Reem Island: Island lifestyle with a cosmopolitan flair

Al Reem Island Community, Abu DhabiFelicia Corral, a facility administrator and actor, lives in a studio flat with her dog, Kaoru l Photo: Mark Agtay

The natural island used to be bare, deserted, with nary a single structure in sight. Then came the construction cranes, and the place began to hum with activity. Today, gleaming glass towers emerge from the desert, dramatically changing the skyline and the landscape forever.

Reem Island in Abu Dhabi is an interesting mix of residential and commercial developments in an urban setting that boasts a waterfront lifestyle and lush sceneries. A fast-growing community, it is currently one of the hottest residential destinations mostly for expats, some of whom were prompted to move to the island to get closer to work like Felicia Corral, who lives in a studio apartment.

The facility administrator works for property management firm Sweett Group, which manages Beach Towers, a two-tower project in the Shams District, and one of a multitude of tower developments spread across a massive space of more than 6.5 million square meters.

So how does the Resuscitation Theatre actor find island living after seven years of calling the main city home? “I am quite happy with Reem Island because of its convenient location to where I work. I am delighted with its minimalist aesthetics and structure, and I like how peaceful and quiet it is compared to the business of the city. Beach Towers, with its unique design and space, is considered to be the most ‘at home’ residence on Reem Island.”

Reem Island, which neighbors the financial district of Al Maryah Island, attracts residents because, although it is just a five-minute drive from the capital’s commercial zone, it is somewhat cushioned from “old Abu Dhabi’s” characteristic bustling chaos. Here, it is a different world altogether, once you get past the bridge. Its world-class facilities also serve as magnets for homeowners and tenants. Citing some pluses of living on Reem Island, Felicia says, “I find it a necessity for residential areas to provide recreational centers for its inhabitants. Such services are not widely available in various areas in the city, but which you can find here. The location of the island is also just the right distance to the city.”

Retail shops, healthcare facilities, salons, fitness centers, schools, play areas, parks, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets that are slowly filling up its corners have started to transform the neighborhood into a vibrant residential node with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. For other shopping and dining options, residents always have the choice of hopping to nearby Al Maryah Island’s The Galleria, which Felicia does, often finding herself gravitating towards Magnolia Bakery, a New York-based bakery. “I tend to have cravings for chocolate cake, and Magnolia, for me, has the best one out there,” she avers.

Reem Island is one of the few Abu Dhabi locales where pets are allowed, a godsend for Felicia who has a five-year- old Labrador named Kaoru. She says, “I have a very spoiled dog and she seems to be enjoying the neighborhood, where we can have our long walks and breezy runs, as much as I do.”

Further expounding on the merits of Reem Island living, she describes the locality as ambitious as “it already boasts a great high-end neighboring hospital Cleveland Clinic, awesome malls and beautiful architecture, and recently became the permanent residence of Paris Sorbonne University. It will expand with areas that will host a variety of activities and services that cater to its residents.”

And the one thing that she is pining for now? “I would like to see the beach with its stretch of mangroves restored and reopened for the public sooner than later, because I enjoy the seaside atmosphere.”

• Highly accessible to the city
• Self-contained community with many facilities and amenities
• Pet-friendly neighborhood
• Generally quiet and peaceful

• Ongoing construction
• Inactive traffic signals
• Closed beach

Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Freehold
The writer is a freelancer

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