Here's a fun one: The Lorien Hotel (managed by Kimpton)
in Alexandria, Virginia, is offering a Social Media Detox package, designed to get you off of Facebook, Twitter and any other network that you're currently addicted to, and out into the world of human interaction.
While I was at first imagining that they'd borrowed some cellphone jamming technology from their not-so-far-off US intelligence neighbors -- was this relatively new hotel built with a Faraday cage
in its structure? -- it turns out that the Lorien is relying on more of a carrot than stick approach.
The Social Media Detox package includes various incentives to step away from the internet, including a 10 minute chair massage at the hotel's spa, a $20 credit to BRABO or BRABO Tasting Room
just next to the hotel for appetizers and drinks with friends. (Suggested cocktail: "The Face to Face", which is Belvedere vodka, pear puree, apple juice, lime juice and fresh rosemary.) There's also a push to get you out into the real world: you'll also receive a walking map of town, or if you prefer, they'll let you borrow a bicycle, gratis, and give you a route map. At night, the package includes an item off the hotel's "Dream Service" menu -- if you're traveling alone, you could select the teddy bear, who will be happy to hear your whispered, otherwise wasted, witty status updates.
(Since you'll still probably be pacing all night long, I'd go ahead and book the Presidential Suite, which has a 550 square foot private terrace overlooking Old Town Alexandria, and runs about $550 a night.)
It's not all teddy bears and sunshine, however. You'll only get the package's $25 certificate towards a future stay at the hotel if you prove "non-activity" on Facebook or Twitter, which you do via print out from an in-room computer or cellphone.
Clever, huh? Personally, as a frequent traveler, I think I'd feel much more stressed out not being able to be in contact with my friends and family on Facebook -- since it's replaced email communication for so many people, I wonder what the response would be if a hotel decided to offer a package contingent on not emailing or calling home? (In fact, there are programs like that: Outward Bound
and the National Outdoor Leadership School
, although they don't include massages and cocktails.) On the other hand, I'm sure I could be persuaded to let Twitter
go for a few days. Especially if I got a teddy bear.