x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

An exclusive look inside Saadiyat Beach Villas

The cultural island's first residential development offers luxury living in an unrivaled setting.

Formal lounges in the premium models are significanly larger than those in the two- and three-bedroom ones.
Formal lounges in the premium models are significanly larger than those in the two- and three-bedroom ones.

Property

Saadiyat Beach Villas, Saadiyat Island's first residential community, developed by the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), features 344 high-end luxury villas in a gated landscaped development overlooking the immaculate greens of the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. The completed development will be ready for handover this year, but 10 fully furnished show homes - replicas of those that will make up the community - are ready for viewing now.

The villas can be owned on a freehold basis for Emiratis; foreigners can purchase a 99-year leasehold. The complex is a 10-minute drive from Abu Dhabi's Corniche, with the adjacent Sheikh Khalifa Expressway providing direct access to Yas Island and Sheikh Zayed Road beyond.

Price

Current guide price is from Dh6.5 million to Dh39m, depending on the size and style. Rentals will depend on availability.

Key features

The properties are available in three models: Arabian, Contemporary and Mediterranean, in sizes ranging from three to six bedrooms (3,950 square feet to 14,994 square feet).

All the villas boast premium architectural design, with interior details that reflect each property's individual style. The Arabian model, for instance, features carved arches, terrace colonnades and intricate mosaic features on some floors and walls.

Each theme is continued within the gardens, with planting schemes, hard landscaping and features that reflect the property's architectural style. Swimming pools are available in some of the larger models.

On completion, the development will feature communal parks, swimming pools and terraces, play areas, gym facilities, basketball and squash courts. There are also plans to build schools nearby. The development is adjacent to the beach, golf club and museum, with the facilities and amenities of each within easy reach.

They say

"Global standard master planning, cutting-edge design, modern facilities and inspiring natural beauty combine to make this the Gulf's ultimate luxury residential destination."

We say

An impressive inaugural development for the island. These low-rise, low-density homes, designed by the US architects JZMK, will provide premium accommodation in an unrivalled island setting.

The detached villas are built on either side of a single, tree-lined private road, each fronted by neat landscaped gardens and covered parking. Where the first stretch of properties ends, the road continues to a pretty landscaped park area with a lake and, beyond that, the museum and gallery complex, Manarat al Saadiyat.

Inside each property, you are welcomed into a suitably grand, double-height entrance hall, with a wide corridor/walkway that leads directly to floor-to-ceiling doors at the rear of the house, which allow natural light to flood through the property.

The size of the formal lounges in the two- and three-bedroom properties we saw are generally smaller than those in more traditional villas. While still very generous, they succeed in giving the properties a warmer, more homely feel. In addition, the reduced floor space of the individual rooms means the villas can offer a greater number of rooms and options on how to utilise the living space.

In the premium properties, the rooms are significantly larger, as you would expect. The formal dining room in the premium six-bedroom model, for example, could easily accommodate a dining party of 12 people. A second dining area, part of the open-plan kitchen area at the rear, offers a spacious, more casual area to entertain or relax with family.

The kitchens in all the properties are equipped with high-end appliances and top-quality finishes, with contemporary hardwood cabinets and granite worktops in the Arabian and Mediterranean types, and polished basalt stone worktops in the Contemporary model.

Overall, the striking design of the Contemporary villas impressed us most, displaying a successful marriage of traditional Arabian elements and sharp, sleek modern architectural features such as multi-levelled flat roofs, geometric windows, stainless steel balcony railings and generous roof decks. The Arabian and Mediterranean models, while more traditional in their architectural style, retain a modern edge. The covered terraces and classical-style pools of the larger models underline the sense of true palatial living.

Pluses

The location. The beach is within easy reach and Saadiyat Island will soon be home to a clutch of luxury waterfront hotels, including the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Monte-Carlo Beach Club and the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi (due to open this year), so in terms of lifestyle quality, the location is unrivalled. Looking forward, the area will include the Saadiyat Beach Marina Village and the island's extensive cultural district, which contains the excellent Fanr restaurant.

Minuses

Proximity to ongoing construction may mean some noise and dust pollution, but where isn't that a problem in Abu Dhabi? By the time of handover, the worst of this should be over.