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Hotel puts family’s smartphone under lock and key to encourage screenless playtime

/ 03:54 PM February 21, 2018

Image: Wyndham Grand via AFP Relaxnews

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

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

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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.

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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 immortalize the memories even without their phone cameras, families also receive an Instax camera upon check-in — an old-fashioned, analog way to preserve key moments.

Families who sign up for the program, which starts Feb. 23, also get a modest discount of five percent through until September 3.

Hotels participating in the pilot program 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 program, 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 recognize Instagram’s marketing power was the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia which opened in 2013.

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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. JB

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TAGS: Hotels, hotels and resorts, smartphones, Wyndham, Wyndham Grand
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