I am Scottish and have been in Dubai for six years. I used to be a teacher and image consultant. Today, being the president of the Ranches Ladies Group keeps me busy all through the week, in particular on Tuesdays.
My husband, a geophysicist, is an Arab and his family has been in Dubai since the early 1970s. On retiring, he wanted to live near his family. We considered Mirdif, but there are too many aeroplanes flying over the area. Back in 2005, we were living near the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
Emaar then released The Springs villas and we purchased one. However, I had very large furniture and the sitting room in the villa was too small to accommodate it so the villa has been rented out. Next, we took a look at the Arabian Ranches villas, which were off-plan then, and the prices seemed very reasonable. We bought two villas here — in Saheel and Savannah. The Savannah villa we currently live in has three bedrooms and cost us Dh1.1 million back then.
It's a good size for a retired couple. When you retire, you don't want too small a house since you might get on each other's nerves! We can both be in this house and still be in different sections altogether. I also have a full-time maid; I have had one for 30 years. There is a lot of work involved in maintaining these villas, especially when there is a sandstorm. We have a nice room for the maid here; she had to make do with a dark room while we were in Abu Dhabi.
The Saheel villa overlooks the park. It was a hard choice to decide which one to live in. We eventually chose to live in our Savannah villa because the shops and mosque are within walking distance. We're very happy with our investment in the Ranches because rents have held steady.
We paid in cash for all our investments. The process was not a big hassle, but it did take a long time. We've also purchased an apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers for our daughter, who works at the Burj Al Arab.
For families who are looking to move into a new home, I'd suggest that they rather opt for an established community like Arabian Ranches. Here, you can be sure that no one else will build around your home.
I wasn't particularly fussy about living in a gated community. We were looking for a villa at a reasonable price in a very pleasant area. Everybody thought the Ranches was a bit far off. Once they built the Ranches/Motor City flyover and doubled the size of Emirates Road, the traffic situation improved considerably.
Life in the Ranches is very pleasant. Almost my whole social life is in the Ranches. The Arabian Ranches Golf Club serves as a social meeting point. We go for walks every morning and my husband plans to take up golf again. The only problem could be driving around as we get older. We might hire a driver in a few years' time. The bus to the Mall of the Emirates stops right outside the Savannah gate and it links us to the Dubai Metro.