Born of glamping and the tiny house trend, Kate Powell finds some of the most romantic bubbles around the world.
Luxurious design, uninterrupted views and total immersion in the natural world are the hallmarks of ‘bubble’ hotels, the coolest living quarters to saturate our Instagram feeds. Bringing new meaning to the eco-retreat concept, bubbles blend of five-star hotels with glamping, allowing guests to sleep under the stars in some of the most beautiful places around the world.
From sleeping beneath the Northern Lights, to the depths of magical forests, to cosy pocketed hideaways in snow-capped surroundings, here are some of the world’s best ‘bubble’ hotels, where you can enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing five-star comfort.
1. Finn Lough Forest Domes, Enniskillen, UK
The full hotel experience awaits guests within one of the transparent spheres at Finn Lough’s bubble domes, hidden within the verdant forest lands of Northern Ireland. Romance is in high supply, with intimate privacy well provided for by natural seclusion, and uninterrupted stargazing offered from the comfort of a bespoke four-poster bed. Rise with the sun and be welcomed by daily breakfast provided, one of the privileges of still technically being located on the grounds of a resort, where other accommodation and services can be found beyond the trees. These include a spa offering a lake sauna and Epsom salt-infused float bath, cycling tours of the woodland trails and the resort’s own marina offering private boat hire.
2. Beach Bubble, Finolhu, Maldives
The white sands of Finolhu, Maldives’ self-proclaimed “grooviest” island, have a secluded bubble of their own to boast. Its beachfront location makes for a sweet romantic beach getaway with a twist. Bespoke furnishings include a four-poster bed with soft, white drapes, and a separate adjoining bathroom that includes a shower. In the evening, enjoy a private beach barbecue for two on the 1.5-kilometre expanse of sand. Wake the following day to the blushed tones of sunrise over the sea at your doorstep and breakfast on the water’s edge.
3. Buubble South Coast, Reykjavik, Iceland
The transparent domes of Buubble, Iceland’s exact South Coast locations are only provided upon booking one of the exclusive overnight tours, but a stay here promises stargazers the opportunity to fall asleep to the alluring dance of the aurora borealis overhead, surrounded by dense pine forest. The Northern Lights experience is available only through two tours offered through the winter, one of which takes guests from Reykjavik (around one hour from Keflavik International Airport) by luxury SUV to its hidden route, which includes walking directly behind the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall –an immense 65 metres high – to the enigmatic Black Sand Beach.
4. Bubbletent Australia, New South Wales, Australia
Three unique locations offer unequalled overviews of Capertee Valley in New South Wales, around three hours from its bustling heart of Sydney. The bubbles – named Leo, Virgo and Cancer, presumably inspired by their coveted views of the night sky – are each hidden from the others, offering such welcome mod-cons as a telescope, fire pit and private deck. Virgo is the most opulent of the accommodation offerings; recline on its ‘love swing’ to enjoy romantic vistas or, better yet, take a soak in the outdoor wood-fired bathtub as the sun sets before sinking into crisp white linen in the climate-controlled bubble.
5. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Lapland, Finland
On the doorstep of Urho Kekkonen National Park – the largest in Finland – Kakslauttanen offers unique Glass Igloo accommodation amid one of the world’s most pristine natural environments; the crystal water running through the streams here is so clean, it can be drunk straight from its source. Found along the road to the Arctic Sea, the four-person igloos include a toilet and shower, with a sauna available in a separate building nearby. Larger groups can choose the Kelo-Glass igloos, which accommodate six in a unique hybrid of log chalet with an igloo-style dome on one end. Whichever suits, guests can expect a cosy, snow-dusted retreat complete with an art gallery and restaurants on grounds, with views of the Northern Lights its centrepiece.
6. Ridgeback Lodge, New Brunswick, Canada
Nestled between the Saint John and Kennebascis rivers, these Dream Domes hidden deep within the Kingston Peninsula offer some of the most beautiful stargazing and wilderness sightings in Canada. Rustic timber interiors are encased by pillow-like white walls, with forest views dotted throughout and, from a sumptuous queen- or king-size bed, expansive dome views of the natural treasures beyond. A flush toilet and sink, glass-walled shower, electrical outlets and a kitchenette are some of the creature comforts on offer here, and a wood-fired tub is just outside, with plenty of privacy from the surrounding forest.
7. Levin Inglut, Kittilä, Finland
The spacious interiors and luxurious amenities at Levin Inglut are so indulgent that they are almost misleading, suggesting to guests that they may be in a boutique lodge rather than in a dome under the Arctic sky in Finland. Guests can spend an entire stay here without leaving their transparent, geometric surrounds; the white blankets of snow outside pose no threat here, with climate control inside and heated, non-fogging glass promising perfect vistas without compromise. Premium igloos command prime location on the side of the fell, with unobstructed views of the sky and valley. Snuggle in fluffy robes (provided) on a motorised bed, which can be adjusted to the perfect position for stargazing or snoozing, and in the morning be welcomed by the abundant breakfast buffet.
8. Attrap’Rêves, Marseille, France
Tucked away in the Provençal pine forest in the countryside beyond Marseille, the Attrap’Rêves bubbles were the first of their kind in France. In each, you’ll find a different theme covering all bases from earthy, down-to-earth designs to the trendy ‘Glamour Bubble’. A Japanese tatami-style bubble invites guests to house themselves between the earth and sky, with ‘Zen’ timber furnishings and a private deck with outdoor setting to drink in the countryside around you and perhaps enjoy dinner, served to you in-bubble. Despite each suite inciting a feeling of seclusion by the greenery surrounding, they are each, in fact, a short stroll from the hotel’s main building, home to an outdoor Jacuzzi and restaurant.
9. Campera Hotel Burbuja, Baja California, Mexico
TEN spacious, well-appointed bubbles at Campera Hotel Burbuja are the only accommodation of their kind in North America, designed in France and boasting a stunning location amid the vineyards of Mexico. Sleeping two, each is equipped to handle even the harshest of the region’s climates, pressurised and climate-controlled with heating and cooling systems within. In a Bubble Suite, wake to views of the vineyards from the comfort of a full-sized bed, with the added indulgence of a private bathroom complete with regional soaps and creams. Nearby, fall in love with Mexican wines at the multitude of excellent wineries that call Valle de Guadalupe home.
10. Bubble Lodge, Bois Cheri, Mauritius
Completely renewable, these eco-friendly bubbles seek to deliver a wellbeing experience that brings its guests in harmony with nature, without affecting the pristine environment it calls home. There are two locations in Mauritius, one of which can be found of the island’s famous Tea Estate, the bubbles offer sweeping vistas of the island’s South Coast with the comfort of air conditioning, a plush, queen-size bed and a private bathroom. Enjoy a book in the lounge area, partake in tropical bliss in an outdoor shower and enjoy a romantic dinner in the bubble’s spacious dining area in the evenings.
11. Jungle Bubbles, Bangkok, Thailand
The first experience of its kind, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort has developed transparent Jungle Bubbles for guests desiring uninterrupted views of these gentle giants. Custom designed by Eye In The Sky, these high-tech polyester milieus are air-conditioned and equipped with their own bathroom, living space and a king-size bed. Guests can book the experience from dusk until dawn, enjoying a dinner hamper and returning to the main hotel the following morning.
12. North Star Valley, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Known for its lush mountainous landscapes, Chiang Mai is the perfect place for people looking to immersive themselves in Mother Nature. So why not go one step further by sleeping in a bubble tent? Offering picturesque views of the surroundings – while keeping you protected from the elements, of course – the 360-degree dome rooms at North Star Valley all come with private bathrooms, but only one has an outdoor tub (so be sure to book ahead for that Instagram shot). Come nightfall, dine under the stars at the open-air restaurant. North Star don’t have a website so to make bookings message them on Facebook or call.
13. Whitepod Eco-Luxury Resort, Monthey, Switzerland
Nestled at an altitude of 1400 metres in the Swiss Alps is Whitepod Eco-Luxury Resort. The eco-bubbles combine ecology and luxury, with sustainability at the forefront of their design. Launched in 2004, the resort features 18 geodesic domes that require 30 per cent less energy than a conventional building. The bubble shape also requires less materials than most structures. The isolated cocoons exude luxury with a welcome butler, outdoor nordic bath, private sauna and welcome champagne. Don’t just enjoy views of the breathtaking alpine landscape but get amongst it with outdoor activities on offer including a hiking-cooking trail, mountain biking and paragliding.