Bali resort embraces 'digital detox' trend by banning mobile phone use around swimming pool

As Vienna launches an anti-social media campaign, a Balinese resort has introduced a strict 'no calls, no texts and no social media' policy

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 20 November 2018 17:40 GMT
Ayana Resort and Spa has a no-phone rule at just one of its five pools
Ayana Resort and Spa has a no-phone rule at just one of its five pools (Flickr/tofoli.douglas)

A Balinese resort has banned the use of mobile phones around one of its pools.

Ayana Resort and Spa, a luxury hotel on the southern coast of the Indonesian holiday island, prohibits calls, texts and social media use around its River Pool.

The resort says on its website: “The ethos of River Pool is to create a place of tranquillity, where our guests can truly relax and be ‘in the moment’. To ensure River Pool remains a haven for guests we limit the use of mobile phones, cameras, iPads, and any other electronic equipment between 9am-5pm.

“So during your time at River Pool we promise there will be no calls, no text, no pictures, and no social media – just you, River Pool and this moment!“

For guests who can’t bear to be parted from devices, the resort has four other pools to choose from. Those desperate to capture the River Pool on camera are encouraged to pay a visit between 7-9am or 5-7pm.

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The policy comes amid a growing trend for switching off and embracing the digital detox.

Vienna’s tourist board recently unveiled a new campaign, Unhashtag Vienna, encouraging visitors to get off social media.

The provocative tagline reads: “See Vienna. Not #Vienna. Enjoy the city behind your pics!”

The start of the campaign was marked by an event where Klimt’s famous Kiss piece in the Belvedere Palace was swapped with a replica and covered with a red hashtag, with visitors’ reactions captured on film.

Other places that ban smartphones

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

In 2015, the Rijksmuseum launched a campaign called #Startdrawing that encouraged guests to sketch rather than snap pictures of its works of art.

It didn’t outright ban the use of cameras or mobiles, but it strongly discouraged the practice by displaying an image of a crossed-out camera above the main entrance.

Scandinave Spa, Canada

This chain of four upscale spas in Canada doesn’t prohibit smartphones. However, it doesn’t offer wifi, gently dissuading guests from updating their Insta Stories every five minutes. It’s also a silent spa – noise of any kind is discouraged, meaning there are no phone calls, ring tones or annoying “alerts” to disturb the sense of relaxation.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel outright bans mobile phone use inside. According to the website: “Endeavouring to ensure the best possible experience for visitors, the Vatican Museums strongly discourage the use of mobile phones inside the exhibition spaces.

“Visitors are required to activate the silent function of their mobile device.

“The use of mobile phones is forbidden in the Sistine Chapel.”

Petit Jardin, France

This restaurant in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, three hours northwest of Marseille, has become known for its anti-devices policy. Diners are strongly discouraged from using smartphones or tablets – if they’re seen with one in the restaurant, they’re given a yellow card by a waiter who literally blows the whistle on them. A second offence results in a red card, at which point you’re booted out the restaurant.

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