The luxury of fancy hotels is appealing to many, with shiny facilities, thick carpets, and smiling concierges. But what if you’re looking for a different kind of getaway? One where you can have peace, solitude, and an intimate connection with nature? Well, there are hotels that cater to that too; the glamping (glamorous camping) trend is growing. Take yourself away from the city and off the beaten track, and experience a bubble hotel in Iceland.
Staying in a Bubble Hotel in Iceland
This is also known as the five million star hotel. It’s a reference to the fact that you can see through the all-transparent walls to the sky outside. The bubble concept was developed as a way to experience the Aurora Borealis without having to get out of bed. Of course, you are not guaranteed to see the lights, but there is plenty more you won’t miss. The bubbles are located deep in Iceland’s nature, so you will be fully immersed in its sights and sounds. In the winter, stars and snowfall will capture your attention. In the summer, midnight sunsets and bird calls will provide the romance.
What is the bubble hotel?
The bubbles are dome-shaped and are designed to fit two adults. The beds are 180cm wide, and children under six are permitted to share with their parents. If two adults bring a child over six, then a second bubble is required. Since the bubbles are purposefully remote, there is no food available on the premises. There are nearby towns and villages that can fulfill your supply needs.
There are clusters of bubbles in two locations: the south coast and the Golden Circle. The south coast bubbles are located near to Ölvisholt, 70km (43 miles) from Reykjavík. The Golden Circle bubbles are near to Reykholt, 95km (59 miles) from the capital. There is no reception on-site; you will be met by a welcoming host when you arrive. They will show you to your bubble and provide information on local sights.
The bubbles are perfect for those couples who want to get off their phones and connect without distractions. One of the great things about Iceland is that there are no snakes or mosquitoes to worry about. Walk amongst the trees until you’re tired, then retire to your bubble to observe the night sky. Each bubble is fitted with a light, so when you’re ready just switch the light off and enjoy the aurora.
How much is the bubble hotel in Iceland?
The price for two people for one night in a bubble is ISK 23,900 (USD 176). The bubbles are certainly one of the most unique types of accommodation in Iceland. They are designed to be minimalist, with few facilities and no Wi-Fi. But of course, you’re hoping for a shower and a bathroom, right? Not to worry; both bubble sites have service houses with two toilets and two showers for guests to use. They are centrally located, and so only a 30-50 meter walk from each bubble.
The company in question actually runs guided tours that culminate in a stay in one of their bubbles. They offer two options: The South Coast Tour and the Golden Circle Tour, and both of them run year-round. They include pick-up and drop-off from Reykjavík and stops at some of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks. When you’ve had a day full of adventures, you’ll be taken to your bubble and left in peace. The next morning, you’ll be driven back to the city.
Glamping in Iceland: Other Alternative Accommodation in Iceland
The bubbles are not the only place you can glamp in Iceland; other types of close-to-nature accommodation are available too. Let’s take a look.
This tent hotel site is about 75km (47 miles) from the capital, on Loftsstaðir-Vestri, a family-owned farm area. It’s tranquil, pleasant and each of the tents is uniquely furnished and decorated. There’s plenty of space inside to accommodate both the king-size bed and give you room to move. There are two tent sizes: the double tent, at ISK 13,900 (USD 102) per night, and the family tent, at ISK 22,000 (USD 162).
Courtesy of Camp Boutique
Fossatún Camping Pods & Cottages
These pods offer an upgrade from sleeping in a tent while still being affordable. Their basic camping pods are as little as ISK 7,110 (USD 52) per night. This also gives you access to shared bathroom and kitchen facilities and on-site hot tubs. There are larger pods for families and a guesthouse and hotel on-site. Heading to this area takes you 90km (56 miles) north of the capital city. There is a Troll Garden nearby with Troll games to play, and great hikes in the area.
These spacious domes are conveniently located only 10km (6 miles) outside of the city center. There are two types; the Standard Dome offers shared kitchen and bathroom facilities and a log fire. The larger dome, the Deluxe Dome, includes a private bathroom and hot tub and can fit three people. Prices for both vary depending on the season, so check your dates on their website. This area is far enough from the city lights that you have a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains. Free parking and Wi-Fi are included.
The Esjan Buses
Esjan is a beautiful mountain range that can be clearly seen from Reykjavík, 21km (13 miles) away. At the base of this range is a series of converted buses, refitted with beds, seating areas, and kitchenettes. A service area between the buses includes a shared bathroom. While in Iceland, hiking up Esjan is a must-do; the top provides incredible views of the area. The hike will also provide a worthy challenge, taking between 2-4 hours up and down depending on your fitness.
There you have a taste of glamping in Iceland. Immerse yourself in the country’s wildness by leaving the cities and towns behind. Who knows, maybe the northern lights will come out to greet you if you’re here in the winter. What better place to view them from than your own private bubble, where no artificial lights get in the way?
Samuel Hogarth, Reykjavik Cars.