If you think the latest travel trend is technology-oriented,
as in QR-coded
destinations and podcast walking tours, think again.
As travellers grow increasingly
irritated by the incessant buzzes, beeps and rings of personal devices, some
destinations are trumpeting electronics-free vacations – holidays from the
technology that threatens to overwhelm day-to-day life.
Whether it’s designating tech-free
relaxation zones, taking away guests’ mobile phones or establishing wilderness
boot camps with no wi-fi, cell phone reception or gadgets, hotels and resorts
are offering a bevy of options for travellers who are eager to unplug.
Marriott and Renaissance hotels are currently
Zones at nine of their hotels across the Caribbean and Mexico. These complementary
digital detox areas allow guests to sip beverages, play board games and read, and
visitors can even choose to do a tech-free, stress-free outdoor activity, such
No surprise, it was guests who inspired
the move. Marriot conducted a survey of more than 1,000 travellers and found
85% of guests have been annoyed by someone talking loudly on their cell phone,
50% reported checking emails and voicemails multiple times per day on holiday,
and 31% even admitted to being tempted to throw their mobile devices into the
Where else can tech-weary travellers go
Four Seasons Costa Rica launched a Disconnect
to Reconnect programme in November 2012, in which hotel staff swap guests’
smartphones for a tech-free activity guide that lists the non-electronic things
travellers can do, such as spa treatments, swimming and more.
Lake Placid Lounge in upstate New York is currently running a Check-In
to Check-Out package which asks participating guests to give up all
electronic devices upon arrival. The two-night package includes a cooking
class, hiking, boating, yoga, fishing and a choice of any current New York
Times bestseller (no, not an e-book).
Riverplace Hotel in Portland, Oregon’s Romantic
Revival package has hotel staff stashing away guests’ personal electronics
to provide them the opportunity to revive their relationships with a bottle of
sparkling wine, local chocolate truffles, a private butler and late checkout.
The adults-only, tech-free resort of Little Palm Island Resort and Spa
in the Florida Keys promises couples will have time to focus on enjoying each
other – and the setting – with its TV-, radio- and alarm clock-free facility. They
offer such activities as snorkelling, yoga, kayaking and paddle-boarding.
And for digital-espousers truly looking
to get off the grid, The Ranch at Live Oak
Malibu in California offers a “luxury boot camp” that aims to rid
travellers of toxins, tech or otherwise. The property has no wi-fi or mobile phone
service, and focuses on fitness and nutrition, with daily hiking and yoga
sessions along with healthy vegetarian offerings.