My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they get for their money, how much they pay in rent and asks them what they like and don't like
Creative arts teacher Florence Reynolds rents a spacious one-bedroom apartment in Dubai’s Business Bay with views of the Burj Khalifa.
The Irish passport holder watched the tower in which she lives being constructed during her running sessions, from a previous address close by in Al Habtoor City.
Ms Reynolds, 45, moved to the UAE from England in early 2019 for a curriculum specialist role and was drawn by the fast-evolving Business Bay area because of the opportunity to live close to water and the ability to get around on foot.
She took The National on a tour of her home, which lies about 30 minutes by car from the school at which she currently works.
What can you tell us about your home?
I live alone in the heart of Dubai, in a one-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, which I moved into in March 2021.
It has a kitchen-diner-lounge [open layout] and the balcony is the full length of the flat.
My view is of the Burj Khalifa to the left and then, to the right, the old town and the world’s biggest frame. So, it is the greatest spot for New Year’s Eve because I see all the fireworks.
It is a 1,270-square-foot apartment and when I moved in I paid Dh78,000, plus bills. Now I pay Dh85,000, plus bills.
How did you discover your apartment?
I was in Al Habtoor City before.
Since I moved to the UAE, I have lived in the Business Bay area. I like to be near water and I have the canal to jog and skate around or can link directly to the cycle lanes that are designated for avid cyclists.
There was a new building going up and I used to see it when I ran round the canal. I wanted to live there. I have literally seen it grow from scratch.
Why did you select this area?
I chose to live in Business Bay as I lived in London in the business district.
I wanted to give myself a good chance to beat the feeling of being lonely after landing in unfamiliar territory, yet also chose an area where I could embrace the new culture and learn to live in a new way.
My work was such that I travelled regularly across Emirates, so I chose Business Bay as it was an intersection on the Metro line and brilliantly connected to all of the main roads.
What are the advantages of living here?
It is on the water. It is at the bottom of Marasi Drive.
I like the fact that it is a small building, only 19 floors. And there are only 120 apartments. So I knew, being single and having no family, it was going to be like one community. And we really are, we all know each other.
It appealed to me because I love cycling and the route begins here. So, I can go all the way around the canal, hop over to Nad Al Sheba and go all the way round there.
What is there to do in your tower?
The building has great amenities and it is well kept.
The gym is one of the biggest residents’ gyms in Dubai. We have a sauna, a little shop, a salon, a swimming pool and a barbecue area.
The staff are long-standing and they are always to hand to support and fix any problems that may arise.
Living here is brilliant as I can do everything by foot and it has become a community because of the way in which tenants – families and professionals – are chosen.
Is it a sociable neighbourhood?
I love living here and I love my neighbours.
I think that it is really important to build a good network around you and Business Bay has offered me this stability.
I am known in my local supermarket and I know my neighbours; it makes me feel safe and part of something.
This is the ideal home for me as a singleton – I don’t feel single as the community are always inviting me over, or I will babysit for them or we will go to the pool together and have a barbecue in the shared area.
How have you personalised your place?
I have endeavoured to make my apartment an oasis of calm against the backdrop of this bustling city.
I am a creative specialist and I have had lots of gifts of art from different artists in the UAE. They are all up on the wall.
I was going to paint the walls but decided not to because I quite like that Danish chic … very white.
It is very generic in that sense but I liked that because it gave me an empty canvas to make it homey as I wanted it. It was completely unfurnished.
The building is situated on a busy road and, of course, I can hear the Lamborghinis and Ferraris revving their engines.
But I like to be reminded that I live in this beautiful metropolis and engines sounding is a reminder of the success of this young country.
But to block out a little of the noise, I have a balcony full of olive trees with little twinkly lights. In the months of nice weather, we all go out there.
Do you think living here offers value for money?
Yes. It is worth it as it is a safe, clean area and I live with great people.
Another thing the building [management] has done is it has not necessarily gone with [inflating rents] … it could up everything.
But it is more important for them to keep the same people here. It is rental-only, you cannot buy the apartments.
Do you plan to stay in the property?
I would stay here forever if I could. I really would.