Note: The above image is a rendering of the up coming Promenade on the left trunk. It looks pretty exciting, however Nakheel models rarely match reality in entirety. Fingers crossed - and Caveat Emptor... This beach currently does not exist and is blocked off by construction - so do not come looking for it.
The Palm Jumeirah was one of three planned palm shaped developments built up from reclaimed land, but may be the only one to be realised. Palm Jebel Ali is not yet back on the drawing board after being shelved in 2008, while Palm Deira has been reduced in scope to Deira Islands and no longer really looks like a palm at all.
Rents are high, but have been falling for some time. For a 2-bedroom property they range between 115,000 and 160,000 AED per annum. That would admittedly be in an apartment that could give you access to the beach, gym etc. Prices may still fall further, although landlords hope 2019 will see a firming of prices.
Palm Jumeirah is located off Al Sufouh road, and is close to Dubai Marina and JBR, but without the latter's manic traffic issues. It is in the heart of new Dubai, and yet as you drive onto the main trunk road of the Palm, it feels like you're escaping it.
One reason for the lack of congestion is that the "island" does not have any schools, while retail outlets are at a minimum - although this will change when the Nakheel Mall is constructed - originally set for 2016, now set for some time in 2019. Insha'allah. The Golden Mile Galleria is now functional and does offer a Spinneys, as well as numerous cafes, but even so you would be hard pressed to say the Palm is well catered for
Every day it gets a little better however, and almost as this article was written two new nurseries opened up in the Galleria - both Montessori based. Redwood and Babilou now make up a trio - joining Aysa's Nursery in Shoreline 10.
There is a medical centre, Al Das, now on the trunk in the final Shoreline building, and a hospital (Emirates Hospital) and two dental clinics in the Golden Mile.
The (relative) lack of facilities has given the Palm a more relaxed atmosphere than some of Dubai's other developments, and a walk in either the park that runs along the centre of the trunk, or along the beach, reveals a family focused community. Kids love living on the Palm - and why wouldn't they with the park, and a beach on either side of the road.
While there are few retail outlets (currently closing in the Golden Mile faster than they are opening), there is an ever expanding number of luxury hotels, the most celebrated - but far from the most luxurious or upmarket - being the Atlantis hotel, which hosts Aquaventure, a 42-acre water park. With so many 5-star hotels there are a myriad of fine dining outlets.
More relaxed, cafe style dining is basically limited to the Golden Mile. There are bar restaurants in the beach side Shoreline apartments and in Club Vista Mare, but these are pricey for what they offer. The Golden Mile development offers Wagamama, The Coffee Club (very good actually), Burger Fuel, Shakespeares and Zaroob. There is also a Starbucks, and a Cafe Nero. The Organic Supermarket also has its own cafe, which does a fab breakfast at only 39 AED. It is very popular.
While the Golden Mile is suffering, fret not, as the Pointe has now opened, offering more mid-tier dining options. The Pointe has one considerable advantage over the Golden Mile - some of its restaurants are licensed. It also has fountains... although these are not yet operational, and a cinema...
The Palm is undoubtedly a great place to live, but like most of Dubai is still in development, and the considerable construction gives it a sense of incompleteness. That said because of this, the Palm has a more relaxed vibe without the hustle and bustle, and traffic of nearby JBR. A great community for young families, but one that comes with a fairly hefty price tag.
Note: When development of the Palm Mall does begin, the quiet could be shattered. Note also, the latest population census for the Palm Jumeirah in 2012 already showed 10,000 people living on the island. We believe it is now up to 20,000. As more construction is completed, so traffic on and off the Palm on a trunk road that is impossible to expand will inevitably rise. Whether it becomes as congested as nearby areas really depends upon the foresight of master developer, Nakheel, who in all reports say they are unconcerned by potential traffic issues. Maybe they know something the people living on it do not.
Nakheel has recently announced a number of new developments on the Palm and the master developer continues to look for plots of land to build upon Areas of concern remain infrastructure and being able to get on and off once the new developments are in place.
For a good Palm Jumeirah guide, PalmJumeirahGuides.com is a site with promise.
The Shoreline. The main apartment blocks you see as you drive onto the Palm, and probably the most underrated. Living in the Shoreline gives you access to a wide stretch of beach - well over 1km long, whether you live on the left or right (garden facing) side of the road. The development includes a number of gyms on the right side, and residents can use any of them. There are swimming pools running along the shoreline beach. The left hand side of the development is considerably better value than the right. The same F Type (the largest 2-bed apartment) will cost 2.2 to 2.4 million AED on the garden facing side of the Shoreline, and 3.2 million AED on the sea facing. That is, you pay 1 million plus AED for a (pretty special) view of the sea. Rents reflect the differential. Note: With the Palm Mall coming, and resolution on the cards for the Golden Mile, values on the left hand side could catch up. Shoreline apartments are relatively large for new Dubai. The F type is above 2000 square meters.
Golden Mile Apartments. Built later and said to have a better finish than the Shoreline, Golden Mile apartments are however smaller, and do not have access to the beach. Moreover, their unique selling point - the Golden Mile of shops, cafes and restaurants is a little limited and far from full. Some apartments had a great view of the JBR, Marina area. Not any more with construction beach side. Approximately the same rent and price as the Shoreline.
Marina Residences. Very good finish. Many have great views over the Marina and onto the fronds. No beach access, and, oddly, no direct access to the marina itself. However, there are tunnels that will lead directly from the Marina apartments to the Palm Mall when it is finished (if Nakheel follows through on that promise). Apartments are again smaller than similarly priced Shoreline apartments. Swimming pool and gym between each two buildings.
Tiara/Oceana. The most resort like apartments on the main trunk, and were the most expensive by a margin , save perhaps V or Five or whatever it is called this week. Great outdoor area with a large swimming pool and bar/restaurant. Oceana has the West 14 restaurant, one of the best steakhouses in the city. Oceana is also said to have better views than Tiara (although both are pretty stunning), and is more popular. The price of a 1-bed in Oceans is around 180,000 AED per year to rent (compared to 100-120,000 in the Shoreline). Note, the new Club Vista Mara is being built directly in front of the building facing the shoreline... For floors 1-3 there go the views... How does Nakheel get away with it?
Five. Currently (it never lasts long) the fanciest place to live - on the trunk and will be until its neighbour, The One, opens next door some time in 2020.
For the latest information a dedicated guide and site for Palm Jumeirah may be found here