Super-cool phone-free social clubs, purposefully no-WiFi cafes, and other environments for IRL connection are on the rise—and in demand.
Making time to unplug is a higher priority than ever before, and places that help us put our phones down are popping up everywhere. Some restaurants are serving up discounts if you power down, for example, and others are mandating that date-night dinners be phone-free only (so, no booking other Bumble dates while you’re on one), and even some smoothie bars kindly forbid your devices and want to inspire you to “re-connect as a community, away from social networks.”
Hotels may now actually brag about not having WiFi: Everywhere from Camp Grounded in Mendocino, CA, whose motto is “disconnect to reconnect” to Villa Stephanie in Baden-Baden, Germany (the famous spa town)—which blocks all WiFi signals from your room by embedding copper plates in the walls to prevent your boss’ emails from reaching you on vacation—to the Mandarin Hotel Las Vegas’ ‘digital wellness escape” (check your phones at the front desk, please). Want to go where no cell towers can reach you? A new glamping startup called Hipcamp can find you an off-the-grid place, a la Airbnb.
And slow-the-eff-down brand Folk Rebellion (AKA the the brilliant minds behind those “Analog as Folk” tees) is in the planning stages for a tech-free clubhouse in New York City—basically a place to pause for always-on professionals. “People feel more lonely, more stressed, and anxious than ever,” says Folk Rebellion founder Jess Davis. “The technology that was meant to connect us and simplify our lives, when overused, in fact, causes the opposite reaction.”
Expect the “it” spots of 2018 to be spaces where going analog is the entire point…not the sign of a bad WiFi connection.
What else is going to be huge next year? We’ve picked 18 for ’18—check out all of our Wellness Trend predictions here.