Sharing 'bed spaces' in high places

Concept of 'bed spaces' goes upmarket with New Dubai residents looking to save costs

  • Sharing in high places
    Image Credit: Supplied
  • Sharing in high places
    Partitioned room in Jumeirah.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Sharing in high places
    Horizon tower in Dubai Marina.Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Gone are the days when sharing was reserved only for the labour and lower-middle classes in areas such as Deira, Karama and Bur Dubai. Today's breed of expats wants the high-life at lowered prices.

Iain S., a Scottish expat who has lived in Dubai for the past three years, admits to never having lived in his own apartment in Dubai. "When I landed, like most newcomers, I was told to move to International City. However, a month into being here and I realised that for a similar rent I could move to an upmarket area such as New Dubai and live in a building with a pool, gym and sauna. Plus, I got the address that made me sound like I'd made my mark here."
The past three years have seen Iain move from The Greens to Tecom, Palm Jumeirah and now Shaikh Zayed Road near Burj Khalifa. "I'll be honest, nowhere else in the world can I tell people I'm living on the 49th floor of a prestigious high-rise, in a building with its own gym and pool, with a view of Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountains from my bedroom window, all for a paltry Dh3,000 a month. So yeah, I have to share the kitchen and living room with two other guys, but that's a small price to pay for what I get instead."

A quick online search proves that on a randomly chosen day of the week there were approximately 1,000 ads for sharing accommodation in areas of New Dubai and Jumeirah. Compare that to a few years ago when most expats shied away from the idea of having to share.

The city has come a long way.

Alejandro L., a Mexican who shares a four-bedroom penthouse in Dubai Marina with three other Western expats, says he could never in his life have imagined living in a penthouse. "I can't believe I used to laugh off the idea of sharing. Back then I used to think it was something only my maid did. Today I see the sense behind the decision to share your space."

For David R., a British expat who shares a three-bedroom on Shoreline Apartments in Palm Jumeirah with two other friends, life couldn't be any better. "For Dh5,000 a month, I get to live on Palm Jumeirah. What else do I need to say? Of course I'm happy to share a living room with a couple of other people. I'll never understand why some people choose to spend similar amounts of money to live in areas such as Bur Dubai and Satwa. I can only guess different neighbourhoods appeal to different communities."

A neighbourhood that certainly appeals to many Western expats is Dubai Marina. The Horizon Tower in Dubai Marina, at the doorstep of the JLT/Marina Metro station, is an expat-sharing hotspot. An online property search for sharing accommodation in Dubai Marina reveals an unbelievable number of postings for shared rooms and bed spaces in Horizon Tower. Marque A., a French expat, spent the first nine months of his stint in the popular tower. "For Dh3,500 a month for a furnished room inclusive of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), internet and access to a swimming pool, it was an obvious choice of residence. I work in JLT just across the road and would walk to the office every day."

Share your views

  • RF

    Oct 13, 2011 3:14

    When will the situation change in Abu Dhabi??????????

  • Felix

    Oct 13, 2011 2:25

    Dubai came up with a rule that sharing is illegal. Now half of Dubai is empty as several expats have left, as published in the article. Where are we heading?

  • Erma

    Oct 13, 2011 2:09

    For some, it's better to share with others and I am really amazed by what David R. said that he will never understand "why some people chose to spend similar amount of money to live in Bur Dubai and Satwa and he can only guess different neighborhoods appeal to different communities." Let me share some points as I speak on behalf of expatriates who didn't come from rich countries. They are trying to make a living according to their status since they are not earning so much. They have to "fit in" theirt requirements according to their budgets. We have come to the UAE just for work and nothing else. On the other hand, it's also hard for people like us to share since privacy is of prime concern. But still, it's their choice....

  • Kamal

    Oct 13, 2011 1:15

    "I don't understand why people live in areas like Bur Dubai and Satwa"! What a statement! Lol. I and a few of my friends all make over a million dirhams a year... we don't need to share apartments and still love living in Bur Dubai. And yeah, we don't need to share our house -- like he does to pretend one has made it. I guess I understand his mindset is what keeps him in his position. A more open mind would fare him better and make him more successful.

  • Naresh Kumar Devra

    Oct 13, 2011 12:39

    People with low income lived in bed-spaces 'coz they can't afford studios and at the same time they have to save money to support their family. However, now this trend is used by people who get high income so that they can enjoy the luxury of high living at a very low price.

  • Ali

    Oct 13, 2011 11:24

    Expatriates are forced share rooms or flat with others because most of them earn very little. With less income and high rents, how is it possible to take a whole villa or a flat? Sharing accommodations then becomes a necessity. Recently, Nakheel fined two people living in a studio flat because they had put a third bed in the room. According to the developer, only two beds were allowed. Is this just? Nakheel seems to be unaware of the concept of guests. How is it that our relatives and guests are not allowed to stay with us even for five minutes? And in case we do, Nakheel fines us? If Nakheel can provide us with low cost rooms, then it’s fine. But how can we afford to stay in a flat by paying Dh40,000 per year when we earn only Dh1,200 per month. Please provide us low cost rentals and then we can stay as per the developers wishes.

  • Joy

    Oct 13, 2011 11:13

    Most of the expats who are living in Deira, Satwa or those whom you have called "laborers, lower middle-class, etc" hardly earn Dh4,000/ month. So how on earth could we possibly have the same lifestyle as described above? None of the expats here deserve to be criticized. We are here to work and earn money for our family and loved ones... If only all of us are treated well and equally regardless of our nationalities, then I guess we may all live a better life wherever we are...

  • leslie john

    Oct 13, 2011 10:35

    But I thought it was technically illegal to share living quarters?

  • Tanu Sharma

    Oct 13, 2011 10:28

    I am doing a white collar job since 6yrs and I have been seeing people living in bed spaces ever since. In Dubai bed spaces are not for labourers or middle class people alone but for everyone without families... Living in bed spaces help in making good friends and also supports our pockets.

  • Maria

    Oct 13, 2011 9:23

    Oh where is this partitioned room in Jumeirah? I want the dog in the photo!

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When will the situation change in Abu Dhabi??????????


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