Al Muneera: an Abu Dhabi alternative to The Palm

Samantha Watson, 41, lives in an apartment in Al Muneera with her husband Jon, 41, and their children Alexia, 3, and ­Artemisia, 4 months. The British family moved there 18 months ago, and previously lived on The Palm in Dubai. Watson commutes to Dubai, where she works in marketing. “We wanted to live in the […]

Samantha Watson, 41, lives in an apartment in Al Muneera with her husband Jon, 41, and their children Alexia, 3, and ­Artemisia, 4 months. The British family moved there 18 months ago, and previously lived on The Palm in Dubai. Watson commutes to Dubai, where she works in marketing.

“We wanted to live in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, but I didn’t want to be too far from Dubai for work,” she explains. “Al Raha Beach was the closest neighbourhood we could find in Abu Dhabi to The Palm, with the beach, cafes and shops all on your doorstep.”

Watson says she loves their direct access to the beach. “My husband goes paddleboarding, and the kids like to play by the sea. In the early mornings, it’s lovely – sometimes you get to see flying fish and crabs.”

Read more: Neighbourhood guide: Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi

She says Alexia has benefited from the children’s facilities at Al Raha Beach. “The playroom, which is full of toys, is right next door to us, and it’s really convenient to use when it’s too hot outside.”

Watson says that with so many other families living nearby, Al Muneera is an easy place to make friends.

“We rarely go into the city anymore – everything we need is here,” she says. “I regularly send Jon out to get us Costa coffees, and at weekends, we pop down to the beach for breakfast in a cafe.”

The family also loves to take a stroll around the 1.3km Al Muneera island on the canal-­side pathway.

“It’s a lovely walk, when the weather is nice,” Watson says.

“It’s quite thrilling living so close to the racetrack over the F1 period,” she adds.

Watson’s must-visit tips

Tawa Bakery in Al Muneera: “I’m sensitive to gluten, so it’s fabulous to be able to come here and choose anything off the menu. It’s become really popular, and a lot of people who come don’t even realise it’s ­gluten-free.”

In the evenings, Pacifico Tiki in Al Bandar: “Grab a seat on the terrace, and check out the beautiful waterside views.”

The high-end fashion store ­Minbart, owned by Sheikha Alia Al Qassimi: “It’s full of clothes for special events by little-known designers. I can’t afford to buy anything, but I love to have a look.”

Next profile:

Next month, we will be making our way to Dubai to check out what Sports City has to offer for visitors and those who may be looking to relocate to the suburb.

weekend@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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