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Staycation forever: Why some Dubai residents are living in hotels as long-term guests

They have swapped out tenancy contracts, related documents and utility bills for an all-inclusive experience

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Alwaleed Osman. Photo by Angel Tesorero.

Back in 2019, Egyptian expatriate Alwaleed Osman moved out of his rented apartment in Dubai South and opted to live at a hotel relatively closer to the airport due to the nature of his work.

Four years later, he is still staying at the same hotel in Rove Healthcare City, with no plans of leasing his own flat. It was the value for money, convenience and central location of the hotel that hooked him. He also did not have to bother paying monthly utilities and internet bills.

Osman’s place is highly secured, and also serves as his de facto office, coupled with pop-up co-working spaces and minus the humdrum of an office environment.

Several UAE residents like Osman are opting not to rent or buy homes, and are instead choosing to live in hotel apartments as long-stay guests. Syrian national Lama moved into Suha Creek Hotel Apartments in Al Jaddaf two years ago. She told Khaleej Times: “As a single woman in the city, I did not want to be bothered with getting a rental contract, applying for Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority), WiFi, and everything else that comes with renting an apartment.”

Happy choice

“Staying in a hotel apartment takes away all this hassle, and it gives me the additional service of someone else cleaning my apartment and making my bed every day. I could not be happier with my choice,” she added.

Another resident at Suha is Alida Snyman, who moved to the UAE in 2017 to be with her daughter in Dubai. For her, being a long-stay resident at a hotel is highly convenient, as she often shuttles between her hometown in South Africa and the UAE, staying from three to six months at either location.

Uncluttered life

“Having an extended stay at a hotel is perfect,” she said, adding: “There’s good WiFi, running water, and then there’s the luxury of having your bed covered with the most crisp, white sheets. Also, I am a person who doesn’t like unnecessary belongings. Living in a hotel apartment means I have the bare minimum of things.”

Lama’s decision makes financial sense as well. “I have done a detailed breakdown of what it would cost me to rent an apartment in this same locality with the same creek view that I have now”, she explained.

“Factoring in the ejari (tenancy contract), rent, Dewa and WiFi bills, plus cleaning services I would require, it would come to the exact same cost that I am paying now. So why would I move out of here into my own apartment, when I get so much more value for money with the daily cleaning, great staff to check on me, and a sense of being taken care of at all times?”

Value for money

It was the same reason (value for money) that kept Osman, who works as an official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, to stay at Rove Hotel. He said, back in 2019, he was spending almost the same – Dh5,000 monthly, if you add utility and internet bills. Sometimes, it added up to more, if you factor in petrol and Salik charges, aside from the longer travel time.

“Hotel rates actually went cheaper than renting flats back in 2020 and 2021 when I paid only Dh3,000 and Dh3,500 monthly respectively in those two years,” Osman told Khaleej Times, adding: “Rent picked up last year, and currently I’m paying around Dh5,000 monthly.”

Office set-up

Over the years, Osman’s hotel room also served as his office. He has set up his sitting/standing desk, and his laptop is connected to two 20-inch monitors. He has free coffee, water, and when he is stressed out from work, he can even go to the gym, which is open 24 hours daily. If he is bored, he can go down and work at the co-working spaces located in the hotel lobby.

More than anything else, his hotel address gives him an impressive and convenient location to be able to meet his clients. Osman also works as an emcee, and his place offers a good central location to his gigs.

Lifestyle choice

Osman is candid in saying that living in a hotel apartment is a lifestyle choice. There are also downsides to this decision, such as the fact that you cannot cook your own food, and hotels generally don’t allow pets. Hotel rooms are also smaller than the average studio in Dubai.

At his hotel, however, laundry is available 24/7, and there is a grocery store nearby. The place is not too crowded, but not too quiet either, he noted, adding: “On weekends, I usually invite my friends to come over and we have party at the pool.”

In the end, Osman’s advice for people who wants to live in hotel apartments is to carefully weigh their options. They can also give it a try before they decide to sign an annual apartment contract.

Read More:Staycation forever: Why some Dubai residents are living in hotels as long-term guests