Five of the best resorts to unplug and unwind
From an off-the-grid Canadian adventure lodge to a German wellness resort that kills all connectivity with the flick of a switch, these five hotels are daring travellers to shut down, unplug, and totally recharge.
The Ranch Malibu
Step off the grid and into nature at The Ranch Malibu, a 200-acre wellness resort located high above the Pacific Ocean in Southern California’s stunning Santa Monica Mountains. With a focus on its serene environment, the 18-cottage retreat maintains a strict no-smartphone-use policy during daily activities and meals. The Sunday-to-Saturday minimum stay encourages guests to reset their minds and bodies with yoga, meditation room, personal training, hiking, and spa treatments.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel + Spa
Disconnect from the digital world on the southernmost tip of Chile at the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, a sublime retreat perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Sarmiento and the mountain peaks of Torres del Paine National Park. Adventurous outdoor excursions liking hiking and horseback riding are complemented by a luxurious spa and cozy rooms with picture-perfect views of the magnificent landscapes outside. The experience is all the more relaxing without the use of your smartphone — which won’t have service or Wi-Fi this far out in the middle of nowhere anyway. (If you must plug in, Wi-Fi is available in some public areas.)
Nimmo Bay Resort
The only way to reach Nimmo Bay Resort is by helicopter, seaplane, or boat. Located at the base of Mt. Stevens in the middle of the Great Bear Rainforest, the resort is nestled in a small ocean bay on the mainland coast of northern British Columbia. The nine-cabin resort exists completely off the power grid, and for nine months of the year, it runs on clean hydro energy produced from an on-site waterfall. Heli-fishing, hiking, guided kayaking, whale-watching tours, and other outdoor adventures distract visitors from the lack of cell service (though satellite telephone is available by request) and limited-bandwidth Internet.
The elegant Gstaad Palace offers something far off — and above — the beaten path: the charming and rustic Walig Hut, a truly back-to-nature experience in the Swiss Alps. The lofty aerie, located 1,524 metres above the picturesque valleys of Gstaad and Saanenland, features solar-powered electric lighting, running water (cold only!), and a traditional wood-burning stove — but no cell service or Internet connection. Of course, if all that disconnection has you itching for something more civilised, Gstaad Palace can whisk guests back to the resort for multicourse meals and indulgent spa treatments.
Brenners Park-Hotel + Spa
Set along the banks of the Oos River in the foothills of Germany’s Black Forest, Oetker Collection’s Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa offers the perfect escape from technology with its Villa Stéphanie suites. Coated copper plates embedded in each room’s walls block electronic signals, allowing guests to flip a switch at their bedside table and completely disconnect from Wi-Fi. An additional switch disconnects electricity to the entire room, guaranteeing a perfect night’s sleep.