Think back to your last vacation. Perhaps there was a beach, or a spa, or snow-skiing. Most certainly, there was a smartphone involved. For a few overworked souls, there may have even been a laptop.
Yet for all the pervasiveness of digital devices, the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way. Tech-free retreats are the new “it” vacations, from off-the-grid glamping to resorts that offer a sleeping bag for your phone.
Arizona, with its wealth of remote beauty and wellness retreats, is a fantastic place to unplug. Here are five ways to do it:
RETREAT INTO LUXURY, SLOWLY
For those who need to ease into the digital-free zone, CIVANA Spa, Resort & Sanctuary invites you to take it slow. At this wellness resort in Carefree in central Arizona, you can bring your phone—and even find a signal—but the 20 acres of surrounding desert inspire quiet contemplation. And the activities make a case for putting down your device. Every stay includes unlimited daily wellness classes (think aerial yoga and culinary clinics), a spa with the one-of-the-kind Aqua Vitality Circuit and three pools.
EXPLORE REMOTE LANDS
For a getaway immersed in natural beauty, Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn, between Tucson and Phoenix, is the spot. Surrounded by 700 fruit trees and the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, the inn offers an organic garden and orchard, spotty Wi-Fi and no televisions. Guests have plenty of time for hiking, bird watching and eating the farm-to-table dinners offered four nights a week.
“It’s funny how many people get out here and say, ‘It was so nice not to have my phone dinging all the time,’ ” says co-owner Jill Madden. “I think people want that more than they admit.”
Combining the merits of a resort with the mindfulness of a retreat, Miraval Arizona offers an array of weekly wellness classes and experiences, as well as inclusive meals. But the most transformative offering at this 400-acre, “digital device-free” resort north of Tucson just might be the smartphone “sleeping bag” provided at check-in. Guests can still use their devices in three designated areas, but the resort encourages mindfulness and learning how to be present in the moment.
GLAMP AT THE GRAND CANYON
At the safari-style Under Canvas® Grand Canyon, guests enjoy the best of the natural world (160 acres of forest near Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim) with just enough amenities to keep city slickers happy. Cozy up in a spacious tent outfitted with rustic-chic furniture, a real bed and a private bathroom. During the day, indulge in outdoor fun like horseback riding and whitewater rafting. As for your devices, leave them in the car. The intentional lack of Wi-Fi is meant to inspire a connection with the great outdoors.
GAZE AT THE COSMOS
Located an hour north of Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs requires visitors to traverse seven miles of unpaved roads before they arrive at the hottest non-volcanic natural spring in the world. But the tucked-away locale in the Bradshaw Mountains makes the journey worth it. Guests can soak in thermal pools, dine on organic produce and, since Castle Hot Springs is a refuge from light pollution, soak up views of a night sky from one of several on-property telescopes. While the Wi-Fi is strong, cell service is not, so be ready to hang up and follow the resort’s motto: “disconnect to reconnect.” Make reservations now for fall.
By Elizabeth Exline for Visit Arizona
If You Go
|Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn
89395 E. Aravaipa Rd., Winkelman
Castle Hot Springs
CIVANA Spa, Resort & Sanctuary
5000 E. Via Estancia, Tucson
Under Canvas® Grand Canyon