With over 5.8 million visitors in 2005 and occupancy rates in excess of 83%, Dubai is fast becoming one of the world’s premier tourist destinations reaching unprecedented levels.
It is clear that the travel industry and hence the local accommodation providers are riding the biggest wave of their life. Requests for holiday accommodations have clearly overtaken the supply. Quality wise, there is a wide choice of accommodations available in Dubai – from hotels, hotel apartments to self-catering villas and apartments, with this latest option being much sought after in recent days.
Renting a furnished apartment or villa on a self-catering basis is a cheaper option then staying in many hotels, especially if a longer then usual package holiday is scheduled. It is also preferable for large groups who simply wish to have greater flexibility and privacy.
One of the most popular areas of Dubai is the Dubai Marina. It delights residents and visitors with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and unique, refreshing lifestyle. It challenges the most exclusive waterfront developments in the world’s leading cities.
Booking a hotel in Dubai Marina is out of reach for many travelers who would rather spend their budget on shopping. For this reason, renting a self-catering apartment or villa can be a smart option – more affordable, comfortable and exciting. There are many villas and apartments available from a minimum of one guest to as many as 15 guests, according to the design of the individual property.
When planning to book a holiday apartment, it is necessary to carefully select the right agent. The most recommended would certainly be those actually based in Dubai. They can guarantee you full assistance on a 24-hour basis. Itâ€™s the quality that matters. Yes, you may spend a little extra, but in the end, it’s your accommodation on the line. Some properties are equipped with every amenity you could think of, from the bread toaster to the kettle, from the coffee maker to the microwave, some even offer a complimentary twice-weekly housekeeping service. Some that come across as a good bargain could end up being a bad surprise, and you might experience issues such as faulty air conditioning, lack of water pressure, rusted cutlery items, lack of glassware or cooking items, poor hygiene level. Your vacation could get badly compromised. Professional agencies maintain and check the properties on a regular basis.
The best way to go about it would be to actually inspect the premises before making any payment. This way you will have a direct understanding of the quality of property you are about to reserve, and you will also be able to check the consistency with the information (photos or descriptions) that were displayed on the agent website or catalogue.
When booking a self-catering apartment or villa there are a few questions that you might want to ask.
How far and where is the nearest hospital?
Does the property have a telephone line to make at least emergency calls?
Will you be awaited at your arrival in the early hours of the morning, and will you be escorted to your apartment by professional and English speaking staff?
Will you find first-hand groceries in the fridge at your arrival?
How far is the closest pharmacy?
How far is the closest supermarket?
How far is the closest restaurant or coffee shop?
Are the utility bills included in the rent?
Is there a housekeeping service?
Is there an emergency assistance number that you could call?
Is there an Internet connection?
Is there a cable TV?
How far is the beach?
How far is the closest mall?
Is the area fully developed or is it still under construction?
How noisy or quiet is it and does the apartment/villa have double-glazed windows to serve this purpose?
Are taxis easily available?
In the end it comes down to experience and professionalism. There are many companies offering holiday villas and apartments in Dubai and around the world. This is a great advantage as it keeps the competition alive and the rates affordable. However, always be careful and do your homework before making your final choice. It’s your holiday on the line and you donâ€™t want to jeopardize it just to save a few bucks.
The author is Alessandro D’Ubaldo, Managing Director of an apartment rental website in Dubai, U.A.E.