Hawaii Island Retreat's accommodations are unplugged and stress-free. // © 2015 Li'a Wailani
Feature image (above): Technology takes a backseat to nature and culture at Travaasa Hana, Maui. // © 2015 Travaasa Hana, Maui
Hawaii’s unplugged hotels are helping their guests connect to the present. Offering accommodations free of distracting automated sounds and images, they’re creating rare environments where visitors can relax and appreciate the beauty of the here and now.
The following island lodgings have tuned out the technological buzz, allowing clients to plug into their surroundings and recharge their souls.
Hanalei Colony Resort (Kauai)
Kauai is already a mellow island, but this 5-acre oceanside oasis — near the end of the two-lane north shore road — takes serenity to the extreme. With no TVs, stereos or phones to sideline them, guests trade in their real-life concerns for views of Hanalei Bay from their private lanai.
Waterfall-strewn mountains watch over the resort as if they’re protecting it from the modern world. Outdoor barbecues, weekly complimentary continental breakfasts and afternoon mai tai parties invite old-fashioned human contact.
Hawaii Island Retreat
Perched on North Kohala cliffs, this 50-acre hotel and spa has gone fully off the grid. Using the likes of solar panels and a windmill, the retreat draws from the earth’s generosity without skimping on style as a boutique hotel. Its organic gardens and orchards provide a menu in harmony with nature.
Guests don’t notice the lack of in-room TVs and phones as they meditate, do yoga, float in the infinity pool and try a spa treatment. To pare down the experience even further, visitors can book one of the retreat’s Hawaiian yurts.
Kalaekilohana Inn & Retreat (Hawaii Island)
Set on Hawaii Island’s wild south side, this inn forgoes the paperwork at check-in. Instead, the staff welcomes visitors like old friends and helps them settle into one of four suites, all TV-, phone- and radio-free.
Except for the kitchen, clients have the run of the place, from its comfy front lanai to a refrigerator stocked with gratis beverages. Locally sourced breakfasts are complimentary for guests, with healthful dinners for an extra fee. Starry night skies outshine any screen saver imaginable.
This 2-acre west Maui beachfront hideaway transports clients to a simpler time. Built in 1959 on Napili Bay by a Hawaiian family, its nostalgic architecture and no-frills hospitality encourage interactions between guests and their environs.
Instead of phones, stereos and TVs, units feature well-appointed kitchens that invite meaningful conversations over a home-cooked meal, just like the old days. During the weekly poolside Sunset Aloha Party with live entertainment, no one thinks twice about their laptops.
Travaasa Hana (Maui)
Don’t try to fight the allure of rural Hana and its signature hotel. Cooled by trade winds and ceiling fans, Travaasa’s cottages and suites are at once laid-back and luxurious, with nary a radio, clock or TV in sight.
Clients tap into the real Hawaii through activities like throw-net fishing and canoeing. Spa treatments use natural healing products, and menus honor fresh, island-grown ingredients. At this unplugged east Maui hotel, the only call that guests want to answer comes from the great outdoors.