Areas & Suburbs in Dubai
Areas and suburbs in Dubai
There are three main styles of housing in Dubai and, similarly, three main factors that expats will need to consider when choosing the area or suburb in Dubai in which to look for accommodation.
Factors to consider
Proximity to your children’s school
Proximity to your place of work
Area that maximises important lifestyle elements
Once these factors have been considered and priorities are clearer, it will then be down to the type of accommodation preferred, and of course the housing budget or allowance, which, in the case of most expatriates, is included in the employment package.
Expats in Dubai generally live in residential “compounds” as these provide additional communal facilities such as parks, playgrounds, gyms and swimming pools (depending on the community).
Styles of Housing
Apartments – generally don’t have a garden, and may have a balcony
Townhouses – are duplex or triplex and have a small garden
Villas – free-standing and have a garden
It’s also important to bear in mind that because Dubai has grown so rapidly some residential areas in “New” Dubai are still being finished off, which means not all the planned facilities (pools and parks) may actually be complete. This will often be reflected in the rental prices, so while getting more for your money in a place that is not yet finished, it will mean the possibility of having to live with some inconvenience in the short-term.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
The Jumeirah Beach Residence is a massive residential development comprising six clusters of several high-rise apartment blocks overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The towers are built over an ocean-front promenade called “The Walk” which is lined with retail outlets, restaurants, cafés and hotels. Each cluster includes several swimming pools for use by the residents, and a few gyms. Apartments with sea views are sought after and command higher rentals but, in general, the area offers good value. JBR is good for young professionals or those who wish to feel like they are always on holiday.
Pros: Holiday vibe all year round; shops, restaurants and the beach are all within walking distance so no car is needed; easy metro access.
Cons: Access and exit tricky at peak times; noisy and busy; no gardens.
Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree that extends into the Gulf. There are two main types of accommodation: medium-rise apartment blocks on the trunk, most with communal beach access, and expensive villas with private beaches and pools on the fronds. The apartments here are popular and prices remain stable due to limited supply. The area is good for young couples and families.
Pros: Quieter than JBR but still with beach access; greener, with more gardens.
Cons: A car is a must here as there is no direct access to the metro yet. The ocean gets trapped due to the shape of the island and the water can smell bad at times.
Jumeira and Umm Suqeim
Older villas make up small compounds in this part of Dubai. The area is more established, with less construction and the villas near Beach Road are within walking distance of the beach. It’s still possible to find a bargain here but beware that some of these villas are not well maintained. Each compound will normally be built around a communal pool and garden. The area is great for families with pets; the villas also often include a maid’s room.
Pros: Good central location; easy to get taxis; area is peppered with schools; more cosmopolitan.
Cons: The call to prayer will wake you every morning due to the number of mosques in the area; villas are older and less spacious.
Built around a man-made marina, and set one road back from JBR, Dubai Marina is a popular residential area of high-rise apartment blocks, some with great views of the Palm. Several hotel apartment towers can also be found here offering serviced accommodation for short- or long-term lets. Prices are average and availability is good. Marina is good for those accustomed to apartment living.
Pros: Great metro access; good views; quieter than JBR but still close to the sea.
Cons: Ongoing construction makes it noisy; no gardens.
Dubai International Financial Centre and Downtown
Burj Khalifa in Dubai
Downtown Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world. This is a fairly new and modern area built for mixed use; residential apartment towers are mixed in with office blocks and hotels. Prices are medium to high, but the build quality is normally very good. It’s well suited to hip and trendy high-flyers.
Pros: Very trendy area close to the metro and Dubai Mall; good access to the older parts of Dubai; very central.
Cons: No beaches, not many gardens; may be considered “far” by those living in “New” Dubai
Fauna and flora
The Greens, The Springs, The Lakes
An Emaar development known as Emirates Living comprises four different developments, all built close to the Emirates Golf Course. The Greens consists predominantly of low-rise apartment blocks built around shared gardens and communal pools, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The Springs is a villa-style development in 15 phases, a two-bedroom unit being the smallest. The Lakes and The Meadows consist of larger free-standing villas with gardens. All the communities share parks, pools and in some cases basketball courts. They’re great for families or people with pets. Rentals are reasonable, except for The Meadows, which remains very sought-after.
Pros: Green and leafy; child-friendly; central and established.
Cons: The villas are older and can look tired; some ongoing road construction in certain areas.
Dubai Silicon Oasis, Victory Heights, Motor City and Arabian Ranches
All these developments can be found on Emirates Road between the Al Khail Arabian ranches in Dubairoundabout and the E66. The complexes consist of townhouses and free-standing villas, except in the case of Motor City, which also has some low-rise apartment blocks. These developments are popular with expats from South Africa, Australia and the UK due to the larger houses and gardens, and better value for money. Arabian Ranches is very popular, older and more established, and therefore more expensive. Built further out into the desert these areas are quieter, but can be more dusty.
Pros: More space; quieter; great for families with children and pets.
Cons: Considered “really far” by many people in “Old” Dubai; no metro access; a car is a necessity.
Mirdif and Garhoud
Built on either side of Dubai International Airport, Mirdif and Garhoud offer older style villa compounds with shared pool access. The rental prices are low to medium in these areas. The close proximity to good schools makes these popular areas for people with children who prefer value for money.
Pros: More competitive rental prices; good schools nearby.
Cons: The proximity to the airport means it can be very noisy.
Bur Dubai is one of the oldest parts of Dubai city.