JLT has direct views of different landmarks in Dubai, including the Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Marina skyline, the Dubai Metro and Shaikh Zayed Road Image Credit: François Dumontel

When François Dumontel moved into his two-bedroom flat at Saba 2 tower in 2008, he had already foreseen the potential of the Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) community in Dubai. He did not imagine, however, that the waterfront community would exceed his expectations in the years to come.

It was the Dubai-based businessman’s third home since he moved to the UAE in mid-2007. He had previously shared a room in a villa at Jebel Ali Village and later moved to The Springs for a short period before choosing to reside in the JLT community.

“The first home was just a temporary move as most expatriates may have experienced when moving abroad. It was a coup du coeur — a spontaneous move if you like — influenced mainly by the facilities, the outdoor swimming pool of the garden property etc.”

Dumontel eventually settled on JLT because of its convenient location and easy access to Abu Dhabi and the northern of emirates. It is also served by two metro stations, JLT and Dubai Marina.

Dumontel is from Clermont-Ferrand in central France, 400km south of Paris. It is known worldwide for two famous names: Michelin, where tyres are made, and Volvic, the spring water.

“My professional career was mostly spent in the UK for almost two decades where I kept my residential property. My wife is in relationship marketing, a role that emphasises customer retention and satisfaction within the facility management industry,” he says.

A holiday trip to Dubai in late 2006 helped convince him to settle in the emirate less than a year later. As the owner of Df Group, an online referral management consultancy, Dumontel frequently commutes between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to meet his business partners. He also regularly meets clients, who mostly come from abroad, at hotels and business centres, hence JLT’s location suits perfectly his commuting needs.

Dumontel had others reasons to move to JLT. One was its proximity to The Springs, his former residence whose extensive three- and four-lane roads he preferred to use. Economics also influenced his decision. There was a wide variety of apartments available in JLT, and because the main infrastructure was completed at the end of 2007, the rents were much more affordable.

“In the early stages, I would have not imagined how practical this area would become, or how peaceful the surroundings would remain,” he says. “But I had already seen the potential for growth. Economics eventually became the decisive factor. Without knowing it, I probably got the best location I could possibly have.”

Dumontel continues: “Each cluster in JLT consists of three residential buildings and each unit has its own parking space, which avoids potential misuse of your own space. Additionally, when living in a cluster of residential towers, residents in general do not suffer from traffic created by commuters travelling to and from work and people coming in and out of offices.”

Dumontel says the property management team has also done a great job of staying on top of any issues, whether internal or external.

“So many little shops have also now opened and are at the heart of what makes JLT such a vibrant and buzzing area,” he says.

The community is also good for business. “As a business owner, JLT gives access to several networking opportunities in the community itself, across the road in Dubai Marina or in nearby Dubai Media City. All within walking distance or just two metro stations away,” he says. “This makes it good for business and a prime area. There is also the soon-to-be-opened park. This is without a doubt an added value.”

Premium views

JLT is a popular waterfront living experience that suits the requirements of both professionals and families alike, offering premium views overlooking tranquil lakes and the stunning Dubai Marina skyline.

“Although JLT consists of towers, my apartment has direct views of The Meadows, The Springs and the Montgomerie Golf Course, so we do not feel totally isolated and living in a concrete jungle,” he says. “Even at the lowest floors, the apartments still offer good views of the Burj Al Arab, the Marina, the ongoing tram project and the famous Shaikh Zayed Road with the Dubai Marina Metro Station in the background.”

Dumontel and his wife, Aileen, are renting a fully furnished apartment, inclusive of a fully equipped kitchen and white goods. The couple pays a yearly rent of Dh110,400. He says they’ve added Arabian flavour to the interior design to get a feel of the city.

“The changes were kept to a minimum,” he says. “However, a new wardrobe and some Arabic features were brought in to enhance the interiors, making us remember where we live, especially during the festive seasons and Ramadan.

“We also benefit from various sports and recreation amenities as well as a gym, sauna and steam room facilities and a swimming pool, similar to those in many other towers in this area.”

Whether one has a big or a small family, Dumontel believes JLT is perfect in terms of size, proximity to important destinations, services and the wide variety of cuisine available.

It is also ideal for pet owners. “Often, we do encounter people walking their dogs. Another appealing factor of JLT is the range of nationalities residing here. My neighbours are from Canada, India, Iran and Singapore.”

Public transport

Dumontel also advises residents to take advantage of JLT’s proximity to the Dubai Metro. “With our building located between two metro stations, the choice of transport is obvious,” he says. “With the tram opening within a year or so, there will be no more excuses for using a car. JLT will soon benefit from a substantial park loaded with barbecue areas, a basketball court and other features that will make it a perfectly rewarding place during the cooler months.”

As a company owner, Dumontel finds it challenging to completely switch off from work, but the couple manages to take at least one day off during weekends.

“One of my hobbies is reading — murder mysteries and adventures being my favourites. But, of course, that is not very interactive. Therefore, we do focus on going out: Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and even Sharjah are our favourite destinations. Dubai offers great activities all year — Global Village, festivals, sport events and trips to other emirates, there is always something to do and to go to.”