Unlike Abu Dhabi, Dubai has a veritable smorgasbord of choice when it comes to Wi-Fi access, although not all of it is free or straightforward.
Find free Wi-Fi in Dubai
Unlike Abu Dhabi, Dubai has a veritable smorgasbord of choice when it comes to Wi-Fi access, although not all of it is free or straightforward. Almost all Wi-Fi locations in Dubai are serviced by Etisalat or Du - the former charges for their Wi-Fi, the latter doesn't. In both cases, you don't need to be a Du or Etisalat phone or internet customer, just ensure that your laptop is Wi-Fi-enabled so you can connect to either provider. The confusing part is that Starbucks' Wi-Fi, for example, is provided by both Du and Etisalat, so before you head out for your coffee and cyber-searching, double check who the venue's provider is so you don't get caught short (du or Etisalat) and search under Wi-Fi.
The coffee's good, and the comfy seats are even better. Put your feet up, get your caffeine fix and browse the web to your heart's content - stay for hours if you like, there's never any rush. But with Starbucks cafes two to a penny, choose your hotspot wisely - some offer free Wi-Fi (Du), others don't (Etisalat). Central tourist locations such as Mall of the Emirates require prepaid hotspot credit, whereas less central venues don't, such as Ibn Battuta Mall or branches in Satwa and Jumeirah.
04 226 2788 Dotted all around Dubai, you're never far from one of the city's public libraries - Al Safa, Al Rashidiya, Al Tawar? the list goes on. Wi-Fi may not be free, but at Dh1 per hour, it might as well be. The libraries' levels of luxury vary, but as some are brand new, the interiors are modern and far less fuddy-duddy than one might imagine. Plus, it's cheap and readily available - just don't forget your laptop.
04 213 6213 Once you've hit the shops and crippled your credit card, kick back and enjoy something for free. With complimentary Wi-Fi available on the ground and first floor of Festival City shopping mall, just find a spot on a bench or quench your post-splurge thirst in one of the cafes.
04 436 8888 If you're looking for five-star surroundings for your surfing, this is it. For an afternoon of elegance and refinement at one of Dubai's hottest hotels, splash out and surf sites in style. Wi-Fi internet access is free for guests and those using hotel facilities, so why not indulge yourself? splash out on tea and cake at Risala restaurant or lounge by the water at Zeta pool bar. Luxury logging-on as only Dubai can.
With squishy leather chairs and coffee on tap, Caribou is another comfortable cafe to set up camp. Plus, with 18 branches dotted round Dubai, you're never far from a free Wi-Fi hotspot (try Uptown Mirdiff Retail Center, Mirdiff, 04 288 8375; or Arno At The Views, The Greens, 04 422 4206).
Not your typical internet destination of choice, but handy to know regardless. If delays have you grounded for hours or there's that all-important e-mail you just have to send, luck is on your side because the airport provides free Wi-Fi access to all. Power points can be found along some walls, although they're not always easily accessible. As airports go, this is one of the finest and most comfortable - there are certainly worse places to enjoy a few hours of internet action.
This modern hotspot is perfect for getting away from the usual hustle and bustle of Dubai's cafes. On top of free Wi-Fi at all of their locations, the tasty home-baked pastries are an added enticement (Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 343 8311; The Majarah Tower 2, Dubai Marina 04 368 9111).