Saturday, February 5, 2011

Apartment Hunting - Part 3

Saturday afternoon we went to see some additional apartments and at the risk of jinxing things, I think we may have found our place! It's about a 15 min drive (with traffic) from where we're staying now, which is in the heart of the downtown area. This suits Brian and I just fine, but probably isn't going to work for the rest of the team as they would prefer to be closer to the nightlife and within walking distance of at least a few amenities. So, we may have found a great place for us, but Brian will need to keep looking for the rest of the group.

These apartments are different than the high rises we'd been looking at (sorry I don't have any photos yet). It's a large complex of many villa-type low-rise buildings almost like some of the retirement housing complexes you'd find in the states where each unit is connected, but has it's own entrance. Each building has 3 apartments: the first floor is the two bedroom (which would be ours); the second floor is a 3 bedroom and the 3rd floor is a one bedroom. All the buildings are set up the same and there are lots of them in this complex. Actually, now that I think about it, it almost reminds me of some of the time share units we've stayed in, just not as many floors high. The complex includes 1 parking spot for each unit and the parking for the 2 and 3 bedrooms is right outside the front door, which is REALLY nice and something you can't get in the high rises. It has a 25 meter lap pool and they are working on building the gym (looks like it might be a month or two away yet). There is also a small convenience store on the property and we think we saw a new supermarket at the entrance to the place. The challenge is that it's a bit further out from town, so not sure how far to a bus route or how easy it will be to get taxis - again, not a huge concern for Brian and I, but the rest of the team was less than thrilled.

The apartment itself has a lot of what we've been looking for. First, it's larger than the high rises - the bedrooms are nice sized and the second bedroom (which we'll make into an office) is much larger than we've typically seen and has a full wall window with patio door. The master bedroom is large (relatively speaking) and has some great closet space as well as an en suite bathroom (most of them have this actually). The kitchen, dining, living area is all open (very rare here!) and the kitchen has a breakfast counter. It's small, which is typical and the stove is puny, but I'll happily give up some size for an open floor plan. The absolutely best part of the place, however, is the patio. It's HUGE and runs the length of the apartment so you can access it from the living room and the 2nd bedroom. It's surrounded by a very high wall, so while it cuts off the view, it also provides privacy (and the view would just be the neighbor's wall anyway). It's a lot of space and plenty of room for a table, lounge chairs, grill ... There is also a 2 foot or so wide area along the outer wall where they have some plants and flowers, so it even has some greenery!!! I'm thinking that the wall is probably high enough that Rogue (our cat) could hang out on the patio, which she would absolutely love! (uh oh, can you tell I'm excited about this place? I'd better  keep my excitement in check.)

We're supposed to hear about the Reem Island high rise apartments sometime this week, and since that is such a perfect location for the team (and such nice apartments & amenities), we may need to wait and see what the answer is there before making a final decision on the place we saw today (but I'm lobbying hard for this place regardless of what we hear about Reem Island). If Reem Island is available, it might come down to whether Brian wants the whole team in one place (i.e. deal with only one landlord) or whether he'll be comfortable having us live somewhere else (fingers crossed! :) I'll keep you posted!!

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