Dubai on a budget: live the high life for less

Swanky dinners, luxury pool day deals and more without breaking the bank

Dubai on a budget: live the high life for less

The streets of Dubai might be proverbially paved with gold but that doesn’t mean our pockets are packed with it. Payday can sometimes feel as if it’s aeons away and yet you’re almost down to your final few fils. Fear not as we’ve come up with an array of ways to make your wages last longer. From fabulous free nights out to marvellous meal deals to savings-friendly staycation offers, you’ll still have some dirhams left for one of those rare rainy days. Plus we know of some great places to go hunting for cut-price couture. Being frugal never felt so good...



Super-swanky and impressively generous, 1OAK really knows how to treat a lady. Four nights a week this New York import lets the female of the species take over, offering them an unlimited amount of selected drinks for as long as four hours. This place recently went up even further in our estimation by opening a cool outdoor terrace.
Free. Sun & Tue 11pm-3am, Thu & Fri 11pm-1.30am. JW Marriot Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (052 881 8888).

They say the best things in life are free but in our opinion, one of the finest ladies’ nights offers seven hours of free-flowing drinks for a mere Dhs200. Seven hours. Run by Secret Parties, this is a night of two halves with three hours spent sipping sparkling grape and nibbling on bar bites at At.mosphere before the shindig moves to the equally polished Armani/Privé. It’s the high life on a budget, literally at this one.
FromDhs200. Tue 9pm-midnight, midnight-4am. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai,

Now we fellas aren’t ones to get jealous (much) but when one of our favourite clubs offers to pick up the tab for the ladies several nights a week, we’re in danger of turning greener than some of those mixed drinks they concoct there. Arguably the pick of the freebies is the Epic night on a Thursday where the beverages are gratis for a full five hours.
Free. Sun 8pm-3am. V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, Al Habtoor City (056 501 2039).

Cavalli Club
You’d expect a ladies’ night being held at a club owned by a fashion designer to be super-stylish, and that’s precisely what you’ll find at Cavalli every Monday. Informatively called ‘Leave Your Boyfriend At Home’ (just in case he wanted to tag along), this super soirée gives girls a free bar and the chance to feast on a special Dhs150 set menu.
Free. Mon 8.30pm-4am. Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (050 991 0400).

Drai’s Dubai FREE!
Love a club night but not so keen on the price tag? This one won’t burn a hole in your pockets, ladies, as you can get free-flowing drinks and unlimited sushi every Sunday from 10pm until 4pm. Get on those dancing shoes and kick-start the week in style.
Sun 10pm-4am. Ongoing. Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (052 388 8857).

Soho Garden FREE!
It might be more of a playground for pretty young things rather than a garden but this massive Meydan space immediately became one of our favourite spots. They really look after the ladies here, with several deals during the week. The Tokyo Vibes offering on a Wednesday not only gives girls free-flowing grape until 1am but also 50 percent off food from 8pm-10pm. We can dig it.
Free. Wed 8am-1am. Meydan Racecourse Grandstand, Meydan (056 822 2559).

You’d expect to pay top dollar for some of the finest cuts of meat in the city and that’s usually the case at STK. However, Time Out Dubai’s Best Ladies’ Night 2019 offers some meaty discounts, with two courses (including a fillet steak) for Dhs200 or three for Dhs240. Ladies also get three free drinks to have at the bar during the second sitting.
Free. Tue 7pm-1am. Rixos Premium Dubai, The Walk, JBR (04 323 0061).

The Penthouse FREE!
The consummately cool and chic bar rarely fails to amaze thanks to its unbeatable views and impeccable service. If you happen to have your gal pals visiting you from back home then make sure they’re here for a Tuesday as that’s when The Penthouse is offering three drinks for nada.
Free. Tue 8pm-1am. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (052 900 4868).

Vault FREE!
You don’t have to be a safe-cracker to help yourself to the Vault’s contents as every Tuesday night this bar up on high provides the perfect combination of free drinks, incredible vistas and some top-notch tunes. Ladies can choose between grape or mixed beverages as their weapon of choice as they get their groove on to a set by DJ Adam J. Three glasses are completely free.
Free. Tue 7pm-midnight. JW Marriot Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).


Asia De Cuba FREE!
Purveyors of Dubai’s first full-on freebie for the fellas, this Westin haunt rightly walked away with our Best Gents’ Night gong in 2019. For two hours each Tuesday, the city’s man-folk will be served unlimited beverages. And although the ladies can grab the same offer, we feel there’s some one-upmanship to be had at this fusion restaurant by the sea.
Free. Tue 7pm-9pm. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 511 7333).

Ginter FREE!
Specialising in that most English of mixed drinks, this Marina hangout harks back to the old days when ‘palaces’ weren’t only frequented by royalty. On a Wednesday, The GINterman’s Night deal provides the first tipple for nowt along with 50 percent off a food selection including some dynamite shrimp and moreish beef short ribs. It’s just the tonic after a tough day at the office.
Free. Wed 7pm-1am. InterContinental Dubai Marina (04 446 6777).

After a hard day’s bashing away on the keyboard, QWERTY offers a much-needed screen break for the media types of an evening. Hirsute hacks (and those who can be bothered to shave) are often found here, especially on a Monday night when a bottle of hops and a short will set you back just Dhs20.
Dhs20. Mon 6pm-8pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).

The Dubliner’s FREE!
Looking for a gentleman’s agreement in Garhoud? Well look no further as this expansive yet inexpensive Irish pub furnishes the lads with three free drinks every Wednesday. If ever you needed an excuse to cheer on a team you’ve never heard of in the Champions League then this is it. You can also chow down on some half-price pub grub while you’re at it.
Free. Wed 5pm-2am. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 702 2455).

The Lion by Nick & Scott FREE!
Proving there’s no ‘folly’ in this amiable duo’s bid to conquer the Dubai F&B scene, Nick & Scott’s gastropub pulls in the punters from all walks of life. In a move that will delight those seeking some gender equality when it comes to beverage handouts, the ‘His & Hers’ night here gives the gents three free drinks from the happy hour menu.
Free. Tue 7pm-8pm. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).

ubk FREE!
Not content with offering an all-day happy hour with drinks coming it at Dhs30, this super-chilled JTL bar with instantly likeable staff also puts on a ‘Monday Manday’. Two beverages for zilch, plus some other very reasonable deals either side of the two-hour slot, are just what you need to say olé to ubk.
Free. Mon, 6pm-8pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, JLT (04 438 0000).

Weslodge Saloon FREE!
It’s easy to fall in love with Weslodge Saloon, especially given the staff are among the
most welcoming and accommodating around. But that famous Canadian hospitality and hearty grub isn’t just reserved for diners and brunchers as the gents’ night here proves. Two free drinks to welcome you are followed by half-price main courses.
Lobster poutine? Two please.
Free. Tue 7.30pm-midnight. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 560 1700).

Finance-friendly chain of hotels Aloft has hit on a winning formula with its signature bar, and the Deira version is just as enticing as the others we’ve visited across the UAE. Make ‘Hump Day’ more manageable with Man Cave Tuesdays and the promise of a free bottle of hops and the full gamut of house beverages for Dhs25 thereafter.
Free. Tue 4pm-1am. Aloft City Centre Deira (04 210 3333).


Barasti FREE!
A totally free pool day? Plus totally free drinks? You heard right. This casual beach bar offers ladies’ complimentary pool and beach access, as well as free-flowing pink frozen grape and mixed drinks on Sunday and Monday each week. Sign us up.
Sun-Mon 10am-4pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 318 1313).

The stunning beach club – and highly commended in our Best Beach Club category at the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2019 – has a top pool day deal for everyone. For Dhs200 you’ll get pool and beach access, even at weekends, plus for just Dhs100 ladies can get a sun lounger, a mixed drink, a poolside fruit bowl and a bottle of water every Monday and Tuesday.
Dhs100 (ladies), Dhs200 (gents). Mon-Tue, 10.30am-8pm. One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh (04 315 2200).

La Piscina FREE!
The swish pool club at the fancy Palazzo Versace Dubai is offering free access to everyone on weekdays. From 10am until 1pm from Sunday until Thursday you can have a chilled-out morning lazing by the Dubai pool. Did we mention there was a swim-up bar? And if free entry wasn’t enough, there’s also a range of deals throughout the week including unlimited sushi for Dhs199 every Wednesday from 1pm until 4pm, plus a ladies’ day on Monday where you’ll get free bubbly from 1pm until 4pm.
Sun-Thu 10am-1pm. Palazzo Versace Dubai, Al Jaddaf (04 556 8805).


This massive, swanky new beach club opened late last year, but ladies can head to the cool Palm Jumeirah spot every Tuesday between noon and 5pm and enjoy free-flowing mixed drinks and grape for Dhs100 or free-flowing mixed drinks, grape and house beverages for Dhs150, along with 50 percent off a special food menu. Gents can get in on the action for Dhs200 with Dhs100 back to spend on food and drinks.
Dhs100 (mixed drinks and grape), Dhs150 (mixed drinks, grape and house beverages). Dhs200 (gents – with Dhs100 F&B voucher). Tue noon-5pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (055 200 4321).


Wide awake from all that work? Or just an early riser? Put that awake time to good use by checking into B/Attitude in Dubai Marina. Every morning from 9am until 1pm you’ll get a welcome 20 percent off all treatments. Sounds like a good reason to set the alarm clock to us.
Prices vary. Daily 9am-1pm. Ongoing. Grosvenor House Tower Two, Dubai Marina (04 402 2200).

The Spa at FIVE – FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai
Like everything at this hotel, the spa doesn’t disappoint when it comes to slick and well-thought-out décor, particularly when it comes to the rooftop pool, complete with hydrotherapy jets to ease out any stress that could possibly be left. But there are deals to be scooped up. Choose the 45-minute massage and lunch deal, at Cinque, Maiden Shanghai, BEACH by FIVE or BLVD one one for Dhs499. What a treat.
Open daily 10am to 10pm. Ongoing. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai (04 455 9964).


Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel
If you fancy a southern sojourn then you can’t go far wrong with this recent four-star arrival. Along with its opening special giving you 25 percent off your room price, you can also double the fun by staying two nights or more and enjoying a free room upgrade, some signature mixed drinks, a late check-out, tasty breakfast and a 20 percent dining discount.
Prices vary. Ongoing. Sheikh Zayed Road, next to Ibn Battuta Mall, (04 574 3000).

Fairmont The Palm
This ‘Winter Away’ deal is ideal for those wanting to stay closer to home. You can grab up to 30 percent off the room rate, plus if you go for the half-board option you’ll get breakfast at Flow Kitchen and either lunch at Seagrill Bistro or dinner at one of three top restaurants. Oh, and if you want a break from the sprogs it’s throwing in two hours of play per child at the Fairmont Falcons Kids’ Club.
Prices vary. Available for stays until Tuesday, March 31. (04 457 3388).

Fairmont Ajman and Fairmont Fujairah
Fancy a jaunt to another emirate for less? Fairmont Ajman and Fairmont Fujairah have recently launched an all-inclusive deal, which boasts a ten-hour drink deal. But that’s not all, as staycationers can expect breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet, too. Don’t forget the 20 percent discount at Willow Stream Spa, too.
Weekdays: From Dhs1,500. Dates may vary. Weekends: From Dhs1,600. Dates may vary. Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Street, Ajman,,

JA The Resort

This homegrown hotel group really likes keeping the locals sweet – so much so that it’s offering UAE residents an exclusive chance to snap up an ultra all-inclusive staycation from just Dhs895 a night. You’ll stay at the JA Beach Hotel but be able to sample a wide selection of food and drink at 25 different outlets across the resort. The rooms have recently had a makeover, too.
From Dhs895 per room, per night (two night minimum – use promo code UAESTAY). Until April 30. Jebel Ali, (04 814 5800).

Media One
This all-inclusive deal is hugely generous with unlimited house drinks in Coco Lounge, garden on 8, QWERTY and café M from the time you check in until noon the next day. The garden BBQ and Smokes & Mirrors brunches are also included if you’re staying over on a Friday. If not, you can grab lunch, dinner and breakfast at QWERTY. Even us journos could be tempted to stick around for that.
Dhs600 (single), Dhs900 (double). Ongoing. Media City, (04 427 1000).

Rixos The Palm

2020 is a landmark year for this popular Palm hotel as from January 1 it became ‘Ultra All-Inclusive’. That’s great news for you as it means you can leave your wallet in the room and just go out and explore the 1km beach, 11 restaurants and bars, upgraded beverage offerings, a range of spa facilities and plenty of other activities. Book directly and save
20 percent.
From Dhs1,500 per room, per night (two sharing). The Palm Jumeirah, (04 457 5555).

Now counting six properties across Dubai, Rove’s expanding operation is proof it’s winning travellers over with proper hospitality. Several of its most popular deals involve lingering longer but we can’t wait for the rush given by Rove At The Park’s offer. Buy your Dubai Parks and Resorts ticket from Rove’s website and they’ll let you spend the night next door absolutely free. Check in.
Dhs275. Valid until Feb 20. Dubai Parks and Resorts, (04 561 9999).

Studio One
We’re all for a brilliant deal that will make planning your weekend that much easier. Enjoy a night’s stay for two for Dhs599 on Thursday, Friday or Saturday and they’ll give you Dhs300 back to spend at restaurants including LARTE, The Irish Village, Mr Miyagi’s, El Chapo’s Tacos and Boho. You can even use the vouchers on brunch or happy hour, which is an excellent deal.
Dhs599 per night for two. Available until February 29. Studio City, (04 581 6800).

Taj Dubai

We’re big fans of the bars and restaurants at this brilliant Business Bay hotel and you will be too if you snap up the ‘International Getaways Spa Sojourn’. Book a relaxing two-night stay and not only will you be served a hearty breakfast each day at Tesoro but you’ll also receive a soothing 60-minute treatment from a choice of Jiva Spa’s experiences.
Dhs895 per night (minimum two nights). Until April 25. Business Bay, (04 438 3100).


2-for-1 pizza at Cleo’s Table

We were already impressed by the ‘daycation’ deal at this Mediterranean restaurant at Caesars but now we could just really give it a hug after it announced twice a week you can get two-for-one on all wood-fired pizzas. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try the frutti di mare with its octopus, prawns and confit tuna.Few things make us happier.
From Dhs85 per pizza. Every Sun & Mon, noon-10.30pm. Caesars Bluewaters Dubai (04 556 6666).

All-you-can-eat at Shang Palace
If you’re dotty for dim sum, you can feast on different kinds of unlimited steamed, baked and deep-fried dim sum, hand-pulled noodles, stir-fried vegetables and rice with your choice of soup and dessert – all for under Dhs200.
Dhs180 (soft beverages), Dhs285 (house beverages). Fri Noon-4pm. Shangri-La Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 405 2703).

Aperitivo at Torno Subito
Massimo Bottura’s Torno Subito restaurant has a nightly aperitivo offer, featuring two signature mixed drinks and five bites for Dhs125. The deal is available every day of the week from 6pm to 8pm at the super-trendy W The Dubai – The Palm.
Dhs125. Daily, 6pm-8pm. W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 245 5555).

Brunch bunch at Atelier M

A veteran of the Pier 7 party scene, Atelier M still knows how to pull in the punters. And throughout February expect this place to be even more banging than usual as it’s offering a two-for-one deal on the famous ‘Feathers & Pearls Brunch’. So even if you’re totally skint, maybe a friend will take pity on you – then lend you Dhs199 to stay on for the new rooftop after-party.
From Dhs105 per person (with two-for-one discount). Fri 1pm-4pm. Until Feb 28. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 450 7766).

Business lunch at La Petite Maison
Looking for somewhere to wow your lunch date? Time Out Dubai’s Best French Restaurant, La Petite Maison, is now offering up a special deal. As part of the Déjeuner d’Affaires – meaning “special lunch” – you’ll get two starters, one main and ice-cream of the day for just Dhs180 a person. Fancy dining at a more affordable price.
Dhs180. Sun-Thu noon-3pm. Ongoing. Gate Village 8, DIFC (04 439 0505).

Cheese and grape night at folly by Nick & Scott
Cheese fans should visit this popular spot on a Monday, as every week from 5pm you’ll get a selection of British cheeses and two hours of unlimited grape for just Dhs295 a couple. The views are delightful and it’s an impressive spot to wow your date without wounding your wallet.
Dhs295 (for two). Mon 5pm onwards (two-hour package). Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).

Unlimited pizza at Il Faro
We’re big fans of this cute lighthouse spot with amazing views of Burj Al Arab. Impress your guests and book here on Tuesday night as for just Dhs150 ladies get unlimited pizza and free-flowing sparkling grape overlooking the still waters of the Palm. Gents, you’ll get the same deal for Dhs195. The ambiance is lovely, and the pizza is top-notch.
Dhs150 (ladies), Dhs195 (men). Tue 7pm-10pm. Azure Residences, Palm Jumeirah (04 568 3137).

STK Downtown
Celebrate surviving the first day of the working week by sampling the sights, sounds and smells at STK Downtown. Pick seven dishes from the special menu including Mac & Cheese, STK sliders, fillet steak and Nutella cheesecake and pair it with seven drinks. Then carry on the party with free entry to 1OAK where ladies can also get free drinks.
Dhs250. Sun 8pm-1am (STK) & midnight-4am (1OAK). Ongoing. The Address Downtown (04 425 3948).

The Locale
This might be quite a niche offer but we certainly think its worth mentioning. Residents of the Palm Jumeirah are bring invited to wholesome eatery The Locale at the new Andaz Dubai The Palm hotel to tuck into an unlimited breakfast offering for less than a Dhs100 note. Freshly baked bread and pastries are prepared daily alongside hearty breakfast favourites made to order.
Dhs99, half price for kids six to 12, free for under-sixes. Available until Mar 31. Andaz Dubai The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 581 1234).


Dubai Outlet Mall
You don’t have to wait for next year’s January sales to grab a bargain at this sprawling space on the Al Ain Road – its fine threads are available at knock-down prices every single day of the year. Adidas, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Diesel, DKNY, Guess, Nike, Superdry and Timberland are among the top brands selling their wares here with discounts of up to 90 percent. Get your style slick on Route 66.

Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Dubai-Al Ain Road, Dubailand (04 423 4666).

The Outlet Village

Finding that designer look can come at a premium. We have frivolous acquaintances who’d happily shell out Dhs750 on a branded T-shirt, but if that’s out of your budget, The Outlet Village can help you dress to impress without having to take out a loan. Armani, Hugo Boss, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Michael Kors and Ted Baker are just some of the names helping you look great on the cheap.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Near Dubai Parks and Resorts, Jebel Ali (04 317 9999).

The brainchild of self-confessed shopaholic Sian Williams, this Al Quoz operation offers pre-loved couture at a snip. Formerly known as My Ex Wardrobe, it hosts an array of events (often handily in tandem with ladies’ nights) and has a passionate following of fellow fashionistas wanting to turn one woman’s cast-offs into their own tailored treasures. Good for your wallet and the planet.
Opening times vary. Shop 5, 9394 Avenues, Umm Suqeim Road, (04 297 6777).

Fashion Rerun
Giving jettisoned clothing a second chance in life is at the heart of this online shop for the fashion, eco and finance conscious people of Dubai. Selling pre-owned items from a range of popular labels, it caters for style seekers young and old, big and small. With free delivery on all orders over Dhs150 and regular promotions, this is one Rerun you’ll want to see again and again. (04 346 1133).

Second Hand Dubai
This community of bargain hunters has thousands of followers not only via its Facebook page but also through its regularly updated website. You can buy all manner of things here from cars to computers, books to furniture, but if you’re just after a new wardrobe of the clothing variety all you have to do is find something you like and arrange to pick it up. Job’s a good’un.

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