06 June 2004

Housing Options

We had basically two kinds of options to choose from when we were looking for somewhere to live in Dubai.
There are flats and there are villas. Of course there are lots of different kinds of both. From the small flat sub-divided by the landlord to accommodate as many Indian bachelors as possible to the luxury split-level penthouse suites with maid's room.
We opted for a flat since it was central, with decent services and very secure (villas have the greatest chance of being burgled, this being one of the few crimes one has to worry about here). Now that we have met a few people we have been to some villas. They are either detached houses with own garden and sometimes a small pool, or blocks of 6-12 semi-detached houses, usually quite large, with a shared pool and sometimes gym in the central courtyard. Gardens aren't too popular here, since it is too hot most of the year for anything meaningful to grow. So the gardens are paved with barbecue areas and seating, loungers round the pool and jacuzzi.
There is so much construction going on in Dubai that it is normal to rent after seeing a show home or example flat and then live in a hotel or temporary accommodation until the building is finished. Whole areas of Dubai are being developed like this, with communities of 15 sq. miles of villas in the middle of the desert.
The Meadows development
We have so far only had experience of the way Western ex-pats live, apart from driving through the older parts of town, where much smaller blocks of flats are located with external air-conditioning units and washing hanging on the balcony.

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