No, this isn’t a picture of a luxury holiday home on the island of Bali but the first – and possibly only – villas to be built in Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island.
Nalaya, a gated development of 42 villas for rent on the furthest southern tip of Reem Island, is about to come to the market after final water connections were completed last week.
The estate in Najmat Abu Dhabi, built by master developer Reem Developers, comprises 10 three-bedroom villas, 20 four-bedroom villas and 12 five-bedroom villas, all of which have access to a private beach and many of which overlook the sparkling waters of the Arabian Sea as well as natural mangroves.
But, with rents ranging between a staggering Dh330,000 and Dh450,000 a year, this Balinese vision doesn’t come cheap.
The largest villas, spread over 4,050 square feet, include a two-storey Balinese-style internal courtyard which tenants can fill with shrubs and trees and which is visible throughout the large open villa.
Continuing the theme, the villas, which all have direct beach access and sea views, include a large balcony, private outdoor patio and garden as well as the usual features of en suite bathrooms, built in cupboards, large kitchens and a maid’s room.
“To date we have had a lot of interest in Nalaya because these are the only leasable villas to be built on Reem Island and we do not expect there to be any more built in the near future,” says Jamie Lamb, business development manager at Reem Investments.
The estate, which is managed by First Gulf Properties, is one of the first completed parts of the entire 650-hectare Najmat master plan which is set to also include a marina, two schools, a hospital, shops and offices – most of which remain currently in the planning stage only.
A clubhouse including a gym, swimming pools, games room and function room is already up and running, ready to be used by the first tenants. However, a planned nearby park does not look like it will be completed any time soon.
Lucy Barnard looks closer at the Abu Dhabi property market:
Why are the rents so expensive?
There is a shortage of villas in Abu Dhabi, meaning that developers can charge high rents for new villa developments. As the only villa development on Reem Island, Reem Developers is setting its rents not far below the most expensive in Abu Dhabi, which are currently located on Saadiyat Island.
What about rents in Abu Dhabi in general?
Property brokers report that rents in the city on average are falling because of the slump in the global oil price, which has led to a number of major job cuts in the city. According to the latest report from Cluttons, brokers expect rents in Abu Dhabi to fall by an average of between 5 and 7 per cent before the end of the year.
Why isn’t my rent falling?
Landlords for existing tenants are often seen to be increasing rates despite the news of rent falls. This is often because they realise that the costs and hassle of moving house are enough to put many people off.
What does Nalaya mean?
The name Nalaya is a combination of the two Arabic words; “Nahla” Arabic for a water source and “Aya”, meaning both masterpiece and abundant.