My husband Blake and I got a chance to spend a night glamping in a bubble in the South of France. It turned out to be way better than I ever could have imagined. Here’s my full review of our experience and what you can expect.
Glamping was invented for people like me- and maybe you
I’m not afraid to admit that I luuuuuv the IDEA of camping, sleeping under the stars, roasting marshmallows on an open fire and being close to nature but, I can do without all that other camping stuff like bugs, wind and peeing in the bushes.
I realize I must sound like a wimp to some of you but I’m being honest here- camping is not for everyone so glamping is a nice compromise.
If you’re not familiar with glamping, (GLAMOROUS + CAMPING), it’s where nature meets modern luxury. In other words, you can experience nature without having to sacrifice all your creature comforts.
What is a glamping bubble hotel and what can you expect?
There are all sorts of glamping experiences such as glamping in a yurt, a caravan, a treehouse or even in a cave. We stayed in a bubble for our glamping experience where you can literally fall asleep under the stars completely protected from the elements thanks to French designer Pierre-Stephane Dumas who created the unique igloo-shaped, inflatable bubble rooms made from transparent, recyclable material.
The main concept behind the bubble tents, bubble rooms, bubble hotel or whatever you want to call them is minimum energy, minimum material, maximum comfort and maximum interaction with the environment.
There are several bubble hotels in France to choose from but the one we stayed at is family run and called “Attrap Bubble hotel” located in Allauch France, just a few minutes north of Marseille France. (“Attrap Reves” means dream catcher in French)
In the photo above I’m standing with two cousins who co-run the unique hotel with other family members.
This was the view from inside our bubble. Spectacular to wake up to this and still be warm and cosy in my bed.
There are five different bubble rooms to choose from
At Attrap Reves, there are five bubbles to choose from, each of which is furnished with a large king size bed and its own unique room decor.
The five bubble rooms are…
- Zen: Completely transparent bubble tent- with soothing green room decor.
- Love nature: Completely transparent bubble tent- with faux grass flooring.
- 1001 nights: Partially transparent and opaque bubble tent- with feathers and bubbles as the main decor theme.
- Suite Chic & design:.Partially transparent and opaque bubble tent- and the only bubble room with its own ensuite bathroom.
- Glamour: Partially transparent and opaque bubble tent- decorated with warm colours and romantic atmosphere.
Blake and I stayed in the glamour bubble room pictured below. The basket on the bed was our breakfast basket.
Did you know you can buy your own bubble tent If you’re willing to shell out 700 dollars or more?
My biggest concerns worries about staying in a bubble
Even though I had already experienced glamping in Thailand off the Mekong River ( in a semi-permanent safari like tent), I had a few concerns about sleeping outdoors in what is essentially a clear-ish plastic bubble. because glamping in a plastic bubble is a lot different than glamping in an enclosed tent.
For starters, clear plastic? How could we change in privacy? How could we sleep in privacy?I Imagined peeping toms creeping up to our bubble room peering in on us.
Then there was the issue of the bathroom and washroom facilities. From what I read on their website, the bathrooms and showers were not attached or next to the bubble rooms. My mind went crazy with this one and I imagined traipsing through a cold wet forest to an outdoor toilet and dirty shower.
And finally, how would we stay warm in a plastic bubble tent? Most tourists who come to the South of France don’t realize this but it gets damn cold here in the winter and has been known to snow and hail on occasion.
Turns out, I worried about nothing.
Practical information about glamping in a bubble at the Attrap Reves bubble hotel
- Secluded: Each of the bubbles is perfectly secluded. Meaning, no one is going to walk by and see you in the nude if you happen to be eh-hem naked.
- Privacy with partially opaque bubble: Our bubble had a clear front and clear ceiling but the back was opaque. This gave us some privacy when we were in our bubble while still giving us an unobstructed panoramic view of the mountains and stars.
- Bathroom and shower facilities: Each bubble had it’s own tiny little private washroom complete with toilette, sink and shower which was a quick 60-second walk from our bubble. This didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. One thing to note is the shower opening was extremely tight. I think anyone over the weight of 250 lbs would have a hard time getting in the shower.
- Lighting: The lighting in the bubble tents was almost non-existent. There was one muted lamp in each room which barely gives off any light. In the evening when it was pitch black outside, we had to rummage through our bags to find our pyjamas. Fortunately, we were given a small battery operated lantern which we were supposed to use to light the path to the bathroom facilities during the night.
- Temperature: It gets cold in November, even in the South of France but we stayed warm thanks to a powerful little table top heater which we actually had to turn down because it got too hot. The beds also had electric mattress covers, one for each side of the bed with individual switches to control the temperature.
- The air inside of the bubble: The bubble rooms each have their own silent air blower which circulates air into the bubble room. It’s what keeps the bubble inflated. They were completely silent.
- Parking: One designated private spot for each bubble room.
- Forbidden: Children under 6 years old are not allowed and pets are also forbidden. There is no picnicking allowed on the site grounds either. You can either eat in the designated dining room/reception area or at your bubble room.
Cost and what is included with your room
Expect to pay anywhere from 100 to 200 Euros per night depending on the season. Here is what is included with your bubble room.
- Your own miniature telescope and star map for stargazing. (very cute idea).
- A complimentary breakfast basket filled with a continental type breakfast. Our basket included croissants, a baguette, juice, hot coffee and yogourt.
- Amenities: Towels, shower gel, shampoo and bathrobes are provided in the private bathroom facilities.
- Jacuzzi: When you check in, you are given a token which you use to turn on the Jacuzzi. It shuts itself off automatically after 30 minutes. I thought this was a bit odd and too short but was grateful we got to use it.
- There is also a pool available to guests but we didn’t use it because it was winter time.
For an additional fee, you can order dinner with one catch. (I’ll explain it below. ) You can also order a massage if you call in advance.
As I mentioned before, you can order dinner for an additional fee which is exactly what we did. There were three options each costing more than the next. We ordered the luxury box at 25 euro per person which was also the most expensive out of three possible menu choices.
- SIMPLE BOX: 17 Euros (main course+dessert)
- ORIGINAL BOX: 22 Euros (starter+main course+dessert)
- LUXURY BOX: 25 Euros (starter+main course+cheese and dessert)
On the day we ate, our “luxury box” meal consisted of a Salmon cupcake, chicken fricassee with a mushrooms sauce, mashed potatoes and (not pictured) a cheese plate with a green salad and chocolate cake for dessert. We couldn’t finish it all.
Now for the catch about dinner
We were surprised to learn that the meals were made in advance and placed in the refrigerator in the main dining area.
When we were ready for dinner, we were supposed to walk to the dining area which also happens to be the reception area, take our meal out of the refrigerator and warm it up in the microwave.
At first this was a little off-putting but in the end, it worked out marvellously because we had complete autonomy as to when and where we could eat. Rather than eat in the dining area, which had a cute little wood burning fireplace in the centre of the room (see photo below), we took our meals back to our bubble room to eat in private.
Each bubble room has a small little cafe table with 2 chairs and an outdoor area for each bubble to eat as well.
Although the quality and quantity of the meal were excellent, I thought 25 Euros per person was a little pricey side considering it was self-catered and the fact that there was no wine or beverages included in the price of the meal.
Check-in and check-out
- Check-in is strictly between 4 pm and 7 pm. So make sure you arrive between those times.
- Check out is at 11:30 am.
Booking your bubble room
The site is in French however you can easily change the language of the site to English if you need to.
The Attrap Reves website is a little out of date, however booking your room is easy enough.
Once you choose your room, the date of your stay and pay for your room online, you’ll get a confirmation via email or text, depending on what you input when you reserve your room. In the confirmation email, you will get the exact GPS coordinates to the bubble hotel and a phone number to call.
This is important because finding Attrap Reves was a little tricky using just the address and google maps.
Getting there- What you need to know.
As you pull up to the bubble hotel, you’ll drive down a narrow road that looks like a quiet woody residential area until you come to a dead-end. On your left, you’ll see a metal gate. You’ll need to get out of your car, walk up to the gate and press the intercom button to let them know you have arrived. Or you can call them on your phone.
We weren’t really sure if we had arrived or not because there is no signage whatsoever announcing the name of the bubble hotel. The owners claim this is done on purpose to keep the location discreet.
LocationHere are the exact coordinates which you need to input into your GPS device.
GPS : Lat. 43.3250317 / Long. 5.466694400000051
For information, the Ribassière street is a dead-end. Our area is located on the left at the end of the street.
CHEMIN DE LA RIBASSIÈRE
TEL : 04.91.72.10.89
Once we drove through the entrance gate, we were shocked. One minute we were on a residential road in the countryside and the next minute we’re in a hidden sanctuary with mature trees and pea gravel paths. The contrast was surprising and I giggled a little sigh of relief.
Parking was easy. There is one spot for each of the 5 bubble rooms.
Laure, the receptionist met us moments after we parked and led us up the reception area which also serves as the dining area and self-service kitchen area. Laure explained how everything worked, handed us our little lantern and we were off to our bubble room.
Who would enjoy glamping and sleeping in a bubble?
I think glamping in a bubble would be a great experience for just about anyone whether you love or hate camping.
This is not someplace where you go to party and make lots of noise so there is that to keep in mind.
I can see staying up to two nights but not more than that. The location of Attrap Reves is also within a few minutes to Marseille by car so it’s in a great spot if you want to explore the city then return to your cozy bubble in the evening.
I recommend going with someone- as a couple, with your mom, your bestie or your kid who is over the age of six but I don’t recommend going alone.
FYI, there are 3 spectacular tree houses located on the property which we visited but did not sleep in. They looked adorable.
Here is a fantastic video of the hotel with some amazing drone aerial shots of the Attrap hotel.
Thank you Tinggly for providing us with the amazing travel gift box which made our stay possible at the Bubble hotel in Allauch France.
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