A four-bedroom, 464 square-metre villa on Frond C of Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.
Four bedrooms, five bathrooms, study/second sitting room, maid's room, laundry room, fitted kitchen, built-in wardrobes, central air conditioning, ceramic floor tiles, smart home technology, balcony, two-car garage, swimming pool, direct access to private beach, 24-hour security.
"Villas on the Fronds of The Palm [are] the last word in exclusivity and luxury … each has a large private swimming pool, and most spectacularly, a huge private beach. With the highest standard of amenities and ocean views a Garden or Signature Villa is the most sumptuous dream home imaginable. This is beachfront property unlike any the world has ever seen, and a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity for the rare few."
Although this villa is currently unoccupied, you would never guess: the front garden is green and neat and the house itself looks very well cared for. With all four of the good-sized bedrooms upstairs and an extra room downstairs (potentially a playroom, study, majlis or second sitting room) it would make a lovely family home. Being on Frond C, which is a good distance from the frond opposite, and facing towards the afternoon sun, it feels lighter and more airy than many Palm villas of the same size; with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, the open-plan living/dining room feels huge. The kitchen, closed off from the dining room, is large enough to accommodate a breakfast bar or table. Unlike many on the Palm, the house is presented in "developer's finish", without any owner's upgrades; however, having been let to tenants until recently, it has been very well maintained, with all the "new house kinks" ironed out. Equally, there isn't a shred of evidence that anyone has lived here, since the owner has restored the interior to pristine condition. The swimming pool is at the side of the house, making it more private and leaving plenty of space for garden or terraces overlooking the beach; conversely, it's at the side, so it feels a bit "shoved into a corner".
You could move in straight away because the house is in immaculate condition. On the other hand, it is a blank canvas both internally and outside, with a lot of potential for both stylistic changes and improvement of the spaces - all of which would be to your own taste. Definitely better than paying for someone else's upgrades. According to the agent, it is even possible (and permitted) to add another floor to atrium-style villas such as this. The beach facade of the house faces the setting sun, so the main rooms stay lighter for longer.
The interior is charmless and will need a confident hand with decoration. The side door to the garden creates an awkward, "lost" space (many owners have enclosed it to make good use of it). The tiles and flooring in the bathrooms could walk away with a Miss Ugly award (circa 1978). In common with all Palm villas of this type, the kitchen has very little natural light and is cut off from the entertaining spaces; the floor-to-ceiling glass in the living rooms is almost all fixed, with just a couple of single-door openings to the outdoors - very strange in a beach house - and the villa is cheek-by-jowl with its neighbours, so you'll need to talk quietly when sitting in the garden, unless you want your gossip overheard and passed along.
While it is possible to find non-upgraded four-bedroom villas on the Palm for as much as Dh1 million less, few have been as well maintained. Frond C is one of the most popular and settled parts of Palm Jumeirah - and, at the point where this house sits, is well separated from the frond opposite. It's a lot of money to pay for a house that you'll then want to spend a lot more upgrading but, if Palm Jumeirah is where you want to be, this house would be hard to beat for its spacious yet manageable proportions, sensible floor plan and, above all, potential to upgrade into that "sumptuous dream home" of the agent's blurb.
Elen Manukyan at Better Homes, Dubai; +971 600 522 212, www.bhomes.com