This hotel puts your family’s smartphone under lock and key to encourage screen-less play-time


A hotel chain in the US has launched an experimental program aimed at disconnecting smartphone addicts and reconnecting families.

At select Wyndham Grand properties across the US, families who need a little bit of help reducing their screen time – adults included – can sign up for the new “Reconnected” programme which comes with a variety of diversion tactics meant to facilitate their digital detox.

To reduce temptation altogether, guests are given a timed lock box at check-in, for example, where they can place their smartphones under lock and key, set a timer, and commit to being together sans screen.

Other activities in the bundle include a toolkit and blueprint for building a blanket fort, created by actual architects, and a set of reading and activity materials from The Nocturnals series, that challenges their young readers to solve different mysteries.

When late-night hunger strikes, guests can also order a special s’mores treat made exclusively for the Wyndham by cake master Duff Goldman, of Ace of Cakes fame.

To make sure mom and dad can immortalise the memories even without their phone cameras, families also receive an Instax camera upon check-in – an old-fashioned, analogue way to preserve key moments.

Families who sign up for the programme, which starts Feb 23, also get a modest discount of 5% through until Sept 3.

Hotels participating in the pilot programme include the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach; Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek; Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront; Hotel Galvez, a Wyndham Grand Hotel; and The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel.

Though the Wyndham Grand has launched a detox programme, others are embracing the power of social media on the go.

At the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, best known for its overwater villas and undersea restaurant, a dedicated “Instagram Butler” will take snap-happy guests on a new “InstaTrail” that features the most photogenic spots on Rangali Island to help them capture the money shot.

But one of the first hotels to recognise Instagram’s marketing power was the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia which opened in 2013.

At its launch, the hotel offered Instagram users with more than 10,000 followers free stays.  Digital murals and desktop screens display a continuous feed of updated Instagram photos that use the hashtag #1888 hotel, while a selfie space invites guests to take photos behind a giant frame for the chance to have them posted to the wall. — AFP Relaxnews