In around three weeks' time we will move out of our current apartment. We signed up for a year here, and that year is up on April 22nd. Extending our stay seems unlikely, as most landlords here are not interested unless you want to sign up for a whole year. Hotel apartments can be rented on a short term basis, but our apartment is privately owned, so we will be leaving.
I will certainly miss living in The Address Downtown. It is an amazing building, and the facilities are to die for. The apartments are quite spacious and have excellent storage space. The furnishings are high quality, and we get cleaners three times a week. We have a very comfortable bed, with crisp Egyptian cotton linens, and a nice balcony with great views. Having enjoyed these for a year, I will never furnish my own home in quite the same way again in the future. Then there's the location. Downtown Dubai really is the heart of the city, and we are fortunate to have almost everything we need right on our doorstep. We are next to the Dubai Mall, accessed across a footbridge, so that two or three minutes after leaving the apartment on floor 30, we are stepping into the Mall.
We have access to all the shops, restaurants and leisure facilities that the Mall has to offer. I often just go out and walk around when I have a spare couple of hours (which is most days!) and that is what I will miss when we leave. Future strolls around the Mall will entail a taxi ride first, as will the cinema, or the restaurants. On busy days, the queue for a taxi back could easily be 45 minutes. We don't run a car here, as everything is close by, taxis are cheap, the Metro is easily accessible and Dubai drivers are maniacs, on the whole.
Something else which I will miss terribly is the hotel swimming pool. Most mornings I am down here early, perhaps 8.30 or 9am, when I am often the only person swimming. I was always an OK swimmer, but having access to the pool every day has made me a much better swimmer. I used to struggle to swim 4 or 5 lengths without stopping. Now I can do 50. Yes, that's 50 lengths. I would never have believed I could do that.
The pool itself is amazing. It curves around the base of the hotel and there are actually 5 separate parts to it, each flowing into the other, changing levels and depths, with the water splashing over the walls and flowing over the edge. One section has little banana chairs set on their own little islands in the middle, accessed by stepping stones. There is a shallower children's area, where the pool is covered to protect little ones from the hot sun. There are hundreds of loungers to choose from. It is probably the best hotel pool I have ever seen, certainly the best I have ever been in. And, while you swim, you can see across to the Mall, the Souk, the lagoon with its musical fountains, and of course the Burj Khalifa towering above. It is absolutely stunning.
The 13th floor houses the gym, which is very large and very well equipped, and has beautiful views across the lagoon. Free water and fruit is available, and if you want a personal trainer you can have one. The facilities are first class, with a sauna, fabulous changing rooms with everything you need, and relaxation areas, too. The picture below shows the pool deck, taken from the gym.
The lobby and public areas are very impressive. There are lots of sofas and chairs to lounge on, both inside and outside overlooking the pool deck. There are meeting rooms for seminars and so forth. There are lots of other facilities, too numerous to mention. So, is this place perfect? Not quite.
There are some things I won't miss. Internet coverage is sporadic - some days it just doesn't work at all. Even when it works, it is very slow. Too slow to watch streaming TV shows, for example, as the upload speed is ridiculous, sometimes as low as 10kbps. I kid you not. Dubai does a lot of things well, but the Internet is not one of them. Likewise the TV. If you live here in a house, you get something similar to Sky Plus, where you can record, pause etc, and have access to lots of channels. When you live in a hotel, like us, you are stuck with the hotel service. The picture is poor, as they don't have HD. The sound is terrible, as the TVs all have their factory settings and they can't be altered (we've asked, lots of times!) so if you watch anything with background music, the music drowns out the dialogue. The channels come and go randomly, too. Sometimes you get a channel for weeks and months, then it disappears, never to return. The picture also pixellates and freezes quite often, which is annoying when you're trying to watch something. Given the restricted choice of channels, we don't watch much, actually. So I won't miss the TV, either.
When we fist arrived here we stayed in the Movenpick, in one of their apartments, so we will head back there in 3 weeks. It is close to Jeff's office, so he can walk there in 5 minutes. There is a small mall there, too, for the basics, and a few nice restaurants. We will only be there for a short while, as I am heading back to the UK in May. I will be back home for several months at least, while I make a concerted effort to sell our house. Jeff has to return, as he has ongoing work, so he will stay in the Movenpick. If and when I go back, I'll stay there, too. The Movenpick is very nice. Comfortable. Good facilities. But it isn't The Address. Still, at least the TV is watchable!