Apart from securing your new job, getting your accommodation satisfactorily sorted out is probably the most crucial factor in making your move to the UAE a success.
Apartments in the UAE are generally quite spacious, with everything from studios to seven bedrooms available.
Master bedrooms in new builds often come with an en-suite bathroom, walk-in wardrobe and lounge space. Newer apartments usually have central air conditioning, while older buildings can have noisier air-conditioning units built into the walls. Some are linked up to district cooling, a system where all buildings in an area receive cold water from a central cooling plant. In this scenario, residents sign an agreement with the cooling company and pay monthly instalments. In winter, you won’t need air conditioning much, so make sure it’s possible to turn it off. Chilled water costs can creep up in the hotter months too.
When you first arrive in the UAE for work, usually your employer will have arranged accommodation for you for a week or more. If you find that you need more time to search for a home, then you may want to consider staying in a cheap hotel once you move out of the digs your company has paid for.
Aside from the fancy hotels the UAE is famed for, there are plenty of budget options where visitors can rest their heads. In Dubai, Al Barsha is home to a number of decent, less spectacular but well-priced hotels, while in Bur Dubai and Deira you’ll find a number of places that offer good facilities and a central location. In Abu Dhabi, cheap hotels in areas such as Al Salam Street cost under Dhs.250 a night.
Guest houses are becoming more popular and, while smaller in size, they offer a homely feel and are ideal for guests who want to see more of the ‘real UAE’. Located in residential areas, they won’t have access to private beaches, but there is no shortage of good public beaches to enjoy.
Hotel apartments are expensive, but ideal if you need temporary, furnished accommodation. They can be rented on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis, and water and electricity are also included in the rent.
The villa lifestyle doesn’t come cheap, and smart villas are snapped up pretty quickly.
The good news is that if you look hard enough and use the grapevine, you might find the perfect villa that won’t break the budget. Depending on the location, size and age of the property, it may be cheaper than some apartments, even if air-conditioning costs will be higher. In Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is a popular area for villas, as are Al Bateen and Mohammed Bin Zayed City, while Arabian Ranches, Al Barsha South, The Meadows and Springs in Emirates Living, and Jumeirah are established communities in which to start your search in Dubai.
Villas differ greatly in quality and facilities. Independent ones often have bigger gardens, while compound villas are usually newer and most have shared facilities like a pool or gym.