It feels as if we are sitting on top of the world

A convenient location and great city view come as a pleasant surprise to this property hunter.

September 11, 2010 / Abu Dhabi / (Rich-Joseph Facun / The National) An overview of April Robinson's (CQ), flat photographed Saturday, September 11, 2010 in Abu Dhabi.
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A four-bedroom, duplex penthouse flat in a highrise building in the Tourist Club area of Abu Dhabi, rented in April through Rex Management. Managed by Al Wathba National Insurance Company.

Dh240,000 a year, piggy-backing on the previous tenant's lease, plus five per cent commission for the estate agent and five per cent endorsement fee for the property management company.

Key features A large, open living and dining area with a balcony that runs the length of the two-storey flat; a fully equipped kitchen that includes a washer/dryer, gas stove, dishwasher and large double-door refrigerator/freezer; a maid's room with en suite bathroom; four large bedrooms with built-in closets and en suite bathrooms. Three of the bedrooms have spacious private balconies, while the other, on the building's corner, has floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls. There is 24-hour security; basement parking; a fully equipped gym and a covered rooftop pool with showering and changing facilities for men and women. Marble and dark hardwood floors and crown mouldings feature throughout the flat.

I was displeased with the location of my previous apartment and at times frustrated with the space, but the price was right and it was close to work. In the early part of this year, however, when the housing market in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi began to change, people started to move and new places were coming onto the market. We were fortunate when a friend, who was our agent, came across someone who wanted to move and needed to find a tenant to take their place. We managed to work out a deal to come in on the rate they were paying, having moved in a few years previously, before the market went crazy. Overnight I went from accepting my lot in life to sitting on top of the world.

We live in a fabulous apartment; most of our friends say they would gladly move into our maid's room. We consolidated two apartments into one during the move, giving us plenty of furnishing to fill the voids in the massive rooms. The location is great - it's easy to grab a cab, there are many fabulous restaurants about, and Abu Dhabi Mall is just down the road. We are living in the heart of the city but it doesn't seem too crowded because there are low-rise buildings around us. There are grocery stores and gas stations within a block and we are situated conveniently enough to avoid most of the gridlock.We often find ourselves congregating in the kitchen, sometimes sharing dishes from Lebanese Mill, at other times having tea and catching up and, once in a while, we go all-out and prepare a small feast (which is when the gym comes in handy: we are now making more of an effort to use it regularly).

I am in love with the views of the city. Going up the flat's internal stairs, I sometimes just stop on the landing and stare out at Reem Island. On a clear day I can sit on the edge of the sofa and get a glimpse of the pearl-shaped Aldar building off the E10, and sometimes I swear I can see Yas Island. I can also turn my attention towards the city and look at the new skyscrapers coming up along the Corniche. And during Womad I stood on my balcony and watched the fireworks. Best of all, I have a parking space; I no longer have to circle the streets trying to find a spot.

At one point it seemed as if every week I was calling the maintenance people to come and fix something; it drove me mad. The air conditioning in the kitchen still leaks every now and then. However, I think we finally have most of the kinks out - knock on our wood floors.

I'm glad we made the move. While there have been times I wished I had stayed in my little hole in the wall, the building management here has worked with us to resolve the problems. It suits me - for now.