There is no doubt that the UAE is home to some spectacular properties. From penthouse apartments to plush villas with sprawling gardens and incredible pools, it’s a real estate haven.
Each week, The National showcases some of the finest homes on offer in its Property of the Week. Here, we take a closer look at an apartment at Abu Dhabi's Al Bandar development.
The key details
This four-bedroom, four-bathroom property is set across a full floor encompassing 4,089 square feet. It is located in Al Manara tower within Al Bandar in the capital's Al Raha Beach area.
The tower features 12 apartments and has a shared swimming pool, squash courts and tennis court. The apartment is on a high floor, and comes with timber flooring as well as marble slabs, granite worktops and a smart home system. It's on the market for Dh6.2 million with Henry Wiltshire International.
What's the story?
About a decade ago, there wasn't a huge amount of choice for new residents seeking an upmarket apartment in Abu Dhabi. That of course has since changed significantly in the ensuing years.
Back then, aside from the architectural splendour of Etihad Towers, property-seekers would be pointed in the direction of Al Raha Beach where Al Muneera was opening up, and for those with deeper pockets there was the allure of Al Bandar.
Why was it so alluring? Well, there's the setting for a start, with its towers stretching out into the water with boats parked up in the surrounding marina giving it vibes of the South of France. In fact, three of the towers look like ships ready to set sail out on to the high seas.
It was nicely landscaped, had shops and restaurants and felt almost as much a pleasant place to visit as one to actually live at. And then there was the actual properties themselves with balconies hanging over the water and sunset views down towards the city. Pure tranquility.
The property supply levels may have changed in Abu Dhabi, but Al Bandar has retained its status as one of the city's most attractive locations.
This particular apartment has an open plan living area and kitchen with light pouring in from the floor to ceiling windows. It almost feels as though you are living atop a super yacht with the blueness of the water filling much of the eyeline. And who doesn't like to sit in the bath and look out to sea?
With white walls and floors its a blank canvas that can be shaped however a new owner sees fit. They'll just need to remember to take into account the pillars when measuring up.
What the brokers say ...
Is Al Bandar the pinnacle of apartment living in Abu Dhabi?
Yes, absolutely. This is the original flagship development from Aldar in Al Raha Beach. The apartments are extremely well built and come with high specifications and finishes. The facilities and amenities are excellent, as is the location.
The lifestyle in Al Bandar is second to none compared to anywhere in Abu Dhabi, however, it’s the authentic community feel that makes it special. The community is exclusive while remaining inclusive of those who live there, with a high proportion of the residents being owners.
How does Al Manara differ from the other towers at Bandar?
Al Manara is the exclusive blue tower on the point of the island. The building itself is unique, as there are only 12 full floor apartments, all over 4,000 square feet, with high quality finishes including contemporary marble and mosaic bathrooms, and high quality timber flooring. Added to that there are truly panoramic 360º sea views which are quite exceptional.
It does however lack a private beach like its Al Raha beach neighbours ...
Each development within Al Raha Beach has its own features and amenities. Al Bandar was designed as an exclusive low density island development with a marina wrapping around the glass apartment buildings. Residents can go directly from their apartment down to the marina berths and it is common to see people cruising out to dinner to the restaurants in Yas Marina and Yas Links golf club. No need to take the car!
These units are rare, how often have you seen them available for sale?
Yes, that is indeed correct, only four apartments were ever sold privately, so to see them come up for resale is very rare. Unique properties and any limited commodity always makes for a great long term investment and what a spectacular home to live in.
What kind of buyer will look to snap this up?
Someone who appreciates a certain lifestyle of luxury living in a contemporary apartment with the most amazing views, the privacy of no neighbours and direct access to the water being an added bonus for boat lovers. Al Bandar is also perfectly located with direct access to the highway for Dubai which takes about 45 minutes, downtown Abu Dhabi no more than 20 minutes and the airport is just five minutes away.
Are you seeing prices and rents on the rise in Abu Dhabi?
After seven years of declining sales prices, things started to turn around last year with a flight to quality, larger apartments with sea views or villas with gardens or pools. As a consequence, we now have a shortage of certain types of properties for sale and prices are starting to rise.
Rents are also on the rise for villas and good quality apartments in the best developments. We have virtually continual full occupancy in Al Bandar and the best buildings in Al Raha Beach and the same for most of the villa communities. As there are a limited amount of these communities in Abu Dhabi, we expect the availability for rent and for sale to remain tight and that will put increasing upward pressure on prices.
Angela Hurrion, property consultant, Henry Wiltshire International