Gone are the days when “we’re all going on a summer holiday” meant “no more working for a week or two”. The internet has done wonderful things. It’s toppled corrupt governments and proved how much cats love shoe boxes. But it also means you’re only ever a click from the office. Perhaps that’s why half of us can’t leave our emails alone, even when we’re at the beach, according to a poll by Travel Republic.
The number of people on their phones leaps precipitously when you toss in the demands of Facebook friends, your Twitter cabal – or nailing the perfect #sunsetselfie on Instagram for those folks commuting at home. Good for your likes, not for your brain; a study by the Happiness Research Institute found that just a week off social media makes you feel more satisfied with life.
Maybe that’s why the world is now dotted with digital detox havens, where you can unwind without worrying about your boss or your feed. And they don’t demand dawn wake-up calls and a balance chakra. At least, not all of them.
Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand
Peeping out from the hillside in the heart of Koh Samui’s rainforest, this award-winning sanctuary is the type of place you go to meditate with monks and contort yourself in ways you never knew possible.
Phones are banned outside your room, so it’s all about soaking up nature’s glories. You can choose from various wellness programmes and everything is designed to calm and energise – think goji berry breakfasts that prep you for burnout-beating t’ai chi classes. A workout for body and brain.
Rooms from £145 per night (the seven-night Relax & Renew programme starts at £2,446), available at kamalaya.com.
Petit St. Vincent, Caribbean
You’re greeted by 115 acres of paradise at this private island, which is located on the southern tip of the Grenadines and accessible only by boat.
There’s no WiFi, so you’ll have to wait until the airport to Instagram the cerulean water, white sand beaches and golden sunsets (and make those back home green with envy).
There are 22 thatched cottages interspersed on the island, as well as plenty of fresh seafood, and with boat trips, watersports, yoga and spa treatments all available you certainly won’t be bored – unless you want to be, of course.
From approx £820 for two people per night, available at petitstvincent.com.
You have no chance of getting a signal at this former monastery, tucked away in the hills of Umbria and designed like a medieval fortress.
Targeted at soul-searching solo travellers and featuring rooms based on monastic cells, it’s not exactly the place to go for a party. In fact, speaking is forbidden at dinner. Which means all the more time to focus on you – and whether you ever actually want to go home.
Solo rooms from approx £135 per night, available at eremito.com.
The Oaks, Shropshire, England
If dodgy signal doesn’t stop you checking your phone, the scenery definitely will.
Set in the heart of the South Shropshire hills, the five-bedroom country house is as quintessentially English as you can get – an Aga, log fireplace and two-acre garden are your companions, and it’s all surrounded by verdant fields, which offer ample opportunity to forget about city life entirely (and an excuse to pull on your Hunter wellies).
From £266 per night for up to 10 people, available at homeaway.co.uk.
Estrella Vincci Hotels Del Mar, Spain
Sitting on the outskirts of Marbella and set right on the beach, this five-star abode blends Mediterranean and Arabic design to stylish effect.
There’s a boutique spa and good restaurant as well as three pools, and you can opt for the ‘Digital Detox Pack’ – which essentially means trading in your electronics and opting for massages, thermal circuits and infinity pools instead. We’re sold.
From approx £125 per night including a wellness package, available at en.vincciestrelladelmar.com.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado, USA
Fancy staying at a former mining camp-turned-ghost town? Built in the 1800s in the San Juan Mountains, Dunton Hot Springs is now a cluster of luxury private cabins, where big spenders come to live out their cowboy dreams.
It’s as isolated from the digital world as you can get, bordered by rivers, mountains, hot springs and waterfalls. But solitude now comes with luxuries like a spa, restaurant and 19th-century saloon.
Butch Cassidy even carved his signature in the bar here – shame you won’t be able to share that on Snapchat.
Cabins from approx £527 per night, available at duntonhotsprings.com.