A villa or an apartment?

Villas with a garden and a pool, such as this Polo Home in the Arabian Ranches, work well for families / Image Credit: SuppliedVillas with a garden and a pool, such as this Polo Home in the Arabian Ranches, work well for families / Image Credit: Supplied

It used to be the received wisdom that villas were for families and apartments for couples or young, single people. However, with the influx of expats and their families from around the world, combined with Dubai’s development over recent years, that’s no longer the case. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of villas and apartments so you can find out what’s best for you.

Dubai is blessed with a wide range of high-end developments, from seafront villas to sophisticated urban apartments, and all offer a superior standard of accommodation. Walk-in closets, home cinemas, private Jacuzzis and personal gyms are de rigueur for today’s successful professionals searching for their dream home.

Let’s look at two examples of luxury property, both around the Dh24-million mark. One is a 7,965-sq-ft apartment with four bedrooms and five bathrooms in Dubai Marina; the other is a detached 10,226-sq-ft villa with five bedrooms and five bathrooms in Arabian Ranches. Both are beautiful homes, designed to express the epitome of opulent living to which so many of us aspire; both are fitted with high-end, high-spec equipment and facilities; and both offer an unrivalled quality of life. But how do you choose between them?


One of the major factors that will influence your decision is your lifestyle. If you have children, you might need some outside space to enable them to burn their endless energy, so a villa with a garden and even its own pool could be a priority. If you’re a young, professional couple who enjoy the sophistication of city living and all the benefits it brings, you might opt for an apartment close to restaurants and leisure facilities.


Your choices could depend on where you work. If you work in Downtown Dubai or Dubai Marina, your choice of accommodation could be limited to apartments rather than villas. If you don’t mind the drive or work further out of town, you’ll have a greater choice in terms of villas. If it’s seaside living you’re after, there’s a great range of apartments and villas in locations such as The Palm, for example, from which to choose from.

If you have school-age children, you’ll also have to take into account where your preferred schools are located. Some people will take advantage of a school bus service, while others choose to do the drop-off and pickup themselves. In either event, many parents opt to live as near to school as possible.


Today’s modern, luxury apartments will have high standards of sound insulation to prevent disturbance from neighbours above, below or next door. However, there are bound to be times when loud noises intrude, which is a consideration you’ll have to factor in if you’re in the market for an apartment.

Villas, on the other hand, benefit from the freedom from noisy neighbours in most circumstances.

If privacy is paramount for you, it has to be villa living. Swing into your private drive, close the gates and relax, safe and secure in the knowledge that no one will bother you unless invited. Apartment complexes, conversely, maintain a communal vibe, with common entrances and shared areas. While some might see this as a downside, it’s actually a bonus in terms of security.


Lush, green lawns and carefully tended flower beds might appeal, but unless you’re a keen gardener, your villa garden will need a surprising amount of upkeep and maintenance, which will come at a price. You’ll also have to arrange a regular swimming pool maintenance contract to avoid the dreaded green algae from taking over. Apartments have shared gardens and pools, which are tended and paid for out of maintenance fees. In addition, most luxury apartment complexes have leisure facilities such as gyms, the cost of which is included in the fees.

The view

The view can make or break a sale, so before you commit, take a moment to consider what’s outside the window and whether you’d be happy to see that every day. Views from the higher floors of an apartment block can be spectacular, but if you’re vertiginous or prefer dappled sunshine through the leaves of trees, then you’re better off in a villa.

Source: Gregory Lewis, Special to Property Weekly


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