Just when you thought glamping couldn’t get any more aesthetically pleasing, bubble tents with stargazer-friendly transparent roofs have popped up everywhere—from the vineyards of Baja California to the Arctic Circle. These “five-million-star hotels” offer travelers some of the trappings of luxury accommodations (high thread-count sheets, memory-foam mattress, climate control), plus the magic of sleeping under the stars. From inflatable tents to sturdy Finnish domes, here are eight places that prove that life in a bubble isn’t always a bad thing.
Aurora Bubbles at Nellim Wilderness Hotel, Finland
Up in the northern reaches of Finnish Lapland, the Nellim Wilderness Hotel has a handful of glass-domed bubbles and cabins where guests can watch the Northern Lights—visible almost 200 nights a year—while sheltered from the -22°F winds outside. Both accommodations have glass roofs, but the Aurora Bubbles only come with toilets (shower facilities are in the building next door). The Aurora Cabins include en suite toilets and showers. Feast on traditional Lappish cuisine like reindeer meat and smoked fish at the on-site restaurant, then retire to your room, with decor inspired by indigenous Sami culture. There’s no guarantee you’ll see the aurora, but with the Murmansk border just eight miles away, you can almost see Russia.
With two locations somewhere in the Icelandic woods (the exact coordinates are protected to ensure guests’ privacy), Buubble’s bubble tents are heated to guard against the Arctic chill and have ventilation systems that promise to keep the interior climates fresh and dry. You will have to bundle up, however, to reach the bathroom and kitchen facilities, located in a nearby shared house. Count constellations or, in the right season, watch the aurora borealis dance in the night sky from the comfort of your bed. Since Buubble is technically a tour company and not a hotel, you must book your one-night bubble stay as part of a tour. It offers a Golden Circle Tour (with stops at the Geyser hot spring, Gullfoss, the Secret Lagoon, and Thingvellir National Park), as well as a South Coast Tour (with stops at Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, and a black-sand beach).
Igloos at Borealis Basecamp, Alaska
Surrounded by 100 acres of boreal forest in the Alaskan wilderness outside of Fairbanks, the fiberglass igloos at Borealis Basecamp are modeled after those used on polar expeditions and at polar research stations—so they can certainly handle an Alaskan winter. All of the 28 igloos have comfortable beds, a full bathroom, and a 16-foot-wide window on the roof, enabling guests to watch for the aurora borealis at night. It’s a perfect place to do so because the camp is located under the auroral oval, the atmospheric region where the aurora borealis is brightest. A large on-site yurt serves as a home base and restaurant, and guests can also book mushing and snowmobiling tours.
Joshua Tree Remote Desert Stargazing Bubble Airbnb, California
This off-grid bubble Airbnb is located roughly 13 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, one of the best places in the United States to go stargazing thanks to consistently clear and dark skies. Even though you’ll have to drive down an unpaved road to get there, this Airbnb is not lacking in amenities. In addition to a queen-size memory foam mattress and a half-bathroom inside the bubble, you’ll also find a heated outdoor shower, hot tub, and a barbecue for cooking on the deck outside.
Campera Hotel Burbuja, Mexico
Two hours south of San Diego is Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe wine country, home to dozens of family-run wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, and a handful of small hotels and B&Bs. A standout is Campera Hotel Burbuja, a “bubble hotel” with inflatable bubble tents that come with queen-size beds (cloaked in drapes for privacy) and attached private bathrooms. The hotel is miles away from light pollution, which makes for great stargazing. Come morning, revel in sweeping views of the surrounding vineyards and enjoy a meal at the hotel’s restaurant Doce by Campera.
Dream Domes at Ridgeback Lodge, Canada
No TV, no phone, no internet—that’s the promise at Canada’s Ridgeback Lodge, hidden in the New Brunswick wilderness near the Maine border. In addition to front-facing panoramic bay windows, the romantic Sky View Domes also have raised lounges with skylights designed for for stargazing. Each comes with a king-size bed, a full kitchen with a fridge and oven, and a Japanese-style wood-fired hot tub (available upon request for an extra fee).
Bubble Domes at Finn Lough, United Kingdom
Wake up in a four-poster bed, pop in a Nespresso pod, and settle into an antique armchair to drink your morning coffee inside a stylish bubble dome at Finn Lough resort, set among the trees on a secluded lakeside peninsula in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Guests here can spend the day hiking or fishing for pike in the Erne, then wind down with sundowner drinks by the lake accompanied by toast-your-own s’mores, or watch a movie in the vintage cinema room with freshly made popcorn each night. Come bedtime, retire to your bubble for 180-degree sky views, best enjoyed while wearing the cozy bathrobe provided.
Maisons Bulles, France
Stargaze on a budget in the South of France in one of Maisons Bulles’s three inflatable bubble tents, located in Pont-Saint-Espritabout an hour’s drive north of Avignon in the Provençal countryside. Decked out with carpeting and queen-size beds, the bubbles come with an observation chart and telescopes upon request. Bathrooms and showers are located in nearby wooden chalets.
Maggie Fuller and Bailey Berg contributed reporting to this article. This article originally appeared online in 2017; it was most recently updated on March 30, 2023, to include current information.