A true digital detox can be found in North Korea. That’s because tourists visiting the country aren’t allowed online. As many a journalist has discovered, “Foreign mobiles don’t work…and local SIM cards are expensive and unreliable.”
So when you say you need a digital detox; think carefully about what you mean, because unless you want to end up wiping your ass on leaves in Kim Jong’s DMZ, you need to be discerning about where you pick.
These are the cool places we’d recommend instead for a rejuvenation stint.
Bubbletent, Capertee Valley, Australia
5 star hotels have nothing on this giant transparent bubble, in which you can spend the night under millions of twinkling stars. Thanks to Bubbletent’s Aussie-first inflatable ‘glamping’ tent, which sits in a remote pocket of a working farm (between Mudgee and Lithgow) you can go technology free without giving up the comforts of home.
Providing gun barrel views over Capertee Valley, this state of the art bubble isn’t just good for you—it’s also good for the environment, designed to have a zero carbon footprint. And despite being off the grid, its plush queen-sized bed, cooking facilities and separate bathroom area ensure you aren’t sacrificing on comfort. Oh and there’s also a telescope for late-night stargazing, which you can do from the comfort of your bed.
Aro Hā Wellness Retreat, Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
The idea behind this getaway is this: when you escape to the edge of the world, it’s not enough to expect some vague notion of a digital detox to make you feel all warm and gooey inside. No. What you need is to spend a little time on (luxurious) self-improvement.
At the Aro Hā Retreat, in New Zealand’s southern alps, you can do just that, making the most of the Vinyasa yoga sessions, hiking routes and spa. However the biggest draw of this 20-room lodge is its setting—from your eco-friendly suite you’ll be surrounded by immense sapphire waters and snowcapped peaks.
Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
If seeing the Northern Lights has been on your bucket list since forever, but has taken a backseat to easier, more kid friendly holidays, now might be the time to revisit the idea. And this Ice Hotel is the vogue way to do it. Just 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle, this hotel is rebuilt every winter with the help of artists from around the world, and offers both ‘cold’ (made of ice) and ‘warm’ (normal) rooms, plus a legitimate Icebar.
As always, fortune favours the brave: those who are bold enough to book below-freezing accommodation will find their expertly-chiseled rooms stocked with reindeer hides and thermal sleeping bags, and bathrooms housed in a separate ‘warm’ section. And of course, from here you can join the Northern Lights Safari, available between September and March.
Conscious Earth, Algarve, Portugal
Leaving aside the fact that speeding is Portugal’s national sport (soccer comes in at a close second), the Algarve is the perfect place to switch off and relax (after being overtaken for the 20th time you’ll really appreciate the zen, too). And this restorative retreat is the perfect antidote to the tech-driven, overwhelming busyness of life.
Made up of a 40 hectare eco-estate nestled in the hills of Southern Portugal, this place is ideally located for you to enjoy all the beauty of the Algarve coast—and far enough away from the tourist towns for you to really breathe. Completely WiFi-free and with (almost) no mobile phone signal, there’s no better excuse to immerse yourselves in the natural delights of mother nature, living amongst sweet-scented olive and citrus groves, wildlife-steeped lakes and a sparkling river.
People To People Yoga Retreat, Cuba
Like Russia but sunny! Say what you like about communism: at least it provides equal opportunity to disconnect from the world wide web. In Cuba, for example, a special permit is required to go online (tourists can buy them from ETSECA offices) and all use is closely monitored. And although Wi-Fi hotspots (which charge $2 per hour) can be found in big cities, much of the country lives offline. If this isn’t enough to motivate you to leave the laptop at home, you may be a lost cause.
Try this retreat for daily yoga practice, salsa music and dance workshops, relaxing by the beach, historical tours of Old Havana, day trips to the local cigar factory and ecological lunches. People To People Yoga Retreat is also unique in that it encourages you to stay with a local, host family in order to get a real taste of the culture and Caribbean lifestyle.