We moved out two months ago now. Five years, we stayed here – our first home in Dubai, in the heart of the Dubai Marina. Lots of people moan about the marina traffic, and I always tell this to everyone else – it was okay at where we were at. We loved the apartment, the location, the view, the fact that you were in the marina and not be stuck in traffic as we were right by the motorway exit. It was perfect.
Then come February 2015, the fire happened.
Boom – made world news.
Come to think of it, the first message we got was from our good friend back home, half the world away. We were lucky that our place was not affected at all. And although a lot of residents moved out slowly after that, we stayed put.
We did however, get home and contents insurance though. Straight away.
The only implications for us at that time was the pool. It was shut. Shut because, the part of the building that was burnt was the same side of the pool, and they didn’t want to risk pieces of facade falling onto us, whilst we were having a swim.
So of course, we thought – fair enough. Let’s wait it out. This is Dubai, things get done very quick here. They need to fix up this building, shouldn’t be too painful to not have a pool for a few months.
And then the waiting game started.
Lots of queries on the forum, ” When is the pool opening? ” We were given answers that changed over the course of time. 6 months became one year. One year became 18 months. 18 months became 2 years. In that span of time, a lot of things were built and completed. They dug a hole through Sheikh Zayed Road, built a bridge over. Opened the Dubai Canal. An entire theme park called Dubai Parks and Resort opened. Even we managed to grow a little person, give birth, and she is now one years old. And still, no pool.
I know I know, it’s not their fault. It’s supposedly not the building management’s fault. It was one reason after another. The last time we had access to the forum, it was because municipality have not approved the cladding panels to be used. They have become very strict, and it’s all for good cause. There was Tamwheel, then ours, then Address in Downtown, then the one at the Palm. And recently, the very tragic one in London. So I know, it’s all for good reason that things have not been resolved.
I just wish as residents of the tower back then, that we had more clarity. Tell us, that you don’t know, that it might be more than 2 years before it opens. Of course if you did that, everyone would have moved out. But at least we would have moved out earlier instead of hanging around waiting and hoping that I could swim when I was pregnant. Then when my baby was born maybe I could swim when I was on maternity leave. Maybe this, maybe that.
The funniest queries on the forum was when new residents moved in and asked, ” So, when is this pool opening ? ” And we would be laughing talking about it, they were probably told by their agents , ” Soon! “. And then nothing ever happened.
So here’s enough of my rambles. Another in my series of random rambles. I know it’s closed for good cause. And I know they did try and find lots of alternatives to make us happy, and I do thank Media One Hotel for offering a good deal to let us use their pool. But it was just, not good enough. So bye bye to those epic views. We have now moved – not very far away. I hope at some point the cladding would be replaced – with municipality-approved, fire-resistant panels. The pool will be open. It’s such a great building. The concierge and rest of the staff were super, as well. We do sometimes miss the building, and I’m grateful for the 5 years that we did spend in there. And I know that there are bigger things in this world happening, so please don’t burn me for this piece. Simply thoughts to share.
To all residents of apartments as well, few things to share, following what we went through :
- know what emergency number to call (click here). sharing what is happening on twitter is not going to save your life. it might get you on lovindubai.com but they’re not going to come hose down your building for you ;
- buy home and contents insurance ;
- always have an updated emergency bag should you need to exit the building in the middle of the night (we recommend a backpack instead of a hand-carry bag) ;
- have a backup plan of where to stay, should you suddenly have no home for a few nights ;
- do a trial fire drill run once you move in. You never know when you’ll need to do one ;
- get to know your neighbours. Maybe just one. You never know when you’ll need to call them for assistance.
And to residents who are looking at moving into a new apartment with their family :
- check if all facilities are working before you sign your contract. don’t trust what the agent tells you. ask in forums, friends of friends, everyone.
- look out for basic fire life and safety requirements – do they have sprinkler in the apartments? are there fire alarms?
- ask your building management team to clarify how the fire life and safety system works in your apartment building. don’t just assume it works.
- if you have to take care of more than yourself if there was an emergency (little person, or little animal), are you able to carry them down those 15-flight of stairs, or 60-flight of stairs? try it out.
Unlike a lot of other people who went through far worst scenarios following an emergency event to their apartments, yes – we were lucky enough that the only thing I can possibly moan about is : the pool that never opened. So yes, I know we should be thankful, and we are. Take care, anyways, everyone. Always be prepared.