Perched on a manmade island outcrop a short stroll from bustling Dubai Marina lies one of the city’s newest premium neighbourhoods – Bluewaters Island.
With views across the sparkling aquamarine bay, the location has become a hot spot for investors and residents on the back of a city-wide property rebound.
But it does not come cheap, with a one-bedroom apartment likely to set you back at least Dh2.3 million and a three-bedroom property costing as much as Dh5.5 million.
Overlooked by the world’s largest Ferris wheel, the 250-metre Ain Dubai, the neighbourhood is beginning to find its feet with more retail outlets opening every week.
It is hoped most of the shopping malls and food and beverage options will be open in time for Expo 2020, about 160 in total, to attract visitors from around the world.
The area is a mix of rented and owned apartments, townhouses and penthouse suites.
Although an official opening date for Ain Dubai is yet to be announced, the giant Ferris wheel will eventually offer views across the city.
A popular island spot is Caesars Palace Dubai, with its 416 rooms, 80 hotel serviced apartments, 79 suites and 12 restaurants and bars, including Hell's Kitchen operated by British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is world famous as a gambling destination and for hosting some of boxing's most historic world title fights.
But the Dubai hotel has something else to offer three years since opening.
“We want the community here to love our brand and enjoy our beautiful playground here,” said Paula Tannous, commercial director of Caesars Palace Dubai.
“It is an island with the most beautiful beach in Dubai with some amazing waves.
“The community is growing and we are just a short walk across the bridge from Jumeirah Beach Residences and Dubai Marina.
"Our time is now. The island is at the stage where there are so many things about to open, such as Ain Dubai, that will transform this part of the city.
"We have residents living here that is creating a real urban buzz and neighbourhood feel."
How well connected is Bluewaters Island?
Connected via a 275-metre footbridge from JBR, the island is only a 20-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Dubai Marina.
Underground parking is free for visitors, with no need to take a token to redeem at any of the island's retail outlets.
The island can be accessed via a trunk road signposted from the D59 Garn Al Sabkha Street and all other major roads from the marina and E11.
Public transport on and off the island is also an option. Dubai Marina tram station is only a six-minute walk from the Wharf Link footbridge with Damac Metro station 600 metres away.
Rents on Bluewaters Island
As more facilities approach completion, demand for property continues to increase.
Agents acting on behalf of owners said asking prices had jumped between 5 per cent and 10 per cent, on average, in 2021.
There are 698 apartments, four penthouse suites and 17 towers in 10 residential blocks with access to a shared swimming pool and community gym.
Properties offer a range of dimensions and are set over a podium aligned to maxmise sea views from one, two, three and four-bedroom, glass-fronted apartments, each with one or two parking spaces.
A further 119 serviced apartments are available for rent but are currently at 100 per cent occupancy.
Dilya Dossanova, a high-end property specialist at Luxury Mansions, said residential demand on the island was high.
"There has been high demand for properties in Bluewater Island but that has started to fall back as prices increased over the past six months or so," she said.
“We sold a three-bedroom apartment for Dh4.4 million last year but now the price is closer to Dh6 million or more.
“It is not clear exactly why but there has also been speculation of a potential casino opening on the island, so that has boosted interest.
“It is a prestigious development and everything you need is on the island.”
The one-bed properties range in size from 75 to 122 square metres and start from about Dh120,000 a year to rent.
For a two-bedroom apartment, which range in size from 124 to 181 square metres, prices start at about Dh190,000, with a three-bedroom flat between 169 and 198 square metres available from Dh260,000.
Prices for a 230-square-metre four-bedroom property on average start from Dh500,000.
Low-rise residential towers feature landscaped gardens, basketball courts and children's play areas.
Ms Dossanova has 10 properties on her books and demand remains high.
“When Ain Dubai opens we expect there to be even more interest with the sea views and beautiful beach,” she said.
“You have to pay for it, but it is worth it.”
Bluewaters Island location and landmarks
Ain Dubai dominates the skyline in this corner of the city. It is more than 100 metres higher than the 135-metre London Eye and significantly larger than the 167-metre High Roller wheel in Las Vegas, built in 2014.
Located 500 metres off the coast, opposite The Beach, Bluewaters is a lively, family-oriented destination connected to the mainland via a direct road link to Sheikh Zayed Road.
One of the island’s most popular restaurants is Puerto 99, a Mexican and Latin American fusion restaurant with live music and entertainment.
Other popular attractions include the Brass Monkey American-themed sports diner where guests can enjoy live music, a game of pool, ten-pin bowling or drive a virtual reality car racing simulator until 1am.
The Bluewaters mosque has a modern design, catering to the needs of the residents as well as visitors with a large indoor space for worship.
Facilities on Bluewaters Island
The retail experience at Bluewaters spans the boulevard.
The ground and first-floor levels have more than 160 outlets, including units under residential buildings, with a combination of retail, restaurants, cafes and entertainment experiences across the neighbourhood.
Also on site is The Rotunda, a distinctive circular dome inspired by Rome's famous Pantheon, with a 500-seat, 360-degree viewing venue for live acts and shows.
Also due to open is Madame Tussauds waxworks museum, where visitors will get a chance to get up close to model celebrities.
"At night there are lots of people walking around this area, enjoying the cafes, bars and restaurants, so it creates a lovely atmosphere," said Paula Tannous, commercial director at Caesars Palace Dubai.
“With Expo happening this year and more people coming here, that buzz is only going to increase.
“We know this is only the start of the beginning of the island and there is much more to come for people here to explore.
“No other neighbourhood has a 360-degree observatory wheel next door. This really is the jewel of Dubai.”
Schools and nurseries on Bluewaters Island
Although there are no childcare facilities on the island at present, Dubai Marina and JBR are close by with plenty to offer.
Blossom Marina Nursery Dubai is within a 10-minute drive as is Toddler Town British Nursery and Willow Children’s Nursery in JBR.
The nearest schools are Emirates International School in the Meadows or Dubai British School in Emirates Hills.
Romanian interior designer Adriana Graur moved to Bluewaters Island from Dubai Marina last year with her husband and six-month-old son.
“Last year we had our first child so wanted to raise him somewhere that was quiet, yet had lots of facilities and Bluewaters was ideal,” she said.
“The only noise we hear is the birds singing and the sea, it is very calm so perfect for our young baby.”
Ms Graur and her family moved into Building 10 on the island where they rent a two-bedroom apartment with additional maid's room.
The couple both work and have an office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, with ease of access to Bluewaters a big factor in their move.
“Even since we moved, this neighbourhood has changed,” she said.
“More shops and restaurants are open now so it is busier, but it is still nowhere near as busy as the marina.
"It takes us just a few minutes to get through to where we work so it is very easy.
“There are a lot of young families here, it feels like we are back in Europe. It is a nice cosmopolitan community with people getting together for barbecues or to go to the gym.
“There are amazing views so it has the best of what Dubai has to offer.”