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Only a few years ago, it seemed that every potential traveler to the Caribbean was frantically researching if their preferred resort was wired. Frequent travelers to the region were well-aware that many resorts did an inadequate job of supplying Wi-Fi access. If they did have it, they often charged an extra fee for the service or made it available only in select public areas, such as the hotel lobby.
Resorts eventually responded to the groundswell of demand for connectedness and began making free Wi-Fi access available, both in rooms and throughout the resort. Flat-screen televisions in rooms became standard, with an ever-expanding selection of cable news channels. Some resorts even offered free long-distance telephone calls.
But sometimes, you can’t win for trying. Just when resorts stepped up to the plate and supplied full connectivity for guests, there’s more change underfoot. An increasing number of guests are now opting to disconnect and take a break from the constant onslaught of digital information.
A 2014 study by eMarketer found that the average adult spends five hours and 46 minutes per day with digital media. The health issues from this level of involvement are just beginning to be studied and include obesity, depression and sleep disorders. Vacations are a great time to take stock, and some travelers are looking at a digital detox as part of their plans for renewal.
Since most resorts are now completely connected, it can be a challenge to find ones that make it possible to disconnect. These four resorts in Jamaica won’t thwart the most determined from finding a way to post to Facebook or Instagram, but they will make it easier to execute a successful digital detox.
Jamaica InnThe iconic Jamaica Inn resort is situated on a private cove with a private 700-foot stretch of beach. The family-owned Ocho Rios luxury property dates back to 1958, when most households didn’t have a color television, let alone a brace of iPhones. The resort has 58 suites and cottages, without in-room televisions, radios or clocks. The ambience throughout the resort is relaxed, and it’s typically quiet as can be come midnight. Instead waking up and scrolling through their phone first thing, your clients can head down to the beach for a guided morning yoga session. The resort’s Ocean Spa recently added a sauna to the mix, where guests can also detox their body in the sauna’s heat and then rehydrate with a glass of lemongrass juice.
Rockhouse The 34-room boutique Rockhouse hotel in Negril has clifftop, thatched-roof villas that look out over the sea. The villas utilize natural stone, timber and thatch in their design and feature wraparound private terraces with sliding-glass doors; what they lack are telephones and televisions. The chic resort has a spa with cliffside cabanas, a 60-foot infinity pool, daily yoga classes, Caribbean Zumba and primo snorkeling. Rockhouse has three restaurants, including Pushcart, a modernized re-creation of a classic Jamaican jerk center.
Round Hill Hotel and VillasRound Hill has one of the most elegant pedigrees in Jamaica, as it was designed by fashion legend Ralph Lauren. The Montego Bay resort commands a position on a 110-acre peninsula and has an assortment of luxury villas and boutique oceanfront rooms. There are no in-room televisions in the guestrooms, making it possible for guests to avoid the nonstop chatter of political pundits spinning their wheels during the election. Guests can also enjoy al fresco terrace dining, an infinity pool and farm-to-table cuisine prepared from products grown in the resort’s own organic garden. Round Hill’s Elemis spa is in a restored 18th-century plantation house — far enough back that Alexander Graham Bell wasn’t even a gleam in his parents’ eyes.
The Spa Retreat Boutique HotelThe Spa Retreat Boutique Hotel resort has 18 handcrafted stone cottages situated dramatically along a rocky Caribbean seaside setting on the West End cliffs of Negril. While cottages do have Wi-Fi access, there are no clocks or in-room televisions. The adults-only resort often has special weeks devoted to wellness and yoga, and sunrise and sunset yoga sessions are a regular part of the mix. The resort has a spa, a seawater pool, a sandy beach deck and Blue Mahoe Restaurant, where guests can enjoy sea views during their meals.