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Bali resort bans smartphone use by the pool

Posted: 8:44 PM, Nov 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-23 01:44:22Z

Some hotels and resorts depend on social media posts to get future guests inspired to visit.

But the Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali, Indonesia , is taking a different approach. Their new "In the Moment" program is encouraging visitors to unplug when they're by the pool -- by banning smartphones and other electronic devices.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week, guests will not be able to bring smartphones to the pool area. People who don't want to leave their phones unattended in their rooms can put them in a locker while they swim.

And the ban doesn't only extend to smartphones. All electronic devices, including iPads, digital cameras, Kindles and tablets fall under the digital detox ruling.

"The ethos of River Pool is to create a place of tranquility, where our guests can truly relax and be in the moment," a rep from Ayana tells CNN Travel about the initiative.

Guests are encouraged to truly unplug while poolside. Some are using the opportunity to read books or magazines or to simply sunbathe, and the resort is providing some fun non-digital amusements like Jenga, decks of cards and magnetic chess to keep people busy.

However, while some travelers intentionally seek out opportunities to unplug while traveling, not everyone has an easy time letting go.

In 2018, marketing group OnePoll released data showing that 53% of American travelers have never switched off while on the go. The phenomenon even has a name -- nomophobia.

While some of that phone usage while traveling is due to necessity and ease -- using apps to translate menus, check directions or confirm bookings, for example -- some admitted that they just couldn't cut the cord altogether.

Twenty percent of respondents said they checked their phone at least once an hour while traveling, while 14% confessed to checking twice an hour.

So what should you do if you're planning a Bali vacation and if you need more incentive to turn off the phone for a while?

Consider ordering one of the Ayana's special cocktails -- namely, the aptly named Digital Detox, which is made of vodka, yuzu, honey and clear tomato juice.