Updated: Oct 8, 2020
We now live in an incredible world where staying connected is never more than a click away. Wi-Fi, laptops, tablets and mobiles enable us to sign in, tweet, post and Google from anywhere. Yet this same technology also makes it tougher to get away from it all and truly relax, especially when we are expected to be connected 24/7.
In fact, nearly half of us feel so controlled by our devices that we can't help but respond to every text and email even if we are sunbathing by the pool.
Just 10 years ago, leaving the wired world was easy. But growing demand for mobile phone coverage and wireless Internet access in even the most remote places has changed that. Perhaps that's why, forward-thinking destinations and resorts such as Petit St Vincent in the Grenadines and Soneva Fushi in the Maldives have created unique environments where it is easy to enjoy a technology detox and simply spend some quality time with your loved ones making them the go-to digital detox hotels. After all, it's hard to be persuaded to join a 'quick' remote conference call if you never received the invitation in the first place.
There was a time when we went away to get away, when the only correspondence we would have with our family and friends was a postcard to say 'wish you were here'. Now of course, wherever you go your friends, family and colleagues are in effect there too, thanks to the latest technology. This leaves those seeking a break from work and their digital devices with two choices: travel far out of range or employ the willpower to refrain from checking your emails. But things could be about to change.
Hotels that are embracing this emerging trend to free us from constant communication are often referred to as black hole resorts, where the greatest luxury is dropping off the grid.
If you want nothing more than to unplug from your technology this year, embrace the joy of true quiet with our selection of hand-picked digital detox holidays...
Belmond La Residencia
To visit Mallorca without sampling the delights of this legendary Belmond hotel in the beautiful mountain hideaway of Deià would almost be a crime. Created from three lovingly restored manor houses, with views down over the shady terraces to the rugged hills beyond. Its superb location and spacious rooms have attracted a who’s who of guests, as has the enticing gourmet cuisine of El Olivo, the candlelit restaurant set in a former olive press, or dine more informally on local specialities and enjoy cocktails at Café Miró at Son Moragues, to the sounds of live piano music. For recreation, relax around the large outdoor pools; join yoga sessions or classes in painting, sculpture and ceramics.
Revitalise your senses with an alfresco massage at the spa or unwind in the Jacuzzi, sauna and indoor swimming pool. Activities include two tennis courts with views of the mountains and Mediterranean Sea and complimentary boat tours to explore the Mallorcan coast. A shuttle service to Cala Deia Beach is also available.
With a name that means ‘soft breeze’ in Berber, this ravishing retreat in the Atlas foothills transcends the merely luxurious. A forty five minute drive from Marrakech, Sir Richard Branson’s hotel lies in extensive grounds brimming with a lush variety of fruit trees, cacti and rambling roses – hidden staircases and courtyards appearing at almost every turn. Inside, eighteen antique-adorned rooms and suites marry traditional Moroccan colours and textures with more modern architectural notes. For added indulgence, nine spectacular Berber Tented Suites are perched on the hillside, five with private Jacuzzi.
Retreat to the Asounfou Spa with hamman and indoor pool for indulgent cosseting, whilst outside lies an infinity-edge pool and Jacuzzi with views to valley and mountain. Meander the pretty garden paths to the tennis courts or explore the breathtaking surroundings on foot or by mule.
Post Ranch Inn
Idyllically perched upon the cliffs of California’s Big Sur, the award-winning Post Ranch Inn is a 5 star ranch-style hotel offering the ultimate romantic and secluded experience for its guests. Part of the Passport Resorts family alongside Cavallo Point Lodge, the luxury retreat is built on the values of natural, sustainable design and a soulful guest experience, making it one of the best places in California to escape the hustle and bustle. With no televisions in the guest rooms, some of the most breathtaking views in California and a whole host of rejuvenating experiences on offer, couples are given the opportunity to truly connect. Luxury honeymoon packages can be arranged, which feature the likes of a champagne breakfast in bed, delectable four-course dinners at Sierra Mar and private couples’ massages.
Relaxation comes in the form of indulgent private deck massages and leisurely afternoons spent in the Jade and Meditation infinity spa pools, overlooking the ocean horizon. Those wishing to explore beyond the sanctuary of Post Ranch Inn on their luxury California holiday can enjoy the use of a complimentary shuttle around the Big Sur area or a premium Lexus vehicle; Carmel, Monterey and Pebble Beach are all only approximately an hour’s drive away.
The Resort at Paws Up
Nestled amongst some of Montana’s finest scenery, this family-friendly luxury ranch resort boasts a range of exquisite rustic wilderness homes and ultra- chic safari style tents, a plethora of outdoor activities and some of the finest dining experiences in the region. From the individually designed Wilderness Estates to Big Timber Homes, the luxury accommodations offer panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside, complete with private decks, hot tubs and a complimentary personal vehicle. On the working ranch, guests can enjoy everything from simple riding lessons to Wagon Team Driving and Cattle Drives, whilst a whole host of alternative activities tempt involvement in the summer: hot air ballooning, mountain biking, white water rafting and lake excursions to name but a few.
Premium cuisine comes courtesy of Executive Chef Ben Jones, who brings a mix of flavours to the resort; savour rustic ranch cuisine at Pomp, enjoy comforting specialities with a western flair at Trough or join one of the many cookery camps and events throughout the year. In the evenings, families and couples come together to toast s’mores over the fire pit and listen to ancient tales from local cowboys.
Set amidst the seeming emptiness of the vast Makgadikgadi salt pans and grasslands - geophysical relic of a giant super lake - award-winning Jack’s Camp offers a genuine wilderness experience. Classic 1940’s style canvas tents provide atmospheric living graced with Persian rugs and paraffin lamps, the luxury en-suite bathrooms complemented by indoor and outdoor showers, the private veranda provides rugged wilderness views. Candle-lit dinners, inclusive of excellent wines, are served in the elegant mess tent, while a small library and numerous artefacts in the main lodge area have seen the camp designated as ‘national museum of Botswana’. Astronomy evenings provide a unique perspective on the universe; guided walks are led by Zu/’hoasi Bushmen who first accompanied Jack into the area.
Explore on quad bikes during the dry season (April - October) and witness the zebra migration during the green season, the area also being renowned for Black-Maned Kalahari Lions, brown hyena and habituated meerkats. Exhilarating helicopter flights have recently been added to the activity options and, from 2018, Jack’s will have a helicopter permanently based there which will be able to take three guests at a time.
Hidden away on a secluded sandy cove just east of Ocho Rios, this family owned idyllic retreat is renowned for its high standards of service and luxury. The genteel atmosphere is reflected in the well-appointed suites, each boasting a spacious furnished balcony or terrace living room, with views towards the ocean. Perched on the bluff is a small collection of exclusive ocean view cottages, most featuring a private plunge pool.
Blissful days are spent by the pool or on the 700 foot private beach, where the complimentary beach service includes a morning round of refreshing fruit or Planters punch. August through to October are the best months for witnessing the hatchings of the baby turtles on the beach at Jamaica Inn - an unforgettable experience that will be sure to make your holiday. The Ocean Spa nestled within the cliffs of Cutlass Bay, with open-air spa rooms tends to the body’s physical and spiritual needs, whilst golf, horse-riding and tennis are available nearby.
Powder white sands, unusually rich vegetation, crystal clear waters and understated luxury is what the original desert island hideaway is all about. Soneva Fushi is fifty seven vast villas and private residences, ranging from one to nine bedrooms, all hidden amongst dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine, UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve.
If the experiences are magical, the philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers who know what you want before you want it. Every visit makes you feel young again. Watching movies in Cinema Paradiso, deciding between sixty flavours of ice cream, eleven types of pillow, five hundred different wines, six different restaurants and countless destination dining options too. Children are well looked after at the state-of-the-art children’s Den whilst adults indulge in a variety of body treatments and specialist traditions in the Six Senses Spa.