Digital Detox Vacations: Check Your iPhone at the Hotel Door
Guests at the Petit St. Vincent Resort, located in the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, are treated to time away from technology and distractions.
Wi-Fi and big-screen TVs are expected amenities at most hotels and resorts these days, but an increasing number of destinations are now touting "offline" stays that restrict access to the Web and other technologies to encourage guests to power down and escape the ultra-connected outside world.
"It's difficult for some people to cut that virtual tether to the office or life back home, so a hotel or resort that does this for you may be just the thing they need to be in the 'here and now' while traveling, instead of staying connected to somewhere else," said Scott Campbell, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan.
Unplugging from the Internet -- especially email -- is important once in awhile whether you are on vacation or not, Campbell added.
"It blurs the lines between personal, family and work time. For some, these boundaries are difficult to manage with constant Internet access and this can lead to dissatisfaction in other aspects of our lives."
The concept of a disconnected hotel stay appeals to many couples and families looking to spend quiet time together, but people traveling for business are also taking advantage of the trend. Dan Naiman -- a New York-based comedian who travels the world for performances -- said he prefers staying at offline hotels for business to get work done without distractions.
"Although I'm pretty tech-savvy, I'm much more productive without Internet access when I have a project that needs to get done," Nainan said.
But the option might not be for everyone: "Offline hotels may sound appealing, though many people wouldn't want to stay at a place that doesn't have Wi-Fi," said Erik Qualman, author of the book, "Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business" (Wiley Publishing, 2009). "For those that don't have the willpower to take digital breaks every now and then -- logging off for a day or so at a time – a remote vacation option without connectivity may just be what the doctor ordered."
Here is a look at three places offering offline stays:
Petit St. Vincent Resort; St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Caribbean country St. Vincent and the Grenadines -- which is made up of 32 islands and cays, nine of which are inhabited -- is all about getting away from it all. In fact, the royal couple is rumored to be honeymooning on its island Mustique, one of their favorite vacation spots.
The lavish hotel Petit St. Vincent Resort, which is located on the island of Petit St. Vincent, boasts 113 acres of land surrounded by two miles of white sand beaches with 22 exclusive cottages. To make escaping even more possible, especially for couples and honeymooners that flock to the property, there are no TVs or telephones at the resort. In fact, when guests need room service, they get in touch with staffers by hoisting a small yellow flag on a bamboo pole outside the front door.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch; Emigrant, Montana
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in southwestern Montana takes advantage of the area's lack of cellphone reception by offering guests an easy way to forget about technology with activities including horseback riding, fishing and yoga classes.
Located within more than 8,000 acres of beautiful, rugged countryside that backs up to the Gallatin National Forest, the ranch prides itself of helping families power down and reconnect with loved ones.
"During our family stays -- which require a seven-night minimum -- it's critical for everyone to unplug, especially children," said Stacy Townsend, director of sales and marketing for Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. "In a remote environment where cellphone service is not an option, this is a place where handheld devices are forgotten and families are able to reconnect."
The Hotel Hāna-Maui; Maui, Hawaii
On the lush eastern coast of Maui, Hawaii, the Hotel Hāna-Maui encourages visitors to forget about the world outside of its plush, landscaped grounds. Perfect for honeymooners and couples celebrating anniversaries, the focus is turned to the views and being active outdoors.
"The beauty of the hotel is that it has that old Polynesian feel, with no TVs or clocks in the room," a hotel representative told TechNewsDaily. "There are other resorts in the area with Wi-Fi and HDTVs everywhere, but we want to turn it back to more simple times. This attracts repeat guests year after year."