A penthouse apartment in Marina Heights offers a luxurous, urban setting.
Property insider: Dubai Marina
Property: A five-bedroom, 506-square-metre penthouse apartment for sale in Dubai Marina.
Key features: Prime waterfront location with panoramic views; two balconies; very large open-plan living-dining room; hardwood floors; large, fully fitted kitchen with casual dining area; separate utility room and maid's room; all bedrooms en-suite, with a walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom; well-equipped communal gym and open-air swimming pool; business centre; concierge and laundry services; 24-hour security and maintenance; three secure car parking spaces.
They say: The kind of home you've only dreamt about. Panoramic views, space and luxury. This penthouse listed exclusively with Better Homes is in the heart of Dubai Marina Walk and offers homeowners an exclusive lifestyle of grandeur and style. Enter this penthouse into wide open living spaces, with stunning wooden floors. A huge lounge area perfect for entertaining …
We say: Huge is right. Not only the vast and airy L-shaped living-dining area but also all of the apartment's rooms - an effect emphasised by the sweeping views through the floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. Nevertheless, the space doesn't feel overwhelmingly huge and, as a result, is warm and inviting rather than cold and lacking in intimacy. Perhaps that's because of the rich colour of the hardwood flooring; perhaps because the relationship between ceiling height and floor space feels comfortable.
The living-dining area is completely walled in glass on two sides, so it's flooded with light, and opens on to a good-sized corner balcony that overlooks both the marina and Emirates Golf Club and Sheikh Zayed Road (the latter at sufficient distance to eliminate almost all noise, while providing a captivating spectacle).
The kitchen is heaven for a cook who also likes to entertain with casual kitchen suppers: it has a very large island unit, endless cupboards, miles of counter top - and there's a slightly raised area for casual dining (which the present owners use as a lounging area for watching television).
The fifth bedroom has been converted to create a studio flat, with its own kitchenette - making a great maid's room or perhaps "granny flat".
The flat divides very well into "public" areas for entertaining and private, family areas, separated by a wide hallway-cum-gallery. Despite being so large, it is not overwhelming and would lend itself equally well to a grand and somewhat formal lifestyle or something more relaxed and informal (in the style of the present owner-occupiers). A considerable amount has been spent on upgrading the apartment (the bathrooms are especially good) and, during the time they have lived there, the present owners have ironed out many of the kinks that inevitably come with new buildings (including complete replacement of an area of flooring damaged by a water leak at the time of our visit). The gym and pool have become a real focal point for the building's residents.
The central hallway has no natural light and, even painted white, feels a bit dead (it needs a good art collection to bring it to life). The dark wood of all the built-in wardrobes also has a deadening effect - and competes with the beautiful hardwood flooring - but they would be easy to change. The kitchen has been opened up to the more formal dining area, which may not suit everyone, especially as there is a casual dining area in the (enormous) kitchen.
As one of the early wave of Dubai Marina's towers to be built, Marina Heights was finished to a better standard than many later buildings (which often seem to be about finding shortcuts to make the most profit in the shortest time). That, the care the owner-occupiers have taken over maintenance and the improvements they have made (attention to detail includes immaculate paintwork) all add value. The apartment has a glamorous, contemporary New York feeling - so if you have the budget and that's your style, you could do a lot worse.
Better Homes, Dubai Marina, 600 52 2212; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bhomes.com