Helen is head of prime sales and leasing in Dubai. She has been in the Dubai property market since arriving in 2004.
What kind of lifestyle does Dubai offer?
Dubai is a melting pot of nationalities – there are people here from all over the world, with more than 120,000 British residents out of a population of 3.5 million. The big draw for many of those working here is that there’s no income or capital gains tax. And they’re attracting the top talents in all sorts of industries: Dubai wants the best of the best. The lifestyle here is unparalleled. It’s always sunny – it’s either very warm or very hot. We have lots of outdoor activities: watersports, field sports, golf, sky-diving. And it’s a playground for children, with excellent football, rugby and tennis academies. Sporting events are some of the biggest in the world here: I love polo, and we have the Silver and Gold Cup tournaments in February and March. We will also see a lot of tourists using Dubai as a hub for the Qatar World Cup in November and December. Dubai has about 1,000km of beaches – the best stretch is close to the Palm Jumeirah. And Abu Dhabi, with its wonderful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and the wadis and mountains of Ras Al Khaimah are easily accessible too.
Which are the coolest bars and restaurants right now?
For traditional food, Logma at Boxpark serves excellent Khaleeji cuisine, which is local to the region: the chebab pancakes and khameer with date syrup and cheese are delicious. Licensed restaurants have to be part of a hotel. Bagatelle at the Fairmont is a great French-style party place – the escargots are amazing – with live music and dancing. Coya at the Four Seasons does tasty Peruvian plates and has a buzzy atmosphere. And Hutong in the Dubai International Financial Centre serves wonderful dim sum.
What’s the appeal of Dubai for international buyers?
Dubai has changed so much over the years – and it’s still evolving. Ten years ago people would come here for a job, earn a bit of money, then go home again. But now they’re looking at it longer-term. The visas available reflect that: they’re no longer just attached to employment. They’ve extended visitors’ visas and introduced freelancing and retirement visas. People want to stay. The education system is high-quality. You’ve got Repton School, GEMS Wellington International School and North London Collegiate School Dubai – and most good schools do the International Baccalaureate. Dubai airport is the busiest international hub in the world, with direct flights from cities such as New York, LA, London and Paris. And flights to Rio de Janeiro are resuming in November.
Which are the best places to live?
So much has happened in the real-estate market in the past 20 years. Foreign ownership is permitted in areas designated as “freehold”; in others, you can only buy if you’re a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) national – from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the UAE. It’s very family-orientated here: international clients favour Palm Jumeirah, which has a mixture of apartments and villas, Dubai Marina and Downtown. For villa life and outside space, Arabian Ranches – an upscale gated community – Emirates Living and Dubai Hills all have their own golf courses. Dubai is such a unique destination, with the brightest of outlooks. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
HELEN TATHAM, HEAD OF PRIME RESIDENTIAL, SAVILLS DUBAI
firstname.lastname@example.org +971 5650 63822
Pictures from top: the Palm island panorama with Dubai marina in the background (Getty); Helen Tatham, and the Burj Al Arab (Unsplash); the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (Alamy); Downtown Dubai (Getty); the skyline at sunset (Getty); a waterway in the Madinat Jumeirah souk (Alamy)