NYC hotel offers discount for locking up your cell phone

smartphone social media
The Digital Detox package aims to help guests unwind, rejuvenate and get off the grid, the hotel claims. Photo credit: Wachiwit/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Some 72 percent of Americans own a smartphone. But studies have shown that overuse can have a negative impact on your posture, eyesight and hearing, as well as distract drivers and pedestrians. Research has shown that constant screen time can cause anxiety and depression, among other mental-health conditions.

One New York City hotel wants to change that. The James New York NoMad hotel is willing to offer guests 10 percent off their room rate for every night that they can go without technology.

The Digital Detox package prompts guests to lock up their cell phones and other electronic devices at the front desk upon arrival to the hotel. They’re assigned a room that’s stripped of technology—no TV, laptop or alarm clock—to make sure guests can take full advantage of wellness options like guided meditation or yoga without any distractions. 

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“It came about from guest feedback that they weren’t partaking in our wellness programs. We said, ‘we should take away their phones,’” James La Russo, a senior manager at The James Nomad, told Moneyish of getting guests to stay present instead of glued to their phones during their stay. 

The Digital Detox package aims to help guests unwind, rejuvenate and of course, get off the grid, the hotel claims. It offers a host of wellness perks such as a complimentary meditation session at the nearby Inscape meditation studio as well as a choice of newspapers and books that guests can preselect before arrival. The James New York NoMad Hotel wants to encourage guests to mingle and connect with each other in person, especially people who are traveling solo. 

The Digital Detox just launched this week so no one has completed the program just yet, but La Russo suspects it will also allow guests, particularly those traveling solo, to mingle with and meet travelers in real life. 

“People end up using technology as a crutch. My parents' generation would grab a cigarette; we grab our phone,” La Russo said, noting that the discount is one big way to incentivise people give up their gadgets. 

The James New York NoMad Hotel isn’t the only establishment trying to encourage people to abandon their cell phones. The Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York also has a digital wellness package. After an intense hot bath, massage therapists focus on the upper back and neck to counteract the strain of hunching over a computer or cell phone all day.