It really depends how long you will be living in Dubai. If its for the long term nothing beats a house where you can lay down some roots and really make a home.

Karena said...

Lisa big decision!! For me and since you don't have children right now, I would choose the city apartment life.

Just me though.

Art by Karena

Come and enter my New Giveaway from Serena & Lily! You will love it!

designchic said...

Apartment living at your stage seems wonderful...enjoying the city life and all it has to offer!! Can't wait to see what you choose!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

My friend moving to Oman has a similar dilemma. Wow, it would be hard to choose. I guess I would choose one with a garden :) Can't wait to see how it unfolds

Anna of IHOD said...

Ooo That is some tough decisions Lisa! I have rented apartments and love the convenience but I also remember feeling like I wish I had more of a home feel. I guess its what you value more! Best of luck in the decision!

christine, just bella said...

Wow, what an amazing adventure you are on!! Seriously incredible. I hope you find the place that works best for you and I can't wait to see it!!

I just love hearing about your experiences over there!

barbara@hodge:podge said...

I would go the apartment route, especially is there are no kids! The convenience of being close to everything would be fantastic! Good luck and happy hunting:)

lei said...

I vote for the apartment too. Take your time to search for a really good'un and it will be such a wonderful experience here in Dubai.

I'm totally loving my apartment dwelling, I don't even think I'd ever WANT to live in a villa here. If I upsize... it'd just be to another apartment.. but maybe with an outdoor terrace/rooftop (not just a 'regular' balcony) :)

happy house hunting! Nice to see an interesting blog that is now dubai-based

Marianne {Style For Living} said...

Such a tough choice, but being in the city sounds great to me! It would be nice to go out your front door and have everything that you need close by.

cabin + cub said...

It looks so amazing there!... and what a good choice dilemma to have... should you live in this fab place, or this one! Can't wait to see what you choose!

ulysses said...

we live in J.L.T. We are really happy with our appartment. It gets way too hot in the summer to have a garden. So I have a window garden:)
I like walking to the beach.. during the winter because lets face it from here on in.. it's too hot to swim. The water is hotter than the outside air. Our pool is chilled if you want to swim.... so many upsides... the dust is kept to a minimum because it's high rise....

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Anonymous said...

Hello Lisa,
Welcome to Dubai. My friend Margaret refered me to your blog. I live in the Arabian Ranches. If you need any information or help getting around and about Dubai, please let me know, will be glad to be of some neighbourly help. My number is 050-4545049.
I offer art and craft workshops for children and ladies. I love altering stuff and designing greeting cards. So looking forward to meeting up with someone like minded !

Anonymous said...

Hello Lisa,
Welcome to Dubai. My friend Margaret refered me to your blog. I live in the Arabian Ranches. If you need any information or help getting around and about Dubai, please let me know, will be glad to be of some neighbourly help. My number is 050-4545049.
I offer art and craft workshops for children and ladies. I love altering stuff and designing greeting cards. So looking forward to meeting up with someone like minded !

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