Birds skimming over man-made lakes surrounded by a carpet of greenery off one of Dubai’s main arteries may sound like an illusion.
But enthusiastic residents in an idyllic part of Dubai speak of how surreal it is to drive off a busy motorway and into the greenery of three neighbourhoods nestled near one other — the Meadows, Lakes and Springs.
Tucked between two of the city’s premier golf courses, the main draw of the villa communities is leafy trees, chirping birds and quiet pathways.
Located a short walk from the Emirates Golf Club and the Montgomerie Golf Club, the communities feature a range of villas from three-bedrooms to large, five-storey, independent bungalows.
The cream and yellow walls overlook playgrounds and pools where groups of children gather every evening.
Tennis courts and proximity to schools are another draw, with mothers pushing children in prams to nurseries inside the community or cycling to drop off wards in four schools around the neighbourhood.
Launched in 2003 by Emaar, the communities are designed around large lakes or bordering green parks.
Residents said it adds to the feeling of living in the country when they spot herons swooping into the lake and tiny purple sunbirds hovering over flowers.
The three neighbourhoods have similar layouts with some differences in building and plot sizes.
There are more than 900 villas in The Lakes community that also has an extensive football field where coaches set up camp daily. The Meadows has more than 1,900 homes and the Springs has about 4,800 villas.
Schools and stores a short walk away
Many residents started out as tenants and then decided to put down roots.
“You walk outside to the park and lake and you hear birds chirping,” said Muniba Patka, a homeowner. For her, the location and the greenery are an unbeatable combination.
She moved to the Meadows in 2019 after living in the nearby Lakes for about 10 years.
“The greenery is amazing. In Dubai, there is always construction going on. Here, it’s suburban living within a fabulous city. So, without the distance of being in a suburb, you are actually very much part of the city.”
Residents enjoy the convenience of stores they can walk to for groceries and children are able to bike home instead of taking the school bus.
The Dubai International Academy, Regent International School, Emirates International School and Dubai British School are some of the institutions located right outside the communities, in addition to several nurseries and day care centres.
“You may have many newer properties but the value of some older communities will only increase. Being part of an established community is a major advantage,” she said.
“I’m a foodie and passionate about cooking, so to have a Carrefour, Spinneys, Waitrose and Choitram all within five minutes is great — a lot of areas can’t claim the same.”
Transport links and dining spots
The Nakheel Metro Station is the closest to the communities and can usually be reached paying the minimum Dh10 fare.
The quick access to highways is unbeatable for many residents who drive out of The Lakes and on to Sheikh Zayed Road on one end and connect to Al Khail Road from the second exit.
Seema Rao-Reed, an artist, rents a three-bedroom plus study in The Lakes and enjoys walking over to a restaurant.
The Reform Social and Grill is a popular spot that draws in people for barbecue dinners and theme nights.
Several highly rated restaurants at the golf clubs and in the nearby Greens area are a short drive away.
The community prides itself on celebrating numerous festivals.
Homes draped with spider webs and home-made skeletons scare delighted children on Halloween. Windows are lit up with sparkling lights and lamps to celebrate Christmas and the Indian festival of Diwali.
“There is a sense of community. A lot of children come out to play. When new families move in, children find friends easily,” she said.
“It’s like the old days when you knew the people who stay around. You find people meeting up at the playground or pool.”
The quiet of the surroundings is another plus.
“We don’t hear any traffic except sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night,” she said.
“It’s also easy for people who may not have a car because the Metro is close by, so if your kids are out, it’s a quick drive to pick them up.”
Villas to fit different budgets
Maria Sookiasian lives in the Springs and says affordability is key, as is maintenance by the developer.
The family decided it made sense to buy a home after renting for four years.
Ms Sookiasian is relieved she purchased a three-bedroom villa in 2019 before the prices began rising.
“We just fell in love with community. Now you cannot find anything for under Dh2 million,” she said.
“People are looking for good houses but it’s difficult to find.
“The community is family orientated and well maintained. The lakes are cleaned regularly and pest control is done.”
The proximity to medical clinics in the Springs Souk, Meadows area and Jumeirah Lakes Towers is also a benefit.
The communities have held their own despite newer, swankier properties coming up on offer.
Villa prices in the Meadows range between Dh3.5m and 7.5m and rentals between Dh180,000 and 400,000.
The Lakes sale prices are between Dh2.5m and 6.5m with rentals between Dh160,000 and Dh275,000.
The Springs ranges from Dh1.6m to 2.6m and rentals from Dh90,000 to Dh140,000.
Well laid out, spacious common areas where residents enjoy the outdoors has been a boon during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the lockdown, we didn’t feel like we needed to go anywhere. Being here was sufficient,” Ms Sookiasian said.
“For a property owner, that gives peace of mind.”