Clearly, if you are moving to Dubai the place to settle in will vary considerably depending on whether or not you are married, have children and or pets and what you like to do in your spare time. The type of job you do and the location of your job may also be factors in the decision you make.
Arabian Ranches is my first pick for families looking to move to Dubai. It is a gated community made up of villas of various sizes but all rather large. Some are semi-detached and others are grand palaces in stand-alone gardens with private pools.
It all depends on your budget, but there are plenty of places to rent or buy. Those that do not have a private pool have a well-maintained, shared pool within walking distance plus other play areas.
The gardens that line the streets are immaculate all year round making it a very pleasant oasis. In addition, there is a moderate sized shopping center, a golf club, small hotel and several good restaurants within the larger community. The only disadvantage is that it is a little way out in the desert, so trips into Dubai center take about twenty minutes.
The Greens, the Springs and the Lakes
Emirates Hills has a strong golfing theme, so it is possible to find a home that overlooks the fairway. It is located a little inland from Jumeira Beach and the Palm and offers palatial villas at a price.
Jumeira Beach Residences, Dubai Marina and Jumeira Lake Towers
Jumeira Beach Residences (JBR), Dubai Marina, and Jumeira Lake Towers are all more or less in the same area ranging along the coast just past the Palm Jumeira. They offer a range of properties with views of the sea, the canals and the lakes. If you are fond of the sea, it may be the place for you.
It is a relatively new development that was built approximately 10 years ago. There are walkways along the canals and the waterfront, plenty of restaurants and hotels as well as good shops.
The views from some apartments are breathtakingly beautiful, but these apartments do not come cheap. I hesitate to put a price on anything as the market in Dubai is prone to fluctuations.
One negative about this area of Dubai is that the roads were never really adequate for the number of residents and the streets can be crammed with cars at times. Of course, this is worse where there is on-going construction and the new tram-way, intended to relieve some of the congestion, caused a lot during its construction. Now that it is functioning, it has had mixed reviews. You will need to see for yourself.
Palm Jumeira, what will it be? An apartment on the trunk, a villa on the fronds? For me it would have to be a villa on the fronds. The space, the sea air and the famous neighbors all make it a desirable residence for the lucky few.
The villas are large and nestled into quiet cul-de-sacs making them ideal for raising a family. The trunk is lined with hotels and apartment buildings.
At present they all look very nice, but I wonder how long it will be before that seaside glamor fades. For now, the deep balconies give a good inside/outside feel to the spacious apartments and I am sure you could make a nice home with the right furnishings. It is also a very pleasant location with shops and the beach near at hand.
Jumeira/Umm Suqeim, these areas run parallel to Jumeira Beach and back four or five blocks towards Sheik Zayed Road. The Jumeira area used to be the most desirable area to live in and villas commanded high prices. They still do. Although the older villas have their problems, such as no double-glazing, ancient air-conditioning units and sometimes difficult to reach maintenance crews, this is an area that still attracts people. Over time, the really old villas are being replaced with new ones, often semi-detached.
Sensible sized community shopping malls are springing up in Al Wasl Street as well as Jumeira Beach Road, and the beach is close at hand. Of course there are not many places that you can access it, but there are still enough to satisfy residents.
Dubai International Financial Centre
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is packed with sleek new apartment buildings that are ideal for singles or young couples who enjoy the buzz. As well as very elegant apartment buildings, there are plenty of good restaurants including some of Dubai’s best, such as Zuma and La Petite Maison.
It is also very central being almost within walking distance of Dubai Mall. Most of the apartment buildings have ample parking, but if you do not want the bother of a car, getting a taxi here is easy.
Downtown Dubai, is an attractive part of Dubai nestled around the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall. If I had to choose between here and the Arabian Ranches I would find it hard. It does not have the leafy community feel that the Ranches have. But it has charm.
Many of the residences have a distinct Arabian twist to them which is so refreshing in a modern city of sleek high-rises. There are high-rises but the parts of Downtown that I like are low to medium rise. It is possible to get a duplex with a secluded garden walking distance from Dubai Mall and all that that area has to offer. Very tempting I would say.
So these are the top areas in Dubai in no particular order of preference, rather I have started on the edges of Dubai and moved into the center. If you cannot afford to live in these areas that does not mean that you would be unhappy living in other parts of Dubai. Gharhoud, Rashidya, Sheik Zayed Road and Mirdif all have their charms.