Palm Tower Dubai
Pick a spot. Across Dubai, December is proving a record month for holiday homes. Landlords and holiday home companies have reasons to cheer this New Year, Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Holiday-home owners in Dubai are reeling it in this New Year weekend, with rates at some of the signature villas on the Palm fetching Dh50,000 and more for a day. And it is not just the Palm alone feeling the buzz from the demand for short stays in the city, with visitors willing to pay a stiff premium for a property of their choice.

“Rates across the board are expected to go by 2 or 2.5x a night during the last days of 2021,” said Firas Al Msaddi, CEO of fam Living, which is into holiday home leasing and management. “There are some very high-end villas located towards the end of the fronds that go up to Dh100,000 for a weekend in December on the Palm.

“Standard garden villas are fetching Dh6,000-Dh8,000 a night, while signature villas command between Dh10,000-Dh15,000.”

Top holiday home/short-stay locations in Dubai
* Bluewaters Island: Midsize units are from Dh1,700-Dh2,000 a night.

* City Walk: The standard apartments fetch Dh1,500-Dh2,000. The location is experiencing high demand "as it offers the largest apartments in Dubai located between Jumeirah and Downtown," says Firas Al Msaddi.

* Downtown Dubai: The average unit would be in the Dh800-Dh1,500 per night range.

* JBR: Midsize units command Dh1,400-Dh1,800 per night. "It attracts the younger ones due to the lifestyle and accessibility it offers as well as the affordable rates," said Al Msaddi.

* Then there are the holiday homes on the Palm, which is a different eco-system altogether.

"During the NY weekend, multiply the rates by 2-2.5 times and you will come up with the prevailing asking rates," said Al Msaddi.

Not a dent

It was a given that holiday homes in Dubai were in for a bumper December and early January. The arrival of the Omicron variant had many landlords worried about last-minute cancellations, and which would have offset all of the gains made in rebuilding the sector since September. Thankfully, the bookings are largely intact, no doubt helped by flights into Dubai maintaining their packed schedules.

“We received a few calls from those who had booked about any extra precautions we were taking to deep cleanse the homes,” said an official with one of the biggest short-stay management companies. “The assurances - and reassurances – were given, and the bookings remained in place. In the last few days, all of the booked units have been occupied by our overseas visitors.”

A viable option

In the last two years as more upscale holiday-homes/short-stay units entered the Dubai market, they have emerged as a serious rival to the hotels in the city. These properties have always been popular with GCC visitors who want bigger premises than what a typical hotel room offers. But these days, every other nationality – and demographic – are veering to the idea of staying put at a holiday home.

Even corporate travellers are gravitating to short-stay accommodation, with specialist property management companies handling all of their day-to-day requirements.

Room for all

Since October, more newly completed properties have been added to Dubai’s roster of holiday-homes, timed to make full use of the Expo months as well as the December peak season. The new additions, however, have not impacted on rates so far. These rates will likely maintain all the way up to end March, which is when the Expo winds down.

“By then, new demand generators will come into play in the city,” said a landlord who has placed four properties in the short-stay space and all of which are booked solid right until February. “The holiday-home business has learnt all the hard lessons from these two years.”

Purely going by the December numbers, those learnings are being out to good use.