Best Places to Unplug
Scarleth White, flickr
Hotel Hana-Maui, Maui, Hawaii
The road to the windward-side town of Hana includes 617 white-knuckle switchbacks and 56 one-lane bridges -- a deterrent to the tourist hordes crowding other beaches on this island paradise. But it's worth a hair-raising ride to get to the 1940s plantation-style buildings that make up the Hotel Hana-Maui. There's no need to watch TV or surf the Web here. The hotel boasts ocean views of mama whales teaching newborns how to breach during whale season. And it's not just technology you can strip away. So remote and quiet, Hotel Hana proudly lays claim to Hawaii's best nude beach.
Mary Jane's Farm, Moscow, Idaho
Organic ideals are not just about vegetables, they're a lifestyle at this Idaho bed and breakfast, located near the Washington border (Spokane is less than two hours away). It's all about getting back to the land on the 50-acre organic farm, where you can pick your vegetables for the evening's fresh-from-the-farm supper. At night you stay in a cozy, walled tent with comfy beds, but no electricity. Bathe outside and off-the-grid in a private fire-warmed tub, while staring at the stars under a great big Western sky.
Caneel Bay, U.S. Virgin Islands
For that delicate blend of ultra-luxury with a low-key vibe, head to St. Johns in the U.S. Virgin Islands. On a former 18th-century sugar plantation in what is now a protected national park, Caneel Bay resort has seven secluded white-sand beaches and a mere 166 rooms (smaller than most Caribbean resorts), none of which peek above tree line. But most importantly, televisions were recently banned, so this lush and exclusive getaway now puts the outside world on mute.
King Pacific Lodge, Northern British Columbia
Picking your room is the hardest things you will do at the King Pacific Lodge, a two-hour flight from Vancouver. Do you want a Wilderness View Room, where even the soaking tub could have a perfect vantage point of the Great Bear Rainforest and passing wildlife? Or how about a Waterfall Suite for a view of ocean and the waterfall (of course). Wherever you choose to stay at this floating wilderness lodge, you won't miss plugging in and logging on. You can spy pods of orcas, spawning salmon, and baby bear cubs rough-housing right on the shore.
Little Palm Island, Florida
Seeking exclusion and exclusivity in South Florida? Hurry to Little Torch Key in the Florida Keys, where an entire five-acre island has been turned into a 30-suite bungalow hotel. Little Palm Island Resort is so committed to leisure and relaxation that it banned every form of entertainment that might include a screen. Wander on crushed shell paths from your hammock to the dock to the beach, then take a nap -- you won't know how long you've been gone, since there aren't even clocks in the rooms.
Cibolo Creek Ranch, Western Texas
This isolated dude ranch is about 45 minutes outside of Marfa, Texas, one of the art-world's most precious pilgrimage sites. But Cibolo Creek Ranch feels worlds away from civilization. Rooms are spread over three 1850s adobe forts on the 30,000-acre property. You'll sleep soundly in the quiet of West Texas, especially since you will spend your days horseback riding, hiking the dozens of trails that crisscross the property and fishing for catfish. Of course, if you do have trouble dozing, there is a telescope to take in the stars lighting up the Big Bend skies.
Ladera, St. Lucia
Let the outside in at this St. Lucia eco-retreat where nine open-air villas and 23 suites boast unparalleled jungle and mountain views. Whether hiking through the rainforest in the volcanic Piton mountains or soaking up the sun in your private infinity plunge pool, you won't miss the endless ring of your cell phone or the nagging emails that need responses -- you'll be too un-busy enjoying nature to notice they're gone.
This cliff-side, eco-chic Jamaican all-inclusive has long been a favorite of bargain hunters. Steps from Seven Mile Beach, the boutique hotel cuts out the noise by keeping its 34 rooms (all in cut-rock houses and villas) free of televisions, phones and internet. Without technological temptation, you are free to focus on the festive energy of Negril and the town's street-food themed restaurants and bottomless draughts of rum.
Azulik, Tulum, Mexico
This beachside retreat doesn't even have electricity in its 15 perfectly private thatched villas. Instead, stairways and suites are lit by glowing candles at sunset each night. You don't have to give up all the comforts of staying at a resort, though. Azulik's spa is known for Mayan clay massages and reiki treatments, plus there's a sweat lodge where you can let go of all the stress of modern life. All that relaxation making you hungry? Nearby resorts Cabanas Copal and Zahra provide room service.
The ultimate in green seclusion, Tiamo resort has 11 bungalows on stilts perched on the shores of remote South Andros Island in the Bahamas. You could plug your tech hardware into the bedroom's solar sockets, but why would you want to? Instead, enjoy snorkeling out your front door, walks on endless talcum powder beaches and pampering at the holistic spa where even the toe-separators in your mani-pedi dissolve like so much sea foam.
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