Dubai is a city known for its skyscrapers but away from the high-end hotels, beach clubs and sprawling homes in areas like Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, there are thriving suburban communities where many residents are choosing to live.
As Dubai has expanded, the residential footprint has grown and post-pandemic many people are moving away from apartments into single-unit homes which offer a suburban lifestyle and crucially, outdoor space.
Jumeirah Islands is a purpose-built gated housing development close to the Marina area. The villas are grouped on 46 small islands surrounded by lakes and greenery. Like many others, the community has its own supermarket, school, clubhouse and leisure facilities.
Sheelah Odedra is a mother of two and a Jumeirah Islands resident. The family moved not long after their daughter was born.
“We didn't really know what we were looking for but we needed more space. The best thing is being part of a community that has a lot of shared parks, a lot of walkways, a lot of nature, and things like the clubhouse. We have a pavilion that has another number of restaurants there as well.”
Sheelah said those kinds of amenities make you feel like you are part of the community which is helpful when you have children.
Jumeirah Islands Clubhouse has restaurants, a gym, a play park, a pool and a salon. Many expatriates see facilities like this as highly desirable and part of the lifestyle compromise that comes with living in a different country to friends and family.
Lorena Guerrero is the General Manager of Jumeirah Islands Clubhouse and told Euronews that there is a strong community here.
“They feel the Jumeirah Island belongs to them. You will see here doesn't matter the time of the day, a groups’ either all a young age or maybe families with the kids because there is something for every age.”
Another popular development is the newly built Dubai Hills. Billed as a city within a city project it covers over 11 million square metres, with thousands of apartments and villas, schools, hospitals, a mall and an 18-hole championship golf course.
Louise Heatley decided to purchase her home in Dubai Hills. She told Euronews: ” I've been in Dubai for 26 years, so I have lived in a lot of communities and I'm always looking for something which gives me a lot of facilities, amenities, makes my life a bit easier. Everything on the doorstep”.
Professionally Heatley is an MD for Real Estate company, Exclusive Links. She added that she also looks at what makes a good investment.
“I want something that will always be saleable in the future. So, yeah, I thought Dubai Hills ticked all the boxes that I had for a good place to live,” she said.
Heatley said the most surprising thing for most visitors is that most people in the city live a very normal life.
“We’re not always out, living that high life. It’s similar to what they do at home and we go to work and we come home and have dinner at the table”.
As the city has expanded more neighbourhood hotels have popped up to provide residents who live nearby somewhere to come together as a community.
The First Collection JVC is a four-star hotel in Jumeirah Village Circle. The wider area was launched in 2005 and is built on an area of over 8.7 million square metres with a mix of large villas, townhouses and apartments.
Brendan McCormack is the Vice President of Food and beverages for the First Group Hospitality and says they have seen the growth of Dubai suburban communities and central to those communities, are community hubs. He added that they wanted the hotel to have that feel.
“I think the infrastructure of Dubai has developed enormously, and I think it now means that many of these communities that maybe a few years ago seemed like they were on the final frontier are now very easily accessible.
He added that the communities have become “very, very popular with families” and that kind of community feeling has really started across Dubai.
The city may have many famous and exclusive neighbourhoods, but suburban communities have seen exponential growth, with more and more people choosing to live within lifestyle developments.
For more, please visit the Destination Dubai hub on Euronews.com.