Two-bedroom flat in La Riviera Tower, Dubai Marina, rented in June 2009.
Dh87,000 per annum, plus a one-time refundable deposit of Dh5,000 and agency commission of Dh4,000.
Third-floor apartment; open-plan living/dining room; hatch opening to kitchen; two ensuite bedrooms; balcony; Sheikh Zayed Road/Jumeirah Lakes Towers view; walking distance to Dubai Marina Mall and The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residences; one underground parking space.
From 2007-2008, the high rental prices in Dubai meant that a studio in Discovery Gardens was all I could afford. But towards the end of 2008, as the tenancy contract drew to a close, I rescued two dogs and, together with the cat I had rescued the year before, the one room had became unmanageable. With rental prices falling during 2009, I began my search for a larger apartment at the same end of town - an important factor given that I commute daily to Abu Dhabi.
I liked Discovery Gardens, with its green, open spaces, but there were few amenities nearby and getting in and out of Dubai at rush hour took far too long. At that time, Jumeirah Lakes Towers was still a building site and Jumeirah Beach Residences was ruled out because of its strict no pet policy. That left Dubai Marina.
On first viewing of the flat I knew I wanted to live there. Aside from being an impressive-looking building, the apartment's third-floor location, above a level of storage rooms, meant I did not have to worry about the animals making too much noise for any neighbours below.
After a year of studio living, moving to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, open-plan space felt like moving into a mansion. The fact that Dubai Marina Mall, and more importantly Waitrose, was just a two-minute walk away was also such a relief, because I had spent most of the previous year driving to Ibn Battuta Mall every time I needed to get phone credit or water.
Having the extra room brought with it the need for extra furniture. With a trip to Pinky's and Lucky's furniture warehouses in Sharjah, I acquired a television cabinet, coffee table and desk. I had already invested in a few bits and bobs from Marina and The One, so it was nice to have the room to finally spread it out. I was also finally able to collect my bubble chair, which I'd been forced to leave with a friend while I was living in the studio. The cat quickly claimed it as his own.
Location, location, location. The apartment is within walking distance of the clubs and restaurants located in both the Marina and JBR, with a wide range of venues to choose from, from the cheap and cheerful to the very expensive.
There is a sizeable gym on the top floor and the roof is also a major draw, with views across to the Marina and past JBR to the beach and the sea. There is also a large outdoor pool that goes right to the edge of the roof, which makes for a very scenic dip.
Not a lot. One annoyance is that when people living above flick their cigarette butts off their balcony they tend to land on mine - a sheet drying on the balcony ended up with a burnt hole.
Having lived in a few different areas of Dubai, this is by far the most pleasant location. The Marina has allowed me a great standard of living in Dubai - for me and my animals - and is ideal for the Abu Dhabi commute.