Exclusive community. Al Bateen Park is one of the new developments that’s drawing expats to Al Bateen Image Credit: Abdul Rehman/XPRESS

ABU DHABI Concrete structures standing tall, congested roads choked with traffic, narrow alleys choc-a-block with shops, parking lots swelling with vehicles – these ubiquitous sights and sounds of the city centre start receding as you drive toward Al Bateen on the west of Abu Dhabi’s main island.

One of the most affluent localities in the capital, Al Bateen oozes opulence every inch. Vast boulevards are lined with trees on both sides. There are dozens of intimidatingly high walled compounds that house huge palaces. Massive roundabouts with manicured lawns and extravagant water fountains can be seen at most intersections. Many areas do not have public access and photography is prohibited. It is not difficult to assume Al Bateen is home to some of the most revered addresses in Abu Dhabi.

While the majority of the residents are Emiratis who own luxurious villas with private gardens and pools, the expat presence, comprising mostly European and Arab expatriates, is becoming more palpable with new residential developments in the area.

For instance, Marasy, a luxurious waterfront development on the Al Bateen marina wharf, is becoming one of the most sought-after localities for western expats.

Growing popularity

Another real estate property attracting expats is Al Bateen Park that consists of villas, townhouses and apartments ranging from two, three and four-bedroom units to four-bedroom penthouses. The Aldar-developed project is located on the A Khaleej Al Arabi Street.

“This is an ideal location for families who want to live in the city centre but without the low points of city life,” said William H., a resident.

The area is also very family friendly with lots of play areas, schools, medical centres and supermarkets. There are no hotels but residents can hit the Al Bateen marina sports club that has a string of restaurants and pubs.

Al Bateen beach overlooking Hudariyat Bridge and the island to the west of Abu Dhabi is another standout feature of the locality. The public beach stretching 800 metres has a range of amenities like children’s playground, changing rooms, volleyball courts, and facilities for water sport.

Many residents said going to the beach is a lifestyle in Bateen.

“When we want to relax, we always think beach. The water is pristine, parking is free and the place is never crowded,” said Abdullah Shehab, another resident.

The ladies beach that recently opened has also become a hit. “There is no other place like this for women in Abu Dhabi,” vouches Palestinian mother of two, Asma. “We can be in our swimsuits without being gawked at,” she said.

Maurici Zeidan, a Lebanese businessman who made Al Bateen his home 30 years ago, says, “Living in Al Bateen is like holidaying in the South of France.”

Amenities: Gulf Diagnostic Centre, Al Bateen Primary Health Care Centre, Swedish Medical Centre, Central Hospital, Al Bateen mall, schools, post office, gas stations,

Accessibility: Five minutes from city centre, 20 minutes to the airport.