Inside a Dubai apartment that costs Dh1 million a year to rent

A penthouse at the Bulgari Resort is ultra-luxurious, but is it worth the nine-figure annual sum?

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How many times have you been given the grating piece of advice that "renting is just money down the drain"?

Probably often, unless of course you are already perched happily on your own big comfy cushion somewhere on the property ladder. For the majority of expatriate residents in the UAE, renting is part of life – and, because so many people are renting, the feeling that your hard-earned dirhams are worming their way down the plug-hole isn't quite so overbearing.

Unless that is, you are paying far too much rent. How much is far too much? Well that depends what you earn.

So, to throw a figure into the mix (before it is drain-bound), how about the Dh1 million ($272,000) per year it costs to rent this penthouse at Dubai's Bulgari Resort?

Instead of pay this sum, some may choose to pay a visit to Rolls-Royce, see every country in the world – probably more than once – or even, dare we say it, buy a home outright to live in.

But if the wealthy among us can afford it, then they will be able to base themselves in one of Dubai's premier addresses, with some of the best views in the city. The purchase price was, after all, more than Dh28 million.

Set on the exclusive Jumeirah Bay Island, it is one of two half-floor penthouses within the residences and is spread across 6,585 sq ft with four bedrooms.

Efficiency was at the forefront of the thinking by designers Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, with open living areas which are partially furnished - although it is actually listed as "furnished". It has that kind of half-moved in, half-moved out look.

Certainly, one with the means to pay this amount of rent would add in their own bells and whistles, and the current furnishings wouldn't impinge too much an any style divergence. It is white-walled and wooden floored almost throughout, so a dash of colour wouldn't go amiss.

The kitchen is sleek with a breakfast bar that overlooks the water, providing that feeling of forever being on holiday. Outside there's a huge wooden-decked terrace with the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai visible in the distance, while residents can of course make use of the private beach cove

It's a snip compared to the Dh2m you can pay in rent for a villa in Emirates Hills or on Palm Jumeirah. Apartments in the Downtown area meanwhile can command up to Dh1.4m a year in rent. So, in that respect, Dh1m, doesn't feel quite so heavy on the pocket.

Courtesy Luxhabitat

Q&A: Richard Brock, luxury sales director at Luxhabitat

Who / why would you pay Dh1m a year in rent? Do you come across many renters in the Dh1m bracket? 
There are several luxurious properties over the Dh1m rent bracket in Dubai. We do still come across clients who have this kind of budget on the market; although not in abundance. We are specifically looking for an UHNW client who knows and appreciates the Bulgari brand.

It is classed as furnished but appears to come with little furniture?
The apartment is furnished with all the necessities, but needs a touch of the future occupants' personal belongings to make it a home. It has a minimalist touch and has been designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners.

What would you do with a rental budget of Dh1m?
With a budget of Dh1m and above, you can rent in all the prime areas of Dubai - including mansions in Emirates Hills, Signature villas in Palm Jumeirah, as well as penthouses in Downtown and DIFC. It's all down to client specifications. If the client wants a unique luxurious seafront penthouse and loves the Bulgari brand, this would be the ideal postcode and a key location close to Downtown.

Is a property such as this beyond market dynamics with Dubai rents having fallen?
There are very few penthouses on the market for rent. Renting this branded penthouse in one of the finest addresses in Dubai is a rare opportunity. Most penthouses are available only for sale and are typically end-user purchases. The purchase price on this apartment was above Dh28m, so it definitely falls beyond market dynamics, keeping in mind both the price and a truly unique product.