The dog lover who swapped Canada for exclusive Dubai Hills neighbourhood

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader’s home to have a look at what they get for their money, how much they pay in rent and asks them what they like and don’t like

Senior tax manager Husam Lutfi recently rented a one-bedroom apartment in Park Heights, Dubai Hills, with his dog, a mini Australian Shepherd called Polo.

The Syrian-Canadian, who was born in the emirate, moved back to the UAE in January after completing his master’s degree in economics in Montreal, where he also owns a home.

After staying at his parents’ house in Jumeirah Village Circle for a few months, Mr Lutfi now pays Dh75,000 ($20,419) a year for 10th-floor apartment of a newly-build 18-storey tower in Dubai’s most prime location that gives his furry friend plenty of parks to roam.

Mr Lutfi, 33, invited The National to tour the apartment and discover what makes it ideal for his lifestyle.

Tell us about your home

I live in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in Dubai Hills that comes with a parking space.

I have an open-plan kitchen and a living room that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows.

There’s also a small laundry closet and a balcony. I was the first tenant here, which was a good thing.

What made you choose to live there?

It was mostly the fact that it has a really big park right in the middle, which is good for dog walks.

I also found out that if you’re a resident in Dubai Hills, you get an access card that allows you into specific dog parks that are fenced-off so dogs can be off the leash.

That’s one of the biggest amenities and was pretty important because there are only a few areas that have that in Dubai.

It was the biggest deciding factor for Dubai Hills, given that it was more expensive than other areas in terms of apartment size.

What are the other advantages of living there?

The location – it’s relatively close to everything. The Palm or Downtown is 15 minutes away.

My apartment is also a 12 or 13 minute drive away from my office in Emaar Square.

The area itself isn’t crowded and there’s no traffic. It will probably get busier as more towers are built, but it’s a relatively prime location in Dubai at the moment.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

It does feel like a community. In the winter, there are loads of events, including ones for pets and for children.

I met a lot of people at the dog park when I first got here.

What facilities do you have?

I have gym access and my building shares a pool with another tower. There’s also a padel court, and if you’re a resident you can play for free.

There’s also a dentist, a Spinneys, a commercial gym and a clinic.

Dubai Hills Mall is one of the nicest ones in the city. In the winter, I can walk there from where I live, so it’s pretty close.

There are also loads of restaurants close by, and Dubai Hills Business Park is a 10-minute walk, and that has restaurants and cafes. It’s always busy at night.

How are you personalising your flat?

I watch a lot of TV shows and films, so I got a good 65-inch TV and a sound bar. I brought most of my books with me from Canada.

I bought modern furniture, but I still need a couple of things, mostly space for my books.

In the future, if I decide to move anywhere else, or buy an apartment, then I’ll probably furnish the place more. This is pretty full.

I don’t have the space for it, but I would’ve liked a kitchen island that separates the kitchen from the living room. I’m OK with the open space concept, but there’s no separation. They [the developers] really went for a very minimalistic design.

Do you feel this home offers value for money?

In the current climate, yes. I have a couple of friends in the area paying Dh85,000 for one bedroom.

When you check on Rera [Dubai Land Department], it should be between Dh56,000 and Dh68,000 but everything goes for Dh75,000 to Dh85,000, so I’m actually on the lower end of what they’re going for at the moment.

The area is very well serviced and there’s a lot of security around. You pay a premium, but you also get something in return.

Do you plan to stay in the property?

I like the apartment, even with the negatives.

I really like the area and don’t have to drive long distances to get to work or do anything.

It usually takes dogs a while to get used to a place, so that’s another thing that I factor in.

I’ve already moved Polo across continents, and then to my parents, and then this apartment.

So I’ll probably settle in for another couple of years. The only reason why I would move to another apartment is if I could get a bigger one.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 6:36 PM


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