"It's too far away."
“There aren’t any shops.”
“You have to drive to the Marina to buy your groceries.”
“There aren’t any restaurants.”
Three years ago, it was me espousing the above sentences when asking friends why they decided to live on the Palm Jumeirah. I've previously lived in Downtown (before it was actually Downtown), I’ve lived in multiple buildings within Dubai Marina, and I’ve enjoyed the idyllic suburbia which is The Lakes. I just couldn’t fathom why anyone would choose to live in a community that had one entrance, and one exit – surely there would be perpetually snarled traffic jams that invariably occur as a result of such a ludicrous system. The ghost of the 2013/2014 NYE gridlock loomed large in my mind.
But yet, here I now live and have done so for nearly three years and it's the best community I've lived in since arriving in Dubai nearly 13 years ago. Working in real estate, Dubai is a fast-paced city for me - with early start meetings, late catch-ups and client dinners - it’s a rewarding yet taxing profession. And therein lies the lure. Working in Dubai Marina, the 'commute' comprises leaving the perpetually snarled traffic jams to join Sheikh Zayed Road, leading to a simple one-way system maintaining the steady flow of like-minded residents entering the trunk, leading to home. The commute is complete within 10 minutes, yet when standing barefoot in the sand, feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle city feel of my office in the Marina.
It’s also the perfect place to raise a family.
Originating from Birmingham (right in the centre of England), I feel incredibly lucky to live on the beach and am slightly proud of the fact I’m able to raise my seven-year old-son on the beach too.
Weekends are gloriously simplistic, a walk to any one of the restaurants or coffee shops starts the day on the hunt for brekkie and a coffee. Whether it be on the beach, at the Pointe, within Nakheel Mall, or any number of the fabulous five-star hotels, it’s a weekend morning ritual.
From there, it's normally a stroll to the pool or the beach. Again, it’s a walk, I won’t be needing the car for 48 hours when the week rolls around again, all too quickly. Lunch? Take your pick from the multitude of options of venues, outlets and budgets.
Afternoons can be spent enjoying water sports. Kayaking and paddle boats are favoured over jet skis and powered vehicles for my family; weekends are for relaxing, as we charge around all week.
Fortunate enough to live on the beach, ours becomes the easy option for my son’s friends to join and play, it’s free and removes them from the neon-lit, loud music playing gaming centres which we all must retreat to during the summer months. A beach barbeque completes the caricature image of living on the Palm, but again, it’s incredibly simplistic, unpretentious and resoundingly relaxing.
In my humble opinion, the lifestyle benefits, when considering a young family, are considerably greater living on the Palm than any other community I have lived in during the past decade-plus.
There are dedicated running tracks offering incredible vistas that will distract your mind from the gruelling exercise you are doing.
As the Palm continues to develop, so too is the social infrastructure being created to support the entertainment needs of a modern, active young family. Weekends recharge the batteries, mid-week swims and shoreline playing help alleviate day-to-day stress. Life on the Palm Jumeirah really does pay heed to the phrase 'work/life balance'.
Of course, to enjoy this community, you do need to get past the fact that it's too far away; it's isolated; there aren't any shops there; you have to drive to the Marina to buy groceries and there aren't any restaurants.
Nick Grassick is the Managing Partner at ph Real Estate Brokers, andhas been living on Palm Jumeirah for 3 years.