Digital detox: Hotels help guests take vacation from digital distractions

A vacation should mean no distractions, but more and more often, we can’t put our phones away for anything, even quality family time.

But some hotels and resorts are challenging guests to cut the cord to technology and lock their devices up for at least a few hours.

Officials with the hotels that have taken the drastic non-mobile device route say they're trying to promote wellness and relaxation by setting phone-free times at pools or even banning them from any public place, The Associated Press reported.

Owners also hope the blessed silence and lack of distractions distractions will bring return visitors to their properties.

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Wyndham Grand has gone as far as offering the best pool locations, free food and a chance to win another visit to guests who lock up their phones in a pouch kept by the guests but only able to be unlocked by hotel staff, according to the AP.

So far 250 people have tried locking up their devices in Florida and Texas, and the idea will spread to other Wyndham hotels.

The company also gives a 5 percent discount if guests traveling with families lock up their phones in a timed lock-box. The hotel then gives them a pillow fort, s’mores, a book and instant cameras for both adults and kids to have something to do when they can’t check out Twitter or Snapchat 24/7.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Mexico is a little more drastic. It has a detox concierge who will remove electronic devices, trading them with board games. At its sister resort, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, guests give their phones to the front desk in exchange for a bracelet that earns them access to resort activities. Once they do at least four activities, their phones are earned back, the AP reported.

Not all companies are going for a total ban, knowing full-well that a phone isn’t just a phone anymore. The devices we all depend on are also cameras and sometimes the only contact in the event of an emergency.

Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali, Indonesia, bans phones at its River Pool from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outside of that time, guests are allowed and encouraged to take photos and post to social media as much as they want, the AP reported.

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