A four-bedroom Garden Home on Palm Jumeirah.
Dh11.5 million (including all fixtures and most furniture), exclusively through Engel & Völkers Dubai Al Marsa office.
Villa with extensively upgraded interior and grounds. Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, living room, dining room, majlis (currently a media room), swimming pool, direct access to private beach, double garage, 465 square metres on a plot of 6,572 square-metres, in a gated community.
"The Palm offers beachfront ocean-view properties, unlike any other property in the world, with state-of-the-art amenities and facilities. A once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity. This four-bedroom villa ... offers the dream of life."
The attractively planted front garden is the first sign that the present owner/vendor has put a good deal of time, cash and care into the house - an impression confirmed the moment you step into the atrium-style hallway, where a feature wall has been clad in honey-coloured stone mosaic. The other walls (including the upstairs landing) have a subtle hand-painted finish and wooden mashrabiya have been added to the windows to filter the sunlight. The floor plan is standard for a Garden Home, and the removal of the wall that, in some of these villas, separates living and dining rooms is a major plus, resulting in a large and light-filled open-plan space. The view of the sea to the front and the swimming pool on the side seems to extend the space even farther. And what a pool - the standard little hole-in-the-ground has been replaced by a proper swimming pool that almost fills the side garden (leaving space for a gazebo at the end) and is shaded by a vast canopy. Almost-white limestone paving has been laid around the pool and across the front of the house, where a neat square of trimmed lawn is punctuated by a row of large limestone slabs. It's very simple, serene and elegant. The kitchen - usually a major drawback of these houses due to poor natural light and being completely cut off from the dining/living areas - has been made warm and welcoming, with the use of stone cladding for a feature wall, glossy white cabinets and a large island unit-cum-breakfast bar. The bathrooms - several guest bathrooms and the ensuite bathrooms attached to each of the upstairs bedrooms - score on glamour, with high quality tiling, new floors and Philippe Starck-designed fixtures. The bedrooms, too, have been upgraded with new flooring and wall coverings. Joy of joys, unlike some "improvements", everything done in this house shows good taste and an eye for quality - meaning that the buyer could move in immediately if he chooses.
The upgrades to the house are all of high quality - especially some of the bathrooms. The real X-factor, though, is the outdoor space, with the unusually large pool and very simple, graphic patch of green - all surrounded by very pale limestone paving that's almost zen in its simplicity. The villa is on a slightly larger plot than usual and, being more than halfway down its frond, is far enough away from the opposite frond to feel nicely private.
The ugly concrete block steps and retaining wall leading to the beach - but it's standard issue on the Palm and cannot be changed as they have a structural function. As with much of the Palm, a few of the nearby houses are unoccupied, meaning dead plants and dust-covered facades - although the houses opposite and one immediate neighbour are owner-occupied and the other neighbour is in the throes of an upgrade (with no discernible noise or dust when we visited).
A shade more than US$3 million or £2m will buy a lot of house in Europe or North America but if you want to live in Dubai, this house seems well priced in the present market. Without question, the high-quality upgrades make it much more attractive than a standard Garden Home and, as Palm Jumeirah matures, it is becoming an increasingly attractive place to live - all the more so in the absence of the other Palms that had been planned for Dubai. Engel & Völkers, Dubai Al Marsa, 04 325 9411, 050 291 1405, www.engelvoelkers.com/dubaialmarsa