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Luxury hotel offers internet kill switch to help guests disconnect

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For when turning off your phone is too difficult

Villa Stéphanie

A luxury hotel in Germany has installed an internet "kill switch" in its rooms, giving guests an easy way to completely disconnect during their stays. As the Financial Times reports, the silver switches have been installed at the Villa Stéphanie, a spa resort in the German town of Baden-Baden. When turned on, the switch activates a copper grid that blocks all wireless signals, acting as a Faraday cage for each room. The hotel has also installed a special coating on its rooms' walls, which it claims can block 96 percent of surrounding Wi-Fi signals.

"It is not a sign of smartness to constantly look at incoming messages."

Frank Marrenbach, chief executive of the Oetker Collection, which owns the Villa Stéphanie, says around half of the hotel's guests have chosen to activate the switch at some point during their stay. Other hotels and tourist companies have offered "digital detox" programs in recent years, though none have gone quite as far as the Villa Stéphanie. Marrenbach believes features like his company's kill switch will only become more common over the coming years, as people continue to seek peace and mindfulness in a connected world.

"It is not a sign of smartness to constantly look at incoming messages," he told the Financial Times. "This is not smart, this is stupid. Smart is to devote time when it is time to do so. Smart is to read things in a profound way."