PEI

Charlottetown hotel offers 'digital detox'

Sick of your cellphone? Need to feel the love on an actual loved one rather than social media? The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown has a new package designed for you.

They're going to take away your electronics, and you're going to like it

Front desk staff at The Great George Hotel will lock away your cellphone and laptop as part of a new relaxation package. (Sara Fraser/CBC )

Sick of your cellphone? Need to feel the love of an actual loved one rather than on social media? The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown has a new package designed for you called "digital detox."

The four-and-a-half-star hotel offers to safely lock away guests' electronic devices so they can relax completely. The award-winning boutique hotel also includes a welcome basket with local wine, fruit, chocolate and snacks; $100 gift card for local restaurants; breakfast in bed; and a late checkout time in the package. The hotel also offers a daily free happy hour for all guests in its lobby. 

'Obnoxiously attached'

"It's such a technology-filled world now, and I am a great example," said Rachel Vidito, the hotel's general manager, admitting she's "obnoxiously attached" to her own cellphone. 

Wine and snacks are part of the digital detox package at The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown. (Submitted by The Great George Hotel)

"To have even a couple hours without your device but knowing it's safe and sound — I think that appeals to a lot of people." 

The hotel's management team weekly brainstorms new, fun and innovative ideas, Vidito said. They were throwing around ideas to get guests to relax when they struck on the spin of going tech-free. 

They launched the package about a month ago and it's been popular. 

Front desk staffer Lindsay Dunphy recently sold three nights to a couple visiting P.E.I. for a wedding, the last night of which they booked as a digital detox. 

'Focus on each other'

"They thought it would be a nice way to relax and end out the stressful week," she said. "They wanted to focus on each other rather than scrolling through Facebook." 

'The onus is on the guest to take it as far as they want,' says The Great George Hotel of it's new tech-free service. (Sara Fraser/CBC )

There are still televisions and alarm clocks in the rooms, and guests can check their devices if they wish. 

"The onus is on the guest to take it as far as they want," Vidito said, noting not everyone relinquishes their technology to the hotel, and a few people have asked for their phones back — which is no problem. 

The package costs $379 for one night during P.E.I.'s high season from May to October, and $279 the rest of the year. 

"People want a lot more than just a room for a night," said Vidito. "They're looking for the experience." 

Other hotels also offer similar tech-free services, which the Great George discovered after they came up with it. Vidito thinks it's likely to become a bit of a trend.

"It's the whole relaxation thing," Vidito said, noting the package is more likely to appeal to couples and leisure travellers than business travellers. 

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca