With day trips to Antarctica and recreational submersibles now taking anyone to the bottom of the ocean, sometimes it feels like there are few undiscovered destinations left on this planet. It’s getting harder and harder to take a vacation that’s truly “away from it all.” Until we can book an interplanetary getaway, these four bubble hotels might be the next best thing to feeling like you’re relaxing on another planet.
Sun City Camp
Wadi Rum, Jordan
There’s a reason Jordan is often used as a stand-in for the Martian landscape: because the country’s deserts are among the most otherworldly of anywhere on the planet. It’s here that Sun City Camp offers a glamping experience unlike any other. Situated in Jordan’s famed Wadi Rum near the city of Aqaba, the guest rooms at this luxury encampment are a series of geodesic domes. The canvas structures include large, panoramic windows revealing the stunning red sands and cliffs of the valley outside. While overnighting here will definitely feel like sleeping on the surface of Mars, the camp includes plenty of surprisingly luxurious amenities. Every room features a private bathroom, air-conditioning, a minibar, and complimentary fruit baskets. There’s even Wi-Fi in the reception area. Guests can take advantage of the best adventure opportunities the country has to offer including hot air ballooning high over the valley floor, dune buggy rides through the neverending sands, and taking a rock climbing course.
Beyond Earth, it seems every other planet in our galaxy is a barren wasteland. One day, perhaps we’ll find something that more closely resembles Earth. Until then, there’s Campera. This “bubble hotel” in Ensenada, Mexico, is reportedly the only one of its kind in North America. Each of the ten rooms features a private bathroom, full-sized bed, and luxury amenities. The surrounding landscape is the richest and most verdant on this list as it overlooks the vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe. By day, guests can tour the area’s more than 80 up-and-coming wineries. Once the sun goes down, the landscape disappears and, from each of the ten intimate guest rooms, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only on the planet.
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
The barren, bright-white landscape of Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats hardly seems like the ideal spot to erect a luxury hotel. But, the soon-to-open Kachi Lodge isn’t your ordinary glamping experience. The geodesic domes here are purposefully placed in the literal middle of nowhere to maximize privacy and envelop guests in the world’s largest salt flat. Every solar-powered pod is a freestanding guest room with en-suite bath and a double bed. However, the lodge targets adventure seekers who aren’t likely to spend much time in their rooms. The itinerary is chockful with volcano treks to the nearby Tunupa crater, exploring the archeological site of Alcaya, or visiting the mummies of Coquesa. After dark, the on-site Gustu Restaurant serves up legit Bolivian meals followed by stargazing with nary a hint of light pollution.
In “warmer” (relatively speaking) months, the mountain village of Combloux is a fairytale landscape of the verdant fields and dramatic peaks of the French Alps. Once the months-long freeze of winter sets in, blanketing the village and its surroundings in snow, it’s an entirely different scene. Here, amid an ocean of white, sits Nuit Nature, a solo bubble “pod” where guests are guaranteed privacy and a glamping experience unlike any other. The room is frameless, completely transparent, and outfitted with a plush bed and designer furniture inside and out. Just outside, the view overlooks Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Add the free gourmet meal delivery with Champagne and a bit of soft music, and you have one of the world’s most romantic hotel “suites.”