The Old Town, Downtown Dubai

After staying close to 2 months in Jumeirah Living (see similar post), it was time to move on.

My 2 non-negotiable requirements for our home:

1) breathing space for Tyler. And for me too–I did not like to feel “trapped”

2) near a supermarket/hospital, etc

My husband’s: Same as number 2 and

3) has to be near his office

We settled at a lovely 3-bedroom apartment at the Al Manzil District of The Old Town, Downtown Dubai.


The Old Town has an Arabian feel to it, which is a contrast to the strikingly modern skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai. It’s within short distance from all major business and financial institutions and leisure attractions. We live right across Souk Al Bahar, which has quirky little shops leading to The Dubai Mall, one of the, if not the largest shopping centre in the world.

The façade of the world’s tallest tower, The Burj Khalifa, is seen from our living areas.


Low-rise apartments mean not having to spend half your life in elevators. Lush caluchi trees and colorful flowers, though just few, makes my mind think that I am not right smack in heart of the city.  This area is very conducive for walks with cute little kids and adorable dogs.

My hubby gets to his office in 10 minutes max!  Not on foot, as with Jumeirah Living, but by car.  Living here allows him to spend less time commuting, which means more time for us 🙂



Ok, now enough romance.  Some cons:

1)  One thing that I miss is COLD water.  Something we had in Jumeirah Living. Apparently, as according to an engineering staff, “Emaar (the developer) didn’t decide to invest in a centralized chiller.  And this is the main complaint of 90% of the residents”.

What to do?  We take shorter baths right now and my maid actually saves water in a pail, lets it sit there for a while so that it’s colder or at least room temperature by the time she needs to take a bath.  What a hassle! The first time she used the faucet knob that says “C” (for “cold” water) she thought the staff might have made a mistake and switched “C” and “H”!

2)  Water fixer in maid’s bathroom is broken.  Maintenance guys said they have to remove tiles and chisel the wall to remove and replace the water mixer embedded in wall.   I am not looking forward to this as I just recently asked them to hang a mirror and they destroyed the wall!

3)  ACU thermostat not working– hence AC temperature cannot be controlled.

4)  There is a leak in the bottom part of glass enclosure in the shower area in the master’s bathroom.  While taking a shower, water drips down from glass enclosure and flows outside towards the bathroom floor instead of the shower drain.  Just 2 days of not moping the bathroom, you’ll see a small puddle of soap water near our toilet. Gross!

The maintenance guys here said they couldn’t fix the problem, as they don’t do glass doors.  We’ve raised the problem to our real estate agent, Raheel, but nothing has been done yet. We don’t wanna waste our time moping every time we take a bath so while waiting for salvation my hubby sealed the leak in bottom part of glass enclosure using masking tape and plastic folders – yes it’s a pathetic solution and it aesthetically unappealing, but it works for now.

5)  There is no exhaust so all that indoor pollution is alive and present in all our rooms 24/7.

We did have a property consultant check this apartment before we moved in but things like these don’t appear unless you’ve lived here.  I mean who would expect a property consultant to use the shower and take a bath for 15 minutes and do that twice in a row just to see if there are problems with the shower enclosure?

These defects existed at the time of our move about 3 weeks ago.  Raheel told us that these would be taken cared of by the landlord.  I don’t know when but I hope that it’s soon.

Also, I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but within 2 weeks of staying here my son was diagnosed with mild eczema, I suffered from an itchy arm rash, and my maid developed a lip infection.  😦

Most of our current house problems are fixable.  Just wanted to share our experience so that any issues like these can be solved before you move into your new home.


4 thoughts on “The Old Town, Downtown Dubai

  1. Hi Desert Fox!
    We are considering renting in Old Town too. Would it be possible to post an update on your very interesting feedback? Did the eczema/skin rash issues disappear?
    Other question, what did you mean by no exhaust? You cannot open the windows?


  2. Hi Olivier,
    Our rashes are gone. We are using creams for them, as prescribed by our doctors, to prevent recurrence.
    Re exhaust, I meant there are no exhaust fans to vent out moisture and smell in the bathrooms. It’s so unhygienic and inconvenient that’s why we’ve purchased air purifiers. I’ve met our neighbors and generally they are happy with the area. It really depends on your relationship with your landlord, I guess. So far our landlord has fixed our ACU and shower enclosure but the rest has yet to be done. Good luck!

  3. Hi Desert Fox

    I’m considering renting in the Old Town precinct but I can’t find any information about parking for residents- do these units come with an allotted car space, or is there some kind of other parking facility if you own a car?

    Any advice much appreciated.

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