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Hotels for Digital Detox

  • Rodavento

    Rodavento Boutique Hotel, Mexico

  • Serenity at Kanam Estate Vazhoor

    Serenity at Kanam Estate, India

  • Asaba

    Asaba, Japan

  • Slow Life Umbria

    Slow Life Umbria, Italy

  • Hotelito Desconocido

    Hotelito Desconocido, Mexico

  • Hamadryade Lodge

    Hamadryade Lodge, Ecuador

  • Galapagos Safari Camp

    Galapagos Safari Camp, Ecuador

  • Huka Lodge

    Huka Lodge, New Zealand

  • Bloomfield Lodge

    Bloomfield Lodge, Queensland

January, 2013

Sometimes you’ve got to unplug to recharge. For technophobes and for bleary-eyed digital device–addicts alike, the appeal of a back-to-basics hotel — no wi-fi, no glowing screens — is obvious. These hotels do away with the distractions so that you can stay blissfully disconnected from the stresses of life back home.


Rodavento Boutique Hotel
Valle de Bravo, Mexico — Search all you want for a wi-fi signal — by foot, by horse, by kayak, through the forest and across the lake, at your canvas-roofed villa on a hill, in the claw-foot tub, on that private deck furnished with sun loungers; you won’t find it. And you’ll be just as hard to track down, yourself. Outside Mexico, the unspoiled Valle de Bravo is virtually unknown.
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Serenity at Kanam Estate
Kerala, India — Even in Kerala, a Southern Indian state whose most touristed stretches are literally backwaters, Serenity stands out as a place that’s particularly cut off from the rest of the world. It’s no more than five simple rooms on a century-old rubber plantation surrounded by miles and miles of lush, rolling hills. Internet and TV would simply be absurdities in this setting; electric lighting is about as high-tech as it gets. On-site entertainment consists of a hammock and a pool. Off-site, it comes by way of non-motorized transport, with excursions into the surrounding countryside by bike, foot, elephant and oxcart.
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Izu Peninsula, Japan — A little pond ringed with bamboo, twelve tatami-style rooms and a collection of steaming open-air baths — that’s about all you get at this traditional ryokan. If there’s any question whether this is a good formula for hospitality, suffice to say it’s been working at Asaba for some three hundred and fifty straight years. Checking email? It can wait till you’re back in the future.
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Slow Life Umbria
Perugia, Italy — It turns out they’ve got wi-fi, but nobody has to know. The place is called Slow Life, after all, and it’s rural Italian hospitality pared down to its essence: a 17th-century farmhouse outside Perugia, twelve well-designed rooms and suites, a fine and simple restaurant, and a magical setting in the Umbrian countryside.
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Hotelito Desconocido
La Cruz de Loreto, Mexico — It’s easy to unplug when you’re literally off the grid. Hotelito Desconocido is powered entirely by solar panels. At night, it’s illuminated only by candlelight, a collection of gently glowing huts in the darkness of a pristine estuary on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The private palafitos, traditional fishing-village bungalows set on stilts above the waves of the water, are cooled by solar-powered ceiling fans and breezes off the ocean.
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Hamadryade Lodge
Tena, Ecuador — Instead of screens to stare at, the five toquilla-roofed bungalows have furnished open-air porches overlooking a vast expanse of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Once you’ve tired of the view, there are any number of caves and waterfalls to explore on the sixty-four acre property, and a candle-lit dinner amidst the sounds of the forest to round out a hard day’s leisure.
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Galapagos Safari Camp
Galapagos, Ecuador — If anyone asks whether you’re reachable, just explain that you’re camping in one of the most famously isolated places on the planet. Never mind that “camping” means a safari-style tent with a balcony, a hammock and an en-suite bathroom, just around the way from a dining room and bar. The point here is to explore the wilderness, to step into the real-life version of a nature documentary, hanging out in the company of the strange old creatures that have enjoyed these islands’ solitude since pre-historic times.
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Huka Lodge Taupo
Taupo, New Zealand — There’s a little business center somewhere in the lodge, but if anyone ever finds it, they’re lost, either literally or figuratively. Better to spend the day casting for trout in Lake Taupo or some of the forty nearby rivers; the water is thick with fish, attracting anglers from all over the world. Even if you aren’t a fisherman (or a golfer or horseback rider or hiker or river rafter, for that matter), the idyllic wooded riverfront just outside the secluded and expansive suites should make it easy enough to leave technology behind.
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Bloomfield Lodge
Cairns, Australia — The voyage to Bloomfield Lodge, set in the remote and unspoiled Daintree Rainforest in the far north of Queensland, involves a small plane landing on an outback airstrip, a trip by boat down a river and across a bay, and finally a return to terra firma to reach the lodge. The sixteen cabins, each located in various states of remoteness amidst the wooded hillside overlooking Weary Bay, limit the available technology to a minibar and a direct dial telephone. There’s no television in sight — and trust us, you won’t miss it.
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