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Luxury Travel

The Fastest Digital Detox Is in the Middle of the City

All you need is 80 minutes and a cell phone lockbox.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, the New York Times app sent a flurry of notifications about Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation, Vox published an interview with an ex-congressman who was caught buying cocaine from an undercover cop, 78 people liked one of my Instagram photos, and SoulCycle pushed out the following alert: “Clarity. Confidence. Breakthroughs. What are you [eyes emoji] for? FIND IT!”

But from one of the hushed treatment rooms at the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, New York—35 floors directly above the largest transit system in the world—I missed out on all that. As therapist Jim Patrick explained the supposed health benefits of shungite, an ancient Russian mineraloid consisting mostly of carbon, my phone bleeped and blooped from the snug confines of a neoprene “sleeping bag” tucked behind the spa’s reception desk.