Dubai – Always Thinking Big

There is something about the city of Dubai and its “Big Thinking” that attracts me to it. Every new structure they build outdoes the last.

The newest additions to the Dubai coastline are two man-made islands in the shape of giant Palm leaves. They also have made 300 new islands in the shape of the world. A friend who lives in Dubai told me about this project and thought it was a bit crazy, so did I.

Now several years later the islands are nearing completion:

I’m sure when The World was proposed, many people doubted its feasibility. We’ll see who has the last laugh when the hyper-rich people of the world start paying for some of the most unique real estate on the planet.

The Palm’s are equally impressive. I never would have imagined such a thing:

-See time-lapse photography of The Palm construction here.
-More info on the Palms and The World: http://www.gizmag.com/go/3310/


One of the things I want to do in my lifetime is stay with family and friends at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. To me, it represents MUCH more than a simple hotel stay.

Every time I see a picture of the Burj Al Arab, it motivates me.

Click to enlarge each Burj Al Arab picture from Dubai which can be used as desktop wallpaper:

The BurjAlArab at Night:

Just glancing at the interior pictures can make me shudder:

One day you will find me vacationing at the Burj Al Arab. Look for me, I’ll be at the spa getting a massage.
-Nev

Blog posted on: June 8, 2005

40 comments on “Dubai – Always Thinking Big

  1. pulpfaction

    My crazy best friend was dating an Egyptian that moved to Dubai. He invited us to come visit, on his dime, then they broke up and I killed her.

    Reply
  2. jim

    There is an awesome picture of Tiger Woods driving balls off that building. I don’t know if they are legit but they’re a sight to behold.

    And pulpfaction, I would’ve done the same. :)

    Reply
  3. Neville

    Jim,

    Andre Agassi and Roger Federer even played tennis on the Burj Al Arab Helipad! See here

    Here is Tiger Woods teeing off from the same helipad:
    here

    Reply
  4. BVI

    Brilliant pics. I gotta go there someday.

    PS: Nev, any way you can do away with the “Anonymous” identity option? A lot of “anonymous” people leave excellent posts here, and it’s pretty hard distinguishing Anonymous 1 from Anonymous 2.

    Reply
  5. pulpfaction

    Addressing the “anonymous” problem–Why don’t you get Haloscan or some similar commenting system on here? It’s what I use; free and really easy to set up.

    Reply
  6. Smarty

    Nice pictures. I want to go to the Burj Al Arab Hotel now.

    Look for me, I’ll be in the President’s Suite. :)

    Reply
  7. Neville

    BVI,
    I don’t really mind people leaving comments as anonymous. I’d prefer to let people have their anonominity, even if they post ridiculous comments.

    PulpFaction,
    Going on a “free” trip then ending up with the bill…especially Dubai…..oouuucch!

    Smarty,
    Presidents suite? Good luck! I tried booking their smallest room….1 year waiting list!

    JLP,
    Thanks for the kind words!

    -Nev

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Thinking of buying a villa in Dubai?
    By Samir Khosla, eDynamic LLC (samir.khosla@edynamic.net)

    In 2002 the Emirate of Dubai took the unprecedented step of giving foreigners the opportunity to purchase selected properties. While the property available for purchase was termed as “freehold”, it essentially equated to a 99 year leasehold arrangement. After a sluggish start, in the last 3 years property transactions in Dubai have increased exponentially. The Dubai property market is unique, especially since it is nascent and is not subject to the same market forces as western markets.

    Financing your property in Dubai:

    1. UAE Institutions are offering mortgages to GCC residents as well as non-residents
    2. Most institutions require between 1-3 years local salary history for residents or a 5 year’s history for overseas residents
    3. For Dubai residents the minimum down payment is 10% whereas for overseas residents the minimum down payment is 30%
    4. Typically mortgages offered are 60 times of monthly salary to a maximum of between AED 3.0 – 5.0 Million
    5. The typical debt service ratio expected is between 35- 55% of salary
    6. Terms are between 5 and 15 years for non GCC citizens
    7. Interest rates are determined based on 4.99%+DIBOR (Dubai Inter-bank) and the lowest currently (August 2005) stands at around 6.49%

    As an example, to buy a villa in Arabian Ranches where the average price for a 5 bedroom is US$600,000 – 700,000.00 the 30% down payment will be US$210,000.00 and the monthly payment will be US$ 5140.00 for 15 years

    Now consider that based on classifieds in Gulf news, to rent the same villa in Arabian Ranches for 1 year the price would be about $3700.00 – $4000.00 per month.

    Based on this limited information, we need to think about what will happen up ahead. Villa prices have increased by 22% (http://www.ameinfo.com/64650.html) vs. those of apartments which declined by 7%, rents have shot up by up to 40% (http://www.ameinfo.com/63768.html) The one caveat to using ameinfo’s information is that they rarely talk negatively about the property market. We need to use market information to assess whether a mortgage payment of $5000 + opportunity loss of $210,000, coupled with the prospect of property appreciation is a reason enough to buy in Dubai VS doing something else with this money like renting in Dubai and investing the difference at another location.

    My assessment is that villa prices are commanding a premium due to the following reasons:

    1. Limited number of villa projects have come online when compared to apartments
    2. Limited number of villa projects have moved into possession phase when compared to apartments
    3. Villa lifestyle suits the Arab socio-cultural setting of a more private lifestyle – therefore more Arabs would look at this as to-live investment rather than a to-let investment

    I also feel that villa prices may fall by Q4 05 / Q2 06 due to the following reasons:

    1. Very few villas have been brought to market when compared to apartments, in my view villas are appreciating since there are fewer to go around
    2. At least 5-6 large, villa projects are currently underway that will be hitting the market by end 2006; not to forget the Palm – on which the frond villas would start opening up by late 2006 – 2007.
    3. Arabs will not buy villas with the same fervour with which they bought apartments since a lot of apartments were bought with a to-let intention. Buying apartments to let was a feasible situation since the threshold price for a 1 bedroom is US$80,000 whereas that for a 3 BR villa is US$300,000.00 – also the to-let prices as well as purchase prices for villas would be bearable only to a minute percentage of the Million odd expatriates and other people in Dubai.

    Based on this information, I think that it’s probably the time to buy an apartment and not a villa. Further, for those people interested in villas, I think that this is a good time to rent a villa.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    With regards to mortgage financing please be aware that:
    Banks in Dubai are ridiculous when arranging mortgages. The decission process for approval is intransparent, very un-professional and completely arbitrary. Believe it or not, Moeny is NOT the deciding factor. Although one would think so because they are banks but the staff is so inexperienced. It seems they are learning (slowly) as they are trying to offer these products.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Your Blog is great. Is it possible to add RSS functionality. It would offer its content to a much broader audience.

    Reply
  11. Nubricks

    I have also been to Dubai and it is an amazing place, with so much construction going on the place is a bit of a building site. Once completed it will be an impressive place. Update to the post before Dubai property laws have chnaged and foreigners can now own property freeholds in certain areas!

    Many countries in the Middle East are taking on projects like the world in Dubai like the Pearl Qatar and the Islands in Bahrain…

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Would you really want to buy in a country where Emaar, the biggest and most respected developer operates like this???

    If considering investing in Dubai, consider how things work and ask yourself whether your cash is safer at home where you have some rights and legal protection.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I have been to Dubai. It is amazing. The World Island should be the 8th wonder in the world.

    I found this Dubai travel guide
    while browsing the net. I think it has lots of useful information.

    Reply
  14. Dubai Property

    I like Dubai very much. It is so amazing and luxurious city. There are so many impressive things – the most expensive hotels with high quality, Ski resort, the highest tower and many others.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Forgive my ignorance, but is Dubai a place where I could feel comfortable bringing my wife, or would she be relegated to some sort of second-citizen status? Before visiting another country, I would want some insurance that the female members of my family will be treated with respect and courtesy. Again, this is not intended to be inflammatory, I really am wondering! They are selling some amazing properties there.
    Jerry
    http://www.leads4insurance.com

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    The Burj is tacky. I spent the $100 to get a tour, and it lacks any form of a cohesive style. Just opulence for opulence’s sake. I guess its perfect for people that want to stay at an overpriced hotel merely to tell everyone they stayed there.

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    Their Idea of big is only money other day i heard they called a university complax of 30 acres largest in the world come on thats meager the idiots don’t even know what BIG means tell them to come to Pakistan see one mountain is bigger than whole of Dubai.

    Reply
  18. Dubai Rental Index

    Wow – Dubai is an incredible place with a lot to offer. I can’t believe how much it changed in 13 years. Thanks for all the details about Dubai

    Regards,
    Ali@ dubairentalindex.com

    Reply
  19. Wendy | Recruitment

    Wow those photo’s are stunning, can you just imagine staying in a place like that I can only just dream, that hotel is truly awesome, and those pics of Tiger teeing off the roof, wow.

    I have just stumbled upon your blog, and I just love it will be visiting again.

    Regards

    Reply
  20. Dubai Property Portal

    Yes the Dubai thinks big and unique which no one can think its the reason of its success. I Think that its the time of buying property in Dubai not of selling the rate of properties in Dubai are low for the time. Its is the time for investors and others for buying the property because the stable economic condition which is expected in future will lead to the great benefits.

    Reply
  21. Ann Julie

    I believe that people are panicking and selling their valued properties for such a low price.
    Financial crisis is slowing down and Dubai is sure to regain its old crown as the world's most valuable real estate investment.

    Reply
  22. Clara James

    Yes I agree most of the people are just getting panic and selling their properties. But what strategy a sensible investor will adopt in this situation. Well I think now the time is to predict the future in positive way, the bubble has been blasted but the question is what will be the strategy investor will use now. It is obvious that the investment in the land will not go down completely … Because some of the investors use to buy property in the recession when the prices goes down when people get panic with the intention to hold it for the long time and sell in the future when the prices will increase. . . and act of these investors give fuel to hold any business not to get out of the market … and obviously the prices will increase in the future because the people who invest for the long time will also demand for high return.

    Reply

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