The Big Six: Dome hotels
Saturday 17 December 2011
Like the otherworldly offspring of the nearby Eden Project, two white structures emerge out of the rugged Cornish landscape. Each comes with plump double beds and scattered cushions, lanterns and log-burning stoves. The Geo features warm chocolate hues with a separate canopied cabin for the bathroom and kitchenette. The Curve is more minimal, with open-plan interior and playful nautical prints.
Ekopod, The Old Vicarage, St Clether, Launceston, Cornwall (01275 395447; ekopod.com). Nightly rental starts at £95, including breakfast. Each sleeps two. Open 1 April to 31 October.
Eco Pod, Scotland
Scottish couple Jim and Nicola Miligan have made low-carbon living look easy with these two stylish structures that spare no luxury despite their humble appearance. One has a heavy-set handmade bed and Japanese hot tub with dramatic views of Scotland's wild west coast. The second is peppered with Seventies light fittings, an Eames recliner and sheepskin rugs. A hamper with local produce greets guests on arrival, while a new on-site wine cellar operates on an honesty basis.
Eco Pod, Lettershuna, Appin, Argyll, Scotland (07725 409003; dome sweetdome.co.uk). Three nights' rental starts at £495, self-catered. Sleeps two.
Bubble Tree, France
Designed by Pierre Stéphane Dumas, these quirky habitats are intended to use minimal energy and materials to allow for maximum interaction with nature. There are currently eight locations throughout France, including one in the grounds of Château de la Forêt, a 16th-century castle in Vendée. The "crystal bubbles" vary in size and style but are united by their transparent design that provides stargazing opportunities from the comfort of your bed.
Bubble Tree has sites in Ile-de-France, Bas-Rhin, Bouches-du-Rhône, Corsica, Gers, Isère, Loir-et-Cher and Vendée (00 33 6 17 97 24 39; bubbletree.fr). Each sleeps two. Nightly rental starts at €100, including breakfast.
A cluster of 15 lodges brings lo-fi luxury to resort of Les Cerniers in the Swiss Alps. Snug sofas, rugs and stoves create cosy rooms, while lifts elevate guests to the pistes above. A central chalet acts as a sociable hub, with a restaurant, sauna and Jacuzzi.
Whitepod, Les Cerniers, Les Giettes, Switzerland (00 41 24 471 38 38; whitepod.com). Domes sleeping two start at €325 per night, B&B.
The Dome Garden, Forest of Dean
These 10 domes in the Forest of Dean sleep between four and 10 guests and are furnished with beds or hammocks, ensuite bathrooms and stoves. Congregate for wine tasting and pizza nights, or explore the forest trails.
The Dome Garden, Edge End Road, Mile End, Gloucestershire (07974 685818; domegarden.co.uk). Four nights' rental from £345, self-catered.
Elqui Domos, Chile
Amid the arid landscape of Chile's Atacama desert, seven pods align under the stars. Here, the emphasis is on the astronomical wonders above, with telescopes in each room and detachable roofs overhead. There's a barbecue and pool area, along with horse-riding and stargazing tours.
Elqui Domos, Camino Público Pisco Elqui Horcón, Los Nichos, Paihuano, Valle del Elqui, Chile (00 56 9 7709 2879; elquidomos.cl). Domes sleeping two from US$143 (£95) per night B&B.
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