My Dubai Rent: Londoner pays Dh58,000 for one-bedroom apartment with its own garden

Alexia Lawrence-Jones lives with her dog, Oscar, in an apartment in Dubai's Studio City

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they pay each month, see who they live with and ask what they like and don't like

When working-from-home became the norm during the pandemic, Alexia Lawrence-Jones decided to upsize her rental budget and move to a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai’s Studio City.

But unlike most one-bedroom dwellings, this one came with the added bonus of its very own garden.

Ms Lawrence-Jones, 40, who is the director of a communications company, said she chose to live there because it offered a tranquil location for work as well as a cosy home-from-home.

The London-native invited The National into her garden flat to find out what makes it so special to her.

Why did you choose to live here?

Like so many others, I was working from home constantly during the pandemic and I didn’t like the apartment I was living in at the time.

I wanted somewhere that had outdoor space. I have a dog and I couldn’t even take him for a walk during the height of Covid-19, so that meant I needed to get a garden.

View of the living room and Alexia's dog, Oscar. Photo: Pawan Singh / The National

I didn’t want to spend too much money so when I found this garden flat for the price listed, it really was a no-brainer.

Usually, if you want a home with a garden, you would need to rent a villa.

What makes your home so special?

It’s a little bit farther out from the centre of Dubai but you get amazing value for money.

We’ve got beautiful gardens in the community to walk around in and there’s also a communal swimming pool.

Most of the residents are quite young, so the area is vibrant, and there are a lot of fellow British people living here, too.

There are quite a few dog owners here, so it means I can take my dog, Oscar, for a walk where he gets to socialise with other dogs.

How much do you pay in rent?

I pay Dh58,000 a year over four cheques. I am expecting it to go up slightly next year, to about Dh60,000, but that’s still quite manageable.

I used to live in a one-bedroom in Damac Hills, which I paid Dh35,000 for, but I much prefer the extra space here.

Obviously, I could have an even bigger place if I wanted to pay more in rent but when you’re living in Dubai, you don’t want to be spending all your money on rent, you want to be saving it.

How much time do you spend working from home?

Before Covid, I was able to work remotely one day a week, then it was full-time from home during the pandemic.

Now I work two days from home, so it’s very important to me that I have a quiet and relaxing environment to do so from.

There’s also a cafe on site which I can go to if I want to mix up where I work from.

What touches have you made to make the place feel like your own?

It’s important to me that a home feels like a home. I’ve put up a lot of artwork, some of which I’ve done myself.

I enjoy doing a bit of art in my spare time and it’s nice to hang it on the wall rather than just having a boring white space.

Is there anything you would change about your home if you could?

The only thing that I would change would be to have a bathtub. I’ve thought about getting a two-bedroom apartment but there’s no point as my other half works in Abu Dhabi and spends most of the week down there.

Updated: August 22, 2022, 5:04 AM
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