From bars to hair salons, 16 places to get connected on the go
We’re all becoming increasingly attached to our smartphones and tablets (try getting through one meal out without someone pausing to take a call, send a message or Instagram their starter), so it’s surprising to find so many places in Dubai either don’t offer wi-fi, or charge extra for already paying guests to access it. Knowing that we’d have to prize your technological crutch from your cold dead fingers, we’ve rounded up 16 top places offering free wireless internet to customers, from bars to malls, cafés and even spas. May you never waste your precious 3G data ever again.
Vault Tap away on your laptop at new heights in swish black and gold-themed bar Vault at the top of the JW Marriott Marquis, the world’s tallest hotel. Specialising in mixed drinks, the bar boasts imported brands from around the globe, including more than 100 varieties of Russian beverage alone, with expert mixologists on hand to help create your perfect drink. There’s also a daily happy hour from 6pm-8pm, with two-for-one bottled hops and 50 percent off classic mixed drinks, selected grape beverages and the food menu. If you’re a slave to your email server, you might as well enjoy yourself in the process. Open daily 5pm-3am. JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 414 3000).
Pantry Café Located on the corner of Al Wasl Square facing Safa Park, this café and delicatessen offers diners free wi-fi, whether you opt for indoor or outdoor seating. Take advantage of the technology while tucking into breakfast dishes, salads, sandwiches, pastas, steaks, pizza and much more, before heading over the road for a stroll in the park. Open daily 8am-11pm. Al Wasl Square, Al Wasl Road (04 388 3868).
Spa Zen & Health Club Not everyone likes to switch off while they’re having a facial, and as long as your phone is on silent so you aren’t disturbing other guests, you can take advantage of the free wi-fi available throughout the Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai’s Spa Zen. The hotel also offers the service in all-day-dining spot Celsius Restaurant, Indo Thai Restaurant & Bar and ICHO Restaurant & Bar, a Japanese eatery covering the 49th to 51st floor. Open daily 9am-10pm. Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 308 0000).
Cravin’ Cajun The city’s first licensed Cajun restaurant’s free wi-fi for all means diners can surf the web while tucking into dishes such as fried chicken and waffles, gumbo and crab cakes. It may have only just opened, but the Louisiana-style eatery is already proving a hit with Dubai diners. Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. Novotel Dubai Al Barsha, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 515 6622).
Shades Guests can get free wi-fi throughout The Address Dubai Marina, including poolside hangout Shades, which offers great views of the Marina. Positioned on the hotel’s fourth floor, visitors can expect an al fresco lounge vibe, with a menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes to peruse, should you feel peckish. There’s also a DJ on weekends. Open Sun-Wed 6pm-1am, Thu-Sat 6pm-2am. The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).
Plaj A chic open-air beach restaurant, Plaj serves everything from barbecue dishes to pizza, fish and chips to mezze as well as free internet for all guests. With an additional seating area for those just dropping in for a drink by the beach, the venue also prides itself on its menu of mixed drinks. Wi-fi is available throughout the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, including by the pool and on the beach, while the hotel also offers a Press Reader app for smartphones, which allows users to browse full digital replicas of more than 2,300 newspapers from more than 100 countries in 55 languages. Open daily for breakfast 9am-11.30am, lunch noon-6.30pm, dinner 6.30pm-10pm. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0444).
Salon Ink A ladies’ hair salon with famously fabulous stylists, this venue offers free wi-fi to all customers, meaning you can keep up to speed with your Whatsapp crew, showbiz news and work emails (snore) while you’re having your locks tamed. There’s one, huge standout benefit here – being able to surf the net while waiting for the dye to take hold certainly helps to pass the time. Open Sun-Mon and Thu 10am-7pm, Tue-Wed 10am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Fri closed. Beach Park Plaza, opposite Jumeirah Beach Park, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 385 4402).
The Dubai Mall If you’re not in the mood to be dragged from shop to shop by your indecisive other half, pull up a chair in one of Dubai’s biggest mall’s many lounging areas (such as that between the Dubai Ice Rink and Galeries Lafayette on the ground floor) and make the most of the free internet. An open network means you can catch up on the world until the spending spree comes to an end. If you’re the shopper in this situation, think on – it’s also pretty damn handy for comparing prices while you browse. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Downtown Dubai (04 32 7500).
Edo Café Munch delicious frozen Japanese sweet treats called mochi at this uber cool but tiny café (while you read up about exactly what they are, courtesy of the free wi-fi) located at the new Citywalk avenue mall, just opposite Al Wasl Road’s Life Pharmacy. We recommend you try the mango flavour. Open daily 10am-midnight. Citywalk, Al Safa (04 344 0833).
McGettigan’s Both branches of this hugely popular Irish pub offer free wi-fi to the punters who fill up the place most nights of the week. Weekdays are a bit quieter though, so if you’re looking for somewhere with a bit more going on across the menu than your nearest coffee shop (think full Irish breakfasts, hearty stews and fish and chips) either of these two spots should fulfil your needs. Open daily noon-3am. Bonnington Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 356 0560). Open Sat-Thu noon-2am, Fri 2pm-2am. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 378 0800).
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard In November last year, Emaar and du teamed up to provide free wi-fi across the entire 3.5km-long Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai. Whether you’re stopping for a coffee in one of the many cafés, taking or stroll or pedalling along the street on a rented bike, you can make use of the internet at no charge. Open 24 hours. Downtown Dubai (no number).
Jazz@PizzaExpress The only licensed Pizza Express in the city, Jazz has become a hugely popular hangout since opening in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Most Thursday nights, when live local musicians take the stage, tables are almost always booked up with diners soaking up the buzzing atmosphere and cool tunes, while open mic nights take place every Tuesday from 8pm. With great acts to watch, we doubt you’ll be wasting time surfing the web, but you might want to upload snaps and videos of the action on stage mid-meal. Open Sun-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Sat noon-3am. Next to Mövenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 441 6342).
Sul Fiume Restaurant & Café Serving up an intriguing fusion of Lebanese and Italian cuisine as well as free internet access, this popular Sheikh Zayed Road spot is a hit with those who like their night out to include a bit of shisha. The extensive menu features intriguing items such as pizza sandwiches (now that’s surely worth an Instagram snap), and even goes so far as to incorporate a few Mexican dishes too, including tacos and nachos. Open daily 9am-2am. Indigo Building, between Al Manara Road and Um Al Sheif Road, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 7909).
Girders Garden This newly opened addition to the JA Ocean View Hotel boasts surroundings such as grass-lined walls and more than 70 different pots as an extension of British-themed pub Girders. As well as complimentary wi-fi, there’s also a four metre sports and video wall, live rock music, traditional pub benches and a varied menu of bar snacks. Open daily noon-midnight. JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR (04 814 5590).
THE One Jumeirah Deli Dine in this beautifully appointed eatery (you are in a home-furnishing store, after all) to be privy to free wireless internet. There’s an emphasis on fresh, healthy, wholesome food, with unusual salads, sandwiches and tasty soups on offer. Open daily 10am-8pm. Next to Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 345 6687).
Y-12 Salon An Italian hair salon catering to both men and women, Y-12 may not have been around for all that long in Dubai, but the stylists have already garnered a loyal following among some of the city’s most stylish residents. Fashion-conscious clients can trawl the net for free while they’re getting a trim. Open Sat-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri 11am-8pm. The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC (04 372 2712).