Arabian Ranches: Life on the desert development

Arabian RanchesDebbie Cope with her children Jordan and Alannah (inset) in their Arabian Ranches home l Image Credit: Debbie Cope

Debbie Cope, who has lived in the UAE for 23 years, first discovered Arabian Ranches nine years ago. Having seen just three show homes, she immediately recognised the potential of the desert development and invested in a property.

With three-bedroom villas currently on the market for between Dh3 million and Dh5.5 million, and six-bedroom properties selling for as much as Dh7.5 million, Arabian Ranches has built a reputation as one of Dubai’s most desirable addresses.

Emaar Properties is currently investing in a second development phase of the area, which is due for completion in 2017. Annual rents in the district now range between Dh365,000 and Dh550,000, for a six-bedroom villa.

Cope says each separate area of Arabian Ranches has distinct advantages and at-tributes, such as the Mirador and Alvorada developments, which are popular due to their Spanish-and Portuguese-influenced architectural style, which she describes as, “the most handsome of the bunch”.

The most prestigious properties can be found in the Hattan area of the Ranches. “Hattan are the crème de la crème, spread over three floors, and the luxury villas are over 7,000 sq ft, with huge plots overlooking the Baker Finch course,” she says. Smaller, more affordable town houses are also available, with prices for two-bedroom homes starting from around Dh2.4 million.

Originally from Dublin, Cope has a property business, House Hunters Real Estate, which specialises in selling and letting homes in Arabian Ranches. With three of her children attending the local school, a large portion of her life is devoted to her desert community, 9km from the city. With on-site amenities, Arabian Ranches has a 20-shop retail area, with a Costa Coffee, Shakespeare and Co café, a supermarket, a nail salon and a hairdresser. Cope’s favourite destination is the Belgian bistro, Mathis Maison, and she points out that Motor City is only a short drive if she needs larger shops or amenities.

The unique sense of community is the main factor that Cope believes attracts people to the area. Every person coming through Arabian Ranches requires a security pass and a labour card to enter, which makes Cope comfortable letting her children play on the streets, unsupervised. With skate parks and other amenities, all within a secure, gated community as well as the fact that her children can walk to their school, Cope feels protected. She also believes that the shared facilities, such as swimming pools, make the area an ideal place for families to meet and socialise.

Cope’s neighbours are from France, New Zealand and Australia, as well as India and the Middle East. As with other parts of Dubai, the area does suffer from congestion at peak hours, but it’s located just 25 minutes from the airport and, more importantly for Cope, “just 12 minutes from the beach”.

Cope also believes that Arabian Ranches compares favourably to Dubai Marina and Shaikh Zayed Road for congestion, describing the rival areas as “car parks” during rush hour. Bus services are available every 15 minutes to Mall of the Emirates and the nearest metro stations include the Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro Station and Mall of the Emirates Metro Station.

For people new to the community who are looking to meet families and socialise, Cope recommends heading to the communal parks and swimming pools. She also suggests the Arabian Women’s Group, which meets regularly and the Emaar-organised community days, where residents are encouraged to meet once a month — events she compares to village green fairs.

The social aspect of Arabian Ranches is something Cope appreciates. With a home that is large enough to accommodate many people, she loves to entertain, describing her home as a place that “just lends itself to the making of a great party”. Last year, she hosted a preprom event for the children at Jumeirah English Speaking School, where the parents were able to continue with their own celebrations once the offspring had left. Cope cites New Year’s Eve events at the Golf Club and Friday afternoons in spring at the Polo Club as highlights in the social calendar.

While Arabian Ranches maintains a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, Cope adds that there is plenty to do and lots of programmes for social butterflies.

As with most evolving communities, Arabian Ranches isn’t perfect. Cope would like to see the addition of a dedicated on-site gym and she would also appreciate improvements to the facilities that her children use for skateboarding, such as shaded areas and bathrooms. She would also prefer more open playing fields for sport-loving residents, although she concedes that this is improbable with the current scarcity of land and the rising property prices in the area.

One of the main leisure pastimes in the community is golf and Cope’s husband, a pilot for Emirates, is a member of the Arabian Ranches Golf Club. Cope is a less enthusiastic golfer, preferring gardening, planning interior design renovations or just spending time by the pool for relaxation, although she admits that she doesn’t have too much spare time on her hands. Her life may be busy, but as she puts it, “you can’t ask for a better place to live than the Arabian Ranches”.

Source: Peter Feely, Special to Property Weekly

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