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 Dubai's truly remarkable The Floating Seahorse Villas.
The key details
The Floating Seahorse Villas development comprises 133 villas, which sit afloat off The World Islands. The properties, which are being sold for €20 million ($24m), are set across three storeys and 4,004 square feet, including an external deck area and coral gardens.
As of Tuesday, 131 of the 133 villas, which sleep up to eight people, were sold.
See a selection of underwater views from The Floating Seahorse Villas:
What's the story?
For many, the closest they'll come to own a coral garden at home is a high-maintenance fish tank. That will not be the case for owners of The Floating Seahorse Villas, a collection of properties that feature among the $5 billion The Heart of Europe project on Dubai's The World Islands.
The handover of the buoyant properties began at the end of 2020, with four villas floated each month. According to Josef Kleindienst, chairman of Kleindienst Group that is developing the project, The Floating Seahorse Villas will be ready to accept visitors and owners from the last quarter of 2021 onwards.
The properties are set across three floors, with underwater, sea and sky levels.
The underwater bedroom level is undoubtedly a primary selling point, with submerged rooms that can be used as either bedrooms or extra living spaces.
The lower level boasts floor-to-ceiling glass walls throughout, with incredible underwater views of the marine life and colourful coral reefs. A night light above the coral gardens allows for night-time reef and marine life visibility.
Guests enter via a foyer on the sea level, where they'll find a balance of indoor and outdoor living, with private decks at the front and back of the property. As well as unlimited sea vistas, residents will also enjoy Dubai skyline views, including glimpses of the Burj Khalifa.
An over-water hammock provides the perfect setting for relaxing al fresco, while looking over the coral garden underneath. Water access is possible via an in-sea ladder.
There is a fully equipped kitchen on the sea level, with a built-in fridge and appliances, as well as a sliding wall, which can be used to create a closed-off kitchen.
The top floor, or sky level, features a guest toilet, as well as a dining area, which has en-suite kitchen facilities. There is also a skylit ceiling, Jacuzzi, wall-mounted shower and sun lounging space.
The properties offer a balance of secluded island living with a connected community feel. The majority of the properties are connected via walkways to the heart-shaped Honeymoon Island, with access to a Portofino-inspired hotel yet to be completed.
The fully furnished Signature properties boast interiors designed by The Heart of Europe. Furniture is chosen from a selection of different brands, which can be customised by the owners.
What the brokers say ...
Do you anticipate people will live in The Floating Seahorse Villas full-time?
This is a tourist project and a second-home destination; it’s not a residential project. We are not assuming people are coming to live here, we are assuming people come for a nice holiday, a long weekend, a party or a celebration and then they go back home.
However, some owners may want to use their unit as one of their many primary residences, as it is fairly frequent for our clients to own many properties across the globe.
Do you think these are the most unique properties on the Dubai market?
The Floating Seahorse Villas are a world first, unique to the global market and Dubai. The floating villas offer many unique selling points; I wanted to see underwater treasures, marine life and the captivating underwater landscape without getting wet. A passion for creating the unimagined experience drove me to travel and study underwater projects globally.
Have the properties increased in value?
Those who originally purchased a Floating Seahorse Villa for Dh5m quadrupled their investment in 2020, as they were reselling for Dh20m, delivering favourable return on investment. The selling price further appreciated to Dh88m in December 2020, upon completion of phase one and handover commencing.
Has the design of the villas changed throughout the building process?
Originally, The Floating Seahorse Villas were made from steel, but are now made from maintenance-free, marine-grade concrete below the surface level and a super-light aluminium skeleton above water, with a Glass Reinforced Plastic cladding adding a high-end glossy yacht finish. Further design and testing has shown that a concrete shell provides a longer life of 100-plus years.
Are the properties adaptable to buyers' tastes?
The Signature Edition of The Floating Seahorse Villas are fully customisable and personalised to suit individual styles and tastes. Each Signature Edition villa will be bespoke and distinctive, allowing buyers to select from a variety of different premium quality finishes, ranging from flooring to kitchens and bathrooms, as well as interiors.
The coral gardens are affixed to the outside of the villas as an aquatic ecosystem, to attract marine life – including fish and turtles – to feed from it.
The coral reefs have been created by marine biologists and aquarists at the Marine Life Sciences Centre, to ensure the best shapes and textures to encourage coral growth.
How much interest has there been in the development?
Initially, we expected our No 1 customer would be European, however we have been pleased to witness an overwhelming interest from stakeholders throughout the GCC.
In terms of investors in the overall project, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are followed by Egyptians, Indians and French buyers in the top five, with further interest coming from as far afield as Brazil, China and the UK.
The UAE (46 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (18 per cent) are again on top when it comes to buying The Floating Seahorses Villas, followed by Kuwait (12 per cent), St Kitts and Nevis (12 per cent), and France (11 per cent). So far, we have sold 131 units sold out of 133.
- Josef Kleindienst, chairman of Kleindienst Group, The Heart of Europe