7 Reasons Sri Lanka Is The Best Place For A Digital Detox
Sun, sambal and spa days at Santani wellness resort...
Admit it, we’re all obsessed with our phones, addicted to videos of chicken nugget bouquets, cat cafes and unicorn pizzas - which aren’t exactly tempting us to go home, unplug and eat a salad.
But things are changing. From the ENTIRE Geordie Shore gang smashing the gym to Ed Sheeran deleting his Twitter account, tons of celebs are prioritising their physical and mental health. So what if you made like an A-lister and spent your summer holiday recharging your brain, instead of your iPhone?
How different would you really feel after a week of no Wifi (srsly), mindful exercise and nourishing food? We searched high and low for a state-of-the-art detox that wouldn’t bore you to tears… and Santani Wellness Resort in Sri Lanka ticked ALL the boxes. Here’s 7 reasons we guarantee wholesome = awesome.
Let’s start with the location. Twilight fans will have drooled over Edward Cullen’s insane house in the treetops, with huuuge windows showing off the forest. Santani reminded us of that, but cooler. Perched on top of a mountain, it’s an hour’s drive from traffic, people, and life in general.
Spending time amongst nature is proven to reduce anxiety and depression, and here you’re surrounded by stress-busting greenery. You’re encouraged to stay off your phone as much as possible (gulp), but the views are so cool, it’s genuinely not difficult. There’s an infinity pool looking out over endless wilderness, and anywhere you walk you see actual jungle, buzzing with exotic animals.
Want to stretch your legs? Expert guides will walk you from your hotel room straight to a crazy high waterfall, nearby tea factory or local craft village (you can even jog, if you’re brave enough). Channel Pocahontas as you battle gushing water, steep hills and slippery rocks for the perfect Insta pic (save the upload for when you're crying on the way home).
Your own personal doctor
It might sound weird, but every visit to this hotel starts with an appointment at the docs. This isn’t your typical waiting room situation – you’re seen in a special room within the beautiful spa, where your mental and physical health is quickly examined. Whether you’re here to lose weight, detox, start a new fitness regime or just chill the F out, there are specific meal plans and incredible spa treatments to make it happen. Sceptics, listen up - this isn’t the start of an impossible crash diet, or finding holiday zen that’ll disappear the moment you step on the plane home. You’re just living like Kim K and Beyonce for the week – that is, with an entire team dedicated to making you the best version of yourself.
This brings us to the food. Don’t for one second picture yourself crying in your bedroom, wishing you’d stuffed your suitcase with Mars bars. If you do love vegetarian, vegan and raw foods, HAVE AT IT – but hearty, ‘proper’ grub is most definitely on the menu.
This has to be the first wellness spa that guarantees you’ll NEVER go hungry – and there’s a biodynamic wine bar, too. For those of you wondering, that means organic, which means less hangovers. Win! Not convinced? We wolfed down traditional Hoppers for breakfast every day (like pancakes, but 100x better, piled with tuna steak, eggs, curry and salsa – NOM), followed by gigantic three course lunches and dinners. One day you might choose Sri Lankan curry with organic vegetables and chutney, another, grass-fed beef tenderloin steak or juicy duck confit. There’s ice cream, crème brulee and pudding, too…
If your travel fantasies involve swanky treehouses (think Tarzan and Jane but with power showers, electricity, plush furniture and squishy four poster beds) you’ll find yourself in heaven. Literally – 16 uber stylish, minimal rooms are set into the hillside, so sitting on your balcony feels like you’re floating on air. Sri Lanka is an extremely hot country, most of the time – but the climate in the mountains is more chilled out, and genius air vents in every room mean you enjoy natural air conditioning that never leaves you freezing at 3am. This is the future, people.
OK, now here’s where we really start gushing. To warm up your body before (many, many) treatments, there’s a hydrotherapy spa built into the hillside. Start in the steam room and cedar wood sauna, complete with a glass wall looking onto emerald paddy fields and the Knuckles mountain range. Next, try the open-air, thermal salt soak pool (we shared our dip with a cute but very loud frog) then float over to a treatment room. No calming nature playlists necessary – you’re soothed by the actual chatter of local wildlife and trees swaying in the breeze, because half the room is exposed to the elements.
Whether you’re looking to sample a few of Sri Lanka’s traditional Ayurvedic treatments (perfect for relaxation and balancing), have just given birth or need specific attention for a sports injury or problem area, there are dozens of massages and treatments to choose from.
The peace and quiet
Passing guests on a walkway, or looking around the restaurant at dinner, there’s something you can’t put your finger on. Everyone’s smiling, which is pretty weird (if you’re from a big city, anyway) but also… no one’s looking down at their phone/tablet/iPod. Not one person. Can you remember the last time you saw that?
Tech is banned from public areas, and you immediately feel the difference. People chat at the table, listen to stories and recommendations from the waiters and really take in the views (they literally never get old).
Encouraging this brave new way of life, bedrooms don’t even come with Wifi (but you can have a router fitted immediately if you really can’t go without). We highly recommend unplugging, to fully focus on yourself - after all, that’s what this magical place is all about. The free mini bar helps, too…
You can probably guess, but we adored this place. A full week is recommended to feel the benefit of open-air morning yoga sessions (is there a nicer way to start the day?), spa treatments and proper food that makes you feel uh-mazing – but a couple of nights is enough to help you forget the real world. The best part is that you’ll be given extensive help on how to tackle reality when you do have to leave – think of Santani as your happy place, and with some true mindfulness, you can go back there any time.
MTV Travelled With: Santani Wellness Resort, which offers rooms at an average price of £370 per night on an all-inclusive basis. For a standard package of one week's stay with 3 meals a day and daily Ayurvedic treatments it's approximately £3200.