The Bubble Experience
A few nights ago, we slept in a literal bubble. I’ve been curious about what that would be like since I first saw a bubble hotel featured on Instagram. But, beyond just wanting to go through what seemed like a cool experience, part of my curiosity was for the practical, logistical side of things.
(Yes – I’m that person who’ll watch an adventure movie of a couple hiking through incredible landscapes, and wonder what they’re eating, where they’re going to the bathroom, and how the woman would manage if it was that time of the month.)
After I bought a discount voucher around Christmas last year, it was finally time to go on our bubble adventure!
Discovering Moinho do Maneio
The three of us drove 1h15 south-ish to a lovely rural tourism project called Moinho do Maneio near Penamacor.
Their setup is beautiful: old stone buildings renovated into a series of rooms all set to one side of a swimming pool area, the whole thing with royal blue doors, windows, and other such accents.
Every room was named after a grain or herb, from wheat to rosemary, and had a small table and hammock out front under its awning.
Two things I noticed within a few seconds of arriving and which made my heart sing were gorgeous ivy (or a similar climbing plant) on the facade of the main house, and three free-range donkeys!
There were a few dogs and at least one cat, but the donkeys where what gave the place character.
There was little to no cellphone service or data coverage, and wifi only worked at the breakfast pavilion by the river.
As for the bubble, it was off to one side, on a platform overlooking the river. It looked like a space ship, and to enter, we had to open a first door, close it, and then open the second door that led to the sleeping area – all to preserve the air constantly flowing into the bubble to keep it full and upright! (Luckily the motor doing the work was discrete.)
The Bubble: Setup & impressions
There was a slight echo inside, and despite the electric heater, it never quite warmed up. But, I get it. A panoramic window made it a near perfect balance between being immersed in nature, yet safe from the elements.
The night was cloudy, and it rained – but to my pleasant surprise, raindrops were almost musical against the plastic.
My biggest issue with the bubble was that it just fit a bed and room to walk around it. Outside was a tiny toilet built out of wood behind the bubble.
We were given the keys to a small room with a couch, table, and bathroom by the swimming pool area, so a 3 minute walk away. Useful, if inconvenient.
(Also, the bubble is definitely more suited for a romantic getaway than for parents and an 8 month old!)
Breakfast was an enjoyable buffet, with chocolate cake! And featuring raspberries in a few forms – fruit, jam, juice – as they were grown commercially on-site.
My conclusion? I slept well enough, and enjoyed the experience, but I think next time I’ll book a regular room – I can always go lay by the pool, in a hammock, or on their giant trampoline if I want to stargaze.
And, spoiler alert, you’re unlikely to come across a bubble offering at Casa Beatrix anytime soon.
Have you ever stayed in such a bubble? If not, would you? If you have, what did you think?