Faster Travel

Hi-tech versus digital detox

Juliet Kinsman
Juliet Kinsman

@julietkinsman

The most techie hotels are in Asia – but then so are the best resorts in which to switch off and disconnect from web, work and all that nonsense. Coolly hi-tech or digitally detoxed? Juliet Kinsman gives you the choice

Hi-tech: Naumi, Singapore
1

Hi-tech: Naumi, Singapore

This slick urban abode in Singapore’s CBD matches form with function thanks to built-in USB chargers and Apple TVs in its 73 rooms, as well as Google Home in its themed rooms and Nintendo Switch consoles available on demand. If you’re an Instagram addict, then it’s selfie sticks at the ready for Cloud 9’s tenth-floor deck with infinity pool — you’ll find the perfect perch from which to admire the city-state’s skyline and share it with your followers.

Digital detox: Tri, Sri Lanka
2

Digital detox: Vana, India

Spiritual development is at the heart of Vana, a 66-suite retreat in the Himalayan foothills. And that involves a strict no-phones and social-media blackout policy. The bold contemporary architecture is more European art gallery than ashram, but this hideaway health centre in north India practises its combination of therapies with great integrity. Ayurveda, sowa-rigpa (traditional Tibetan medicine) and yoga are what you will tune into here and, and by the end of your stay, you may hesitate about reconnecting with the outside world.

Hi-tech: Peninsula Tokyo, Japan
3

Hi-tech: Peninsula Tokyo, Japan

As hi-tech as the attention to detail is in this 24-storey luxury hotel in the business district of Marunouchi, thankfully it’s never intimidating. Make your 21st-century commands discreetly through easy-to-use switches in what are some of Tokyo’s biggest bedrooms. Lit-up labelled buttons let the hey-presto effect transform your bathroom into a private spa with Japanese classical music and soft lighting. In the dressing room, find a vent for drying just-painted fingernails, and a magic cubby that begs to take your clothes and return them freshly laundered and pressed.

Digital detox: Tri, Sri Lanka
4

Digital detox: Tri, Sri Lanka

Space to think – that’s the luxury of this unique, sustainable hotel in Sri Lanka, where three-quarters of the property is surrounded by Lake Koggala. Living walls, green roofs, recycled wood and entirely local materials make up the construction, while water is heated by solar power. Local culture and natural beauty are showcased intelligently in an inspiring landscape, with beaches, biking and walking tours among the distractions to lure you from this soothing sanctuary. Wake up to exotic birdsong, not the sound of your phone pinging.

Hi-tech: The Upper House, Hong Kong
5

Hi-tech: The Upper House, Hong Kong

Being paper-free is a priority of Swire Hotels’ super-boutique hotel in Hong Kong, The Upper House. Don’t worry about filling in forms: this is a place of iPads for check-in, digital concierge services – and, of course, there’s a tablet in your room. Here you’ll also find a high-definition IPTV (Internet Protocol television, to the non-geeky), the ultimate entertainment system for those who like to be wired for best-in-class sound and visuals.

Digital detox: Mirihi Island, Maldives
6

Digital detox: Mirihi Island, Maldives

Swap smartphones for sunshine and starlight and switch off completely here on the South Ari Atoll. The moment you set foot on this tiny private Indian Ocean island, with its soft white sand, nature is the star attraction. Swim straight from the steps of your stilted wooden villa onto the pristine house reef and spy marine life galore, from puffer fish to reef sharks. Night-time is also the right time to snorkel and scuba dive under moonlight – you can see bioluminescent plankton glow in the dark.