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  • Writer's pictureWorld Half Full

Digital detoxes all the rage


In a bid to curb people’s screen-time habits, major hotels around the world have begun offering digital detox packages. Guests are being urged to take a tech break in the hope the atmosphere in common areas becomes more convivial. In a trial last year, US hotel conglomerate Wyndham Grand encouraged guests to switch off and unwind by providing snacks, prime spots by the pool, and the chance to win a free return stay. Wyndham Grand resorts also give families a five percent discount on their stay if they surrender their phones and place them in a timed lockbox. Guests responded so favourably to the initiative that the chain is planning to expand the program throughout its hotels. “Everyone wants to be able to disconnect. They just need a little courage," Lisa Checchio, Wyndham Hotels' chief marketing officer, told NBC News.

In Sydney, the QT offers a “Power Down” package. Guests are encouraged to relinquish their devices from 7am to 7pm. In return, they receive free juices, wine and cheese, and luxury bath products. There’s also a “Wellness Guru” on hand to help guests detox. “We all know that person who can’t get off their phone over dinner . . . when you have a hotel bar with people open to striking up a conversation, there is an immediate flow-on effect to the mood and ambience,” said QT’s Victoria Doidge. “A space rich in real-life interactions will always be favoured over a room of phone-lit faces mindlessly scrolling.” 

Meanwhile, UK hotel The Brecon Beacons holds an Unplugged Weekend. On arrival guests participate in a phone handing over ceremony. “It was a bit strange at first,” guest Kim Beckett told the BBC. “However, you soon learned to switch off and not be constantly connected to the outside world.” Rather than being glued to their screens, guests are offered meditation sessions, yoga classes and long hikes. The experience has made Beckett more aware of the amount of time she spends staring blankly at a screen. “Rather than going on my phone, I am going to make an effort to look around me. You realise you miss so many things that are going on right in front of you.”

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