My Dubai Rent: Indian family feel at home in Dh187,000 Damac Hills townhouse

Bulbul Satsangi and husband Ankit Satsangi moved to UAE from Bengaluru last year with 11-year-old son

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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

Bulbul Satsangi and her family relocated to the UAE last summer and enjoyed the area in which they were initially staying so much they opted to upgrade and rent a villa nearby.

Now she and her husband Ankit Satsangi, 46, who is head of risk at Wio Bank, pay slightly more to rent a three-bedroom townhouse in Damac Hills, closer to a park for the benefit of their 11-year-old son, Vihaan, who was feeling homesick for the green spaces of Bengaluru.

Ms Satsangi, 44, a freelance content marketer, took The National on a tour of the address they moved into just last month.

Please tell us about your home

My Dubai Rent: Couple pay Dh187,000 for spacious, well-lit Damac Hills townhouse

My Dubai Rent: Couple pay Dh187,000 for spacious, well-lit Damac Hills townhouse

It’s a three-bedroom townhouse with all three bedrooms on the upper floor.

On the ground floor, we have a backyard patio, and a front yard, which is currently artificial turf.

And we have a living-come-dining room and a closed kitchen.

It’s very compact but works well for our small family unit.

We have a lot of friends here, some old and some we have made new so we really wanted to have a space where we can entertain outside if possible. In the garden, you can host 10-15 people comfortably for a barbecue.

Where did you live before?

We were staying in the same locality, in Damac Hills, in a three-bedroom hotel apartment, almost 2,500 square feet with amazing views of Dubai from the 15th floor. It was a serviced apartment and fully furnished so I didn’t have to jump in and start buying lots of stuff.

That cost Dh175,000 [a year], plus brokerage. This place was about Dh187,000, plus brokerage.

Where were you before coming to the UAE?

We moved here from India. We were in Bengaluru for over eight years where we had a very compact flat, also very practical because we both were working.

We have always lived in flats, so he was not sure how we would cope with living in a stand-alone house.

We had this area in our mind and then my husband started going for his morning runs here, 1.5km from the apartment.

Why did you choose this area?

My husband chose the area because he travels to Abu Dhabi for his work with the bank.

He moved in May and scouted properties, starting with JVC, JLT, Dubai Marina, the usual places. He found a nice broker who had just moved from Bengaluru. I left my job in India and followed in June.

Even before he accepted the job offer, we had started doing a survey. What kind of property could we rent? How much? Where we would be staying, the kind of facilities we were looking at.

We had seen this area online when we were browsing various portals when we were in India.

The first thing we looked for was schools, then we expanded our radius.

Ankit’s office is in Abu Dhabi so the obvious choice was to stay there. But most of our friends we know from our college days or professional life throughout the years are staying in Dubai.

It takes him about 45 minutes to reach the Wio headquarters.

What amenities do you have around you?

When we moved to the townhouse, the first criteria we decided on was to go closer to the beautiful park. It’s big, it has a lake, a duck pond. It is amazing for kids.

There’s a skatepark, tennis court, horse stable, a petting zoo, slides. Every corner is beautifully decorated and curated. The townhouses have access to Malibu Beach, which is like a man-made beach.

What matters to us is if Vihaan is not happy, we will not be able to live in peace.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

The moment we shifted to a town house we started getting invited to a lot of dinners and parties.

Vihaan has a lot of international friends whose mums have become my friends. Culturally, it is quite similar to what we had in Bengaluru.

How have you personalised the apartment?

I’m not really a homemaker who likes to do up a house, get new interiors and stuff, decorate nicely. I don’t have that aesthetic sense in me.

But we learnt that Dubai is a very transient city, and I figured out that a lot of people sell their furniture when they’re moving, some even give it away.

I found a post on the Damac Hills community group on Facebook from a sweet Italian lady. Her furniture was to our liking, so we picked everything from her house because she was moving to another part of the city and said that nothing would fit there. We had already purchased our sofa for the hotel apartment.

We are not thinking of changing anything too much because it’s a rented place.

We really want to put up pictures, but if you put up too many things it becomes small and cluttered.

What features do you enjoy?

The kitchen is quite big, which is to my liking because we are Indians and cook a lot. I always wanted large storage spaces and shelves. I got that.

Thankfully, it is a closed kitchen because I don’t like armchair cooks who keep giving opinions. That was the main reason I was wanting something like this, so it is my sanctuary.

And downsides?

The worktops are low so you cannot fit in a washing machine or dishwasher without causing damage.

I would like to have a bigger dining space. And I would like to have a little more access to the terrace on the top floor. But it has a solar-powered heater, which I was impressed by.

Do you think living here gives you a good deal?

In the current market, yes.

We were very clear that we would go to a place that suited our budget.

Do you plan to stay in the property?

I’ve told my husband, I will move from this house only if you drag me out and get me into our own house. Two moves in one year is as much as I can take.

If we were to buy, I think I would end up buying somewhere here [in Damac Hills].

Updated: February 18, 2024, 8:44 AM