The texts, the tweets, the pings – leave the mobile phone charger at home and accept the hashtag withdrawal: it’s time for a digital detox! Let go – and we’ve got just the right places to do so. Secluded and surrounded by rich nature, or jam-packed with activities, get inspired by these 10 places for disconnecting from social media while on holiday.
Longitude 131° – Yulara, Northern Territory, Australia
At Longitude 131°, you’ll be in the heart of the rugged outback of Australia’s Red Centre, with its red sand dunes, Aboriginal culture, and typical hot desert weather. Forget the smartphone – solid walking shoes and ample sunscreen are what will get you to Uluru (Ayers Rock), visible from each of the 15 luxury tents.
Far from being just a big rock, Uluru offers peaceful walks around the beautiful Mutitjulu waterhole, and views of ancient markings that sit nestled between the rocks. Yes, the luxury camp offers free Wi-Fi, but that compulsion to tweet will soon be trumped once you experience the crimson sunsets leaving the outback ablaze and disappearing on the horizon.
Getting there: From Sydney or Melbourne, catch a connecting flight to Ayers Rock Airport, followed by Longitude 131°’s complimentary six-minute transfer to the lodge. For the more scenic route, take the helicopter to the lodge’s helipad
Vythiri Resort – Wayanad, Kerala Region, India
At Vythiri Resort you can stay in your very own tree house perched above the rainforest canopy. No internet – just you and the chatter of the cicadas.
Indulge in an Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine), massage with aromatic oils to stimulate your body, and morning meditations to stimulate your mind, before embarking on the resort’s guided treks with the in-house naturalist. Your only way back home is across the gently swaying rope bridge above a flowing stream, an incessant reminder of your worries washing away.
Getting there: Vythiri is only an hour-and-a-half drive from Calicut (better known as Kozhikode to Malayalam-speakers)
Casa Arana – Albella, Huesca Province, Spain
An ideal starting point to discovering the National Parks of the Ordesa Valley, is the Casa Arana, a typical rural house of the Spanish Pyrenees. Ease into the morning and welcome the day on the patio, while listening to the chime of cow bells in the distance. In the afternoon, head out for a good walk: many sinuous paths weave from the house through green pastures and pine forests. Once you’ve reached the top of Peña Cancias, the view of the immense Monte Perdido (Lost Mount) will have you feeling lost in nature.
Come dinner time, the living space, with earthen-colored tiles on the floor and a stone-clad fireplace, will be filled with the aroma of a hearty local dish, made with vegetables from the garden.
Manta Resort – Pemba Island, Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania
You’ve checked into the Manta Resort, on Pemba Island off of the Tanzanian coast, where the horizon seems endless. Just as you think you’re ready to settle in, a boat pulls up to take you to your room – the one that floats by itself in the Indian Ocean. No neighbors: just you, the sky, the water … and the fish. On your personal floating apartments, sunbathe on the rooftop, read a book – a real book – or contemplate the coral reef from your private deck.
The real surprise is still a level below, in the underwater room where the outside word vanishes amid the silence of the sea. Mobile phone reception? You must be joking. The hotel’s attentive service is but a boat’s ride away, shipping you your meals according to your predefined schedule.
Echo Valley Ranch & Spa – Jesmond, British Columbia, Canada
Where Canadian hospitality meets Thai expertise, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is a truly Canadian ranch with a luxurious wellness spa. The ranch owners all but guarantee that you’ll feel the magic here, found in the vastness of the surrounding wilderness or in the way you instantly feel at home around the family dining table.
From the top of your horse (or Don the Donkey, the shorter alternative for kids), look across Fraser Canyon with its dense aspen tree forests. Echo Valley is a great way to challenge yourself to fly fishing, mountain-biking, or hiking up Mount Bowman with the ranch’s resident border collies. Disconnect to reconnect. With nature, that is.
Petit St. Vincent Resort – Petit St. Vincent, The Grenadines
In the middle of the Caribbean Sea, only accessible by a 20-minute boat ride, lies the private island of Petit St. Vincent. Here there are no telephones, no Wi-Fi, and no televisions. If you need anything, just put up the color-coded flags to signal the staff.
Forget yourself and forget the rest of the world as you indulge in fresh locally-caught seafood and organic fruits and vegetables from the island’s gardens. Salute the sun during morning yoga and catch an afternoon spa session – without forgetting to squeeze in a nap on the beach under the shade of a palm tree.
Getting there: After a flight to Barbados, a short flight to nearby Union island, and a 20-minute boat ride, you’ll be sipping on cocktails on the private island
Camp Grounded – USA
Why should kids get to have all the fun? This isn’t a hotel per se but definitely deserves its place on this list. At Camp Grounded, it’s the adults that get to dress up, paint their faces, learn silly dances, and share stories around the campfire. The only catch? All mobile devices are locked away upon arrival. Here, you don’t share likes or pictures, you share moments at Laughter Yoga tipi sessions and classes of Ukele 101.
Time stands still or, rather, fades away, as Camp Grounded doesn’t have any clocks. You also shed your name and career at the door, borrowing a temporary nickname and following the strict rule of not talking about your work – this camp is made to unite the campers, not differentiate them. From the pie-eating contests to the intensive creative workshops, you can be whomever you want to be or just enjoy being your true self.
Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa – Baden-Baden, Germany
Switch off, literally, at 19th century Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa. For the full digital detox experience book a room in Villa Stephanie, equipped with the infamous “kill-switch” – at the flick of your finger, all digital interference will be killed thanks to a unique architecture of copper plates in the walls: no more Wi-Fi and no more mobile reception. Fewer distractions indoors might inspire you to stay switched off even when discovering the historic spa-town Baden-Baden, or while hiking deep in the Black Forest.
At Brenners Park, combine your digital detox with a soothing treatment from the hotel’s medical specialists. With everything you need, from massage therapy to dental care, your body will be feeling fully revived, relaxed, and fully recharged
Getting there: Hop on the first plane to Karlsruhe, only 20 minutes from Baden-Baden by car.
Amankora – Bhutan
Amankora seems to have sprinkled seeds and humbly taken root along the Himalayan range, with its five lodges spread across Bhutan. On multi-destination itineraries, with nights in each of Amankora’s five lodges, visitors have the chance to witness a new sunrise over the surrounding pine forests almost every morning, if they should choose. You can, of course, stay in the same lodge for multiple nights if the idea of moving around is too much for a holiday. No matter which lodge you’re in, the word that resonates is spirituality, perhaps inspired by the ancient Buddhist traditions still very present in the area.
Why not practice total digital disconnection while visiting the cliff-hanging Tiger’s Nest monastery or the Cheri Goemba bridge covered in colorful prayer flags. Although the luxury lodges offer complimentary Wi-Fi, find your inner “like” button while you chow down on the lodges’ delicious dish of yak meat or while sipping on a soothing cup of Suja butter tea (a churned tea made with yak butter).
Getting there: Reaching the Paro Lodge, the entry point of the most journeys at Amankora, requires an hour’s drive from Paro airport
Château La Gravière – Vertheuil, France
If life without your phone is impossible, Château La Gravière might not be for you. Upon arrival, technology is traded for postcards, a blank travel log, and colored pencils – a well composed digital detox kit to stimulate your dormant creativity. During their “temporary disconnection” program, books, bikes and board games are to be used to your heart’s desire.
Château La Gravière, in Médoc wine country and not far from Bordeaux, is a great place to start for a visit of the castle’s viticulture, and a wine tasting followed by a culinary detox workshop. Disconnected and delicious.
Getting there: To get to Vertheuil you’ll need nothing more than an hour-and-a-half drive from Bordeaux