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We met at the foot of the Burj Al Arab. He greeted me with a firm handshake and friendly hello and off we went to explore Dubai in my car. As the seven-star hotel began to shrink in the rear-view mirror, the chit-chat went full swing.
I was talking about the day's proceedings and the properties I would be showing him when he interrupted: ''I've heard of this place that is lavish and exclusive. I hear it's home to some of Dubai's and the world's finest individuals. The properties are of extreme size and nothing else quite compares.''
I immediately knew only one place could fit the bill, but as I started to speak, he jumped in with excitement and almost shouted: ''Emirates Hills!''
He was right and the follow-up questions were to be expected: ''Why is this held in such high regard, what is its true appeal and what does it offer that makes many other developments superfluous?''
My response was simple: ''Let me take you there.''
Such is the phenomenal reputation this idyllic community holds. Launched in 2002 by the capable and visionary developer Emaar, the property gave wealthy buyers a chance to acquire large freehold plots and build their dream homes in this evergrowing and incredible city.
With the announcement of the development of the Montgomerie golf course, which was to be situated at the heart of Emirates Hills, and as few as 630 plots appointed to the development in its entirety, there was enormous demand and plots were sold at an extremely fast pace.
Emaar retained some plots to build an array of villas and small three-bedroom mansionettes that line the golf course boundary, offering a bolthole for those who didn't require a larger home. Buyers eagerly consulted architects to design their homes in what would be a community of masterpieces. With diverse buyers, including Indians, Arabs and Europeans, the community features a mix of different designs and concepts from around the world.
Plot sizes started at a generous 15,000 sq ft and rising to some 50,000 sq ft.
While there are a multitude of different views, the premium lies within those casting views over the famous 18-hole Montgomerie golf course, opened in October 2002 and designed in a collaboration between Colin Montgomerie and Desmond Muirhead.
This 200-acre oasis offers various modern golf facilities, while the 21-room Address Hotel caters to high expectations with its two restaurants, health club and conference room facilities. For families living in Emirates Hills, the quiet, safe and secure community offers an amalgamation of parks, lakes and various walkways, providing a soothing and active family oriented environment.
Two neighbouring schools are within a stone's throw of the community. Dubai International Academy, which opened in September 2005, is home to 78 nationalities and offers various educational programmes. Dubai British School has 1,100 students aged 3-18 and has an international curriculum.
With immediate access to Shaikh Zayed Road paving the way to key locations such as the Dubai International Airport, Dubai International Financial Centre and neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi, Emirates Hills has a central location that offers easy travel to different destinations. The community is also strategically located close to the World Expo 2020 site and Dubai World Central.
Having propelled out of the doldrums of the 2008-09 financial crisis, where the average house price was Dh1,925 per sq ft according to Knight Frank figures, Emirates Hills has seen a gradual rise over the years to its highest average selling price of Dh2,825 per sq ft.
The current villa asking prices of approximately Dh25 million to an astonishing Dh120 million for a prime location has reinforced the community's reputation as the home of the super wealthy and elite. Transactions are few and far between, with only around 17 in the past 12 months, making the community one of the few in Dubai where property rarely changes ownership.
So was my response sufficient? Having guided this gentleman through the diverse properties on our portfolio, the simple answer was yes.
Pointing out the unique elements that make Emirates Hills special, from the glorious views of the Dubai Marina skyline and the vast dimensions of the rooms to the private ballrooms and everything in between, seeing the community itself offers what a thousand words could not describe.
As we took our last journey through the tree lined roads with the smiling groundskeepers and casual dog walkers enjoying the sunset over the sparkling lakes, I knew that this extraordinary development has lured another resident with its charms.
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Source: Gregory Lewis, Special to Property Weekly
The writer is Senior Negotiator at Knight Frank Dubai. He has more than 14 years of experience in the property sector