Possibly one of the most unique hotel stays we’ve ever encountered is the Bubble Hotel Ubud in Bali. It was blowing up all over the internet while we were there, and naturally we wanted to go and check it out immediately!
After all, what self respecting photographer wouldn’t want to see this magical snowglobe hotel nestled away in the Balinese jungle for themselves?
The question is, beyond the obviously amazing and unique photos you’ll get here, is it actually worth paying for and is it a pleasant experience?
Well…yes and no, but you’ll have to read on to find out why!
This post is going to tell you everything you need to know about the Bubble Hotel Ubud, as well as a few truths that you’ll probably wish I hadn’t mentioned! Either way, read on for an extremely honest review!
Which Bubble Hotel are we talking about?
Ok so first things first. Bubble hotels in Bali are starting to spread like wildfire. All popular ideas do in Bali. Case in point, the Bali Swing (you can now find swings on practically every street corner!).
All of that is to say that there are now at least 4 bubble hotels in Bali (accurate as of March 2020!), but the one we’re specifically talking about here is the “Romantic Bubble Dome Ubud” otherwise known as the “Bubble Hotel Ubud”.
You can check out availability for this bubble hotel here.
While it’s true that there are now several bubble hotels in Bali, this post relates specifically to the Bubble Hotel Ubud.
Having said that, I imagine your experience will be roughly the same at any of them, except for individual differences like beach access.
Regardless of which one you choose to stay in, I suggest you keep reading because there are things that you absolutely NEED to be prepared for before spending a night in a bubble hotel.
What is a Bubble Hotel?
I can’t speak for all bubble hotels worldwide, but the one we visited basically works like a bouncy castle.
..Except instead of staying on this bouncy castle, you’re staying inside it…And instead of a bouncy castle, you’re basically staying inside a giant plastic inflatable snowglobe attached to an air compressor.
Sounds super romantic when I put it like that, right?
The bubble itself allows people to come in and out with an airlock system. This essentially allows the air pressure to be maintained and prevents the entire thing from deflating like a limp balloon every time the door opens.
The airlock consists of two zippered doors at either end of a short corridor.
In order to get inside the bedroom on the other side of the airlock, you first have to enter one door and seal it behind you before you can unzip the second door and access the main bubble.
Still with me?
If you don’t enter via this method or take too long to complete the resealing process, the entire bubble starts to rapidly deflate around you.
That’s obviously a less than ideal situation, whether you’re on the outside trying to get back in, or you’re slowly getting smothered on the inside.
Either way, it’s pretty laborious.
Inside the Bubble Hotel Ubud
The bubble itself is quite beautiful on the inside and has a lovely four poster bed with side tables, night lights and fairy lights.
Above the bed there’s an air conditioning unit running at full blast. You also have a clothes rack inside the airlock where you can keep clothes and bags etc.
Inside the bubble there’s barely any space for anything else, although I think ours was furnished with a small bongo drum. Who doesn’t love a nice set of bongos though?
The bubble has curtains about 2/3 of the way to the top, which you can close to give yourself privacy. This isn’t really too necessary as you’re facing out into a wide ravine and all of the bubble plots have high walls to (hopefully) keep prying eyes out.
Depending on which bubble you book, each plot also comes with an outdoor sheltered bed/seating area, a hanging net (very popular in Bali for Instagrammers) and a mini swing (again, for the photos).
Some also have mini infinite pools or baths as well.
This place is literally built for instagrammers, because in less than 20 seconds you can have your instagrammy photos of an infinite pool, a floating breakfast, your bubble hotel, the swing, a rose petal bath, a net photo and a photo from your covered canopy.
They’re all lined up next to each other, and quite honestly it’s ridiculous how clearly this place was designed with Instagram in mind.
There’s even a fire pit, which if you ask me is absolutely demented in such a hot and muggy, tropical country.
What is it like to actually stay in a bubble hotel?
So far, so good. Everything sounds amazing, right?
Well, truthfully, although the concept is pretty awesome and it does look amazing, I can scarcely think of a worse place in the world to debut this concept.
Let me explain.
First of all, you need to know that the average temperature in Bali sits around 27.5C (81F) on any given day, with the daily highs regularly rising above 30C (86F). It’s not a dry heat either, but a sweaty, muggy, humid rainforest kind of heat.
Second, and more importantly, when you apply direct sunlight to a transparent, sealed room with walls made of plastic, things start to heat up…. a lot.
As a concept, this may be ok in a cold country like, say, Iceland, but on a hot island like Bali, sitting in a microwave sounds like a terrible idea.
You literally can’t go inside until the evening
When we arrived at the Bubble Hotel for check-in (at around 3pm), our first instinct was to run inside and check it out…but no sooner had we stepped inside the airlock, did we realize what a terrible mistake we’d made.
Stepping into the airlock was like literally stepping into an oven, which we then had to painstakingly seal ourselves into before we could even think about relaxing in the (supposedly) nicely air conditioned main compartment.
And let me tell you, getting through that airlock was a nightmare. The zipper was extremely finicky and easy to accidentally completely remove. In fact it came off almost every single time we went in or out.
Every entry and exit was tortuous and frantic. Not only were we trying to get through before we passed out from heat exhaustion, we were also trying to seal the air lock before we suffocated under a wall of collapsing plastic!
Not exactly my idea of a relaxing vacation.
The Main Bubble Room
Eventually you make it through into the main bubble, gasping for a breath of cool, fresh air… But that’s the exact opposite of what you get.
Even with the air conditioning at full blast in the main bubble, the internal temperature read 41C (105F). Shortly afterwards we checked again and the temperature simply read “ERR”. I think the bubble killed our thermometer.
The fires of Hades would have been a pleasant, cooler alternative.
We made a hasty retreat back out of the airlock, whose zips were now the temperature of molten magma, and collapsed under our shaded canopy.
Somewhat dazed and confused, we eventually staggered to the reception area to ask about our apparently faulty air conditioning unit.
But alas, it turned out that the unit wasn’t broken! It just wasn’t strong enough (even at full blast) to compete with the scorching sun microwaving the bedroom through the plastic tarp.
We were told that it actually wasn’t really safe to go in until at least after 4pm.
Arrive later in the day
So now the purpose of our covered outdoor canopy became very apparent as we waited for the sun to set.
If we ever came back, I think we’d plan to arrive much later in the evening, especially given that there really isn’t much to do at the hotel, or in the surrounding area.
We hadn’t come in our own vehicle and suddenly found ourselves with extremely limited cell service, poor wifi and extremely far from the nearest walkable town.
Ultimately, this wasn’t a huge deal for us because it was nice to just be there without technology, relax a little, and enjoy each other’s company. Forced relaxation is sometimes exactly what we need..
I would say though, having a bubble with a swimming pool would have really helped to pass the time and survive the hottest part of the day. I actually probably wouldn’t book this again if I couldn’t get a pool unit.
Staying the night in the Bubble Hotel
Once the sun had set, the bubble actually did start to cool down, and eventually it did become quite pleasant inside (we actually had to turn down the A/C at one point!).
Around sunset, it also started to rain, meaning the bubble started to cool down nicely and we could finally cool off outside as well.
Once the sun went down, we flicked on the fairy lights (of course) and were treated to a lightning storm outside.
I actually have no idea whether or not the bubble is safe during a lightning storm, but I suppose we did feel a little uneasy as it rolled in. I dread to think what a direct hit to the bubble would do, but we just pretended it wasn’t an issue. Keep calm and carry on.
Overall, we got a really good night’s sleep. The bubble pumped nice cool air in throughout the night, the bed was super comfy, and the double airlock kept the armies of mosquitos out. We could literally see them swarming in their thousands on the other side of the bubble – use the toilet during the night at your peril!
As I mentioned earlier, the bubble had curtains that probably covered roughly the bottom two thirds, but unfortunately that left the top third of the bubble open to daylight.
At around 6am, the sun started to rise and sunlight poured into our bubble. The curtains were absolutely worthless for keeping the light out. In hindsight, I suspect they’re only really meant for decorative purposes and to protect you from prying eyes. Keep the heat and light out, they do not.
So, as you might imagine, you wake up with the sun in the bubble hotel (unless you have a sleep mask). But it stayed cool for a while, so we decided to sleep in a little (as best we could).
Our plans to sleep in finally came to an abrupt end at around 9am. This was when direct sunlight started to hit the bubble. Within 2 minutes it felt like someone had turned on a space heater, and within 5 minutes we were forced to evacuate.
Food at the Bubble Hotel Ubud
As I mentioned earlier, the Bubble Hotel Ubud is quite isolated, so unless you have a vehicle at your disposal, your only option is to order food in.
The hotel will give you a takeout menu where you can order a variety of western and Balinese dishes. There’s no kitchen facility onsite, so food gets ordered in.
It took a very long time for our food to be delivered (at least an hour), so make sure to order before you get hungry. In terms of the quality, I would say that you can expect typical home cooked Balinese food; delicious, but nothing fancy or worth writing home about.
Since we visited, they’ve also added the option to have a floating breakfast (assuming you have a pool bubble). Just another way to get some beautiful photos!
Just as a side note, we’ve tried the floating breakfast elsewhere in Bali, and although it gets a thumbs up for photos, it’s not a very practical way to eat breakfast.
Facilities at the Bubble Hotel Ubud
Each unit has its own outdoor toilet and outdoor shower. There is very little cover and someone could definitely be looking over the fence as you do your business. Louise didn’t feel comfortable using it and only used the indoor toilet attached to the main reception lobby.
Our outdoor facilities were in good condition and mercifully, featured a western toilet.
Other facilities onsite?
There really isn’t much more to the Bubble Hotel. There are no restaurants and other facilities onsite, no tv’s, terrible internet and no cell service. Bring your entertainment in the form of books or a fully charged laptop. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy some quality time with your partner too, so make the most of your time away from your screens.
Where is the Bubble Hotel?
Although the Romantic Bubble Dome Ubud is located near Ubud, the topography of Bali means things are not as close as they may appear. Ubud is not within walking distance, although it’s the nearest city.
As an example, the Campuhan Rdige Walk in Ubud is around 2.5 hours walk away.
A scooter would be ideal here, or if you’ve got a driver I would set a time to be picked up the following day. Cell service here isn’t great and you’re basically stranded once you’re dropped off.
The hotel can call a taxi for you too, but it could be an hour or more before one shows up.
How much does a night in the Bubble Hotel cost?
The Ubud Bubble Hotel costs around $130-150USD per night and varies from month to month. You can check the hotel rates here
And that was our short experience in the Bubble Hotel! One pleasant night bookended by two unbearably hot sauna experiences.
It might sound like I’m being exceptionally cynical and negative about the whole experience, but actually we really enjoyed ourselves the experience overall. Yes, the heat inside the bubble really took us by surprise, but it really wasn’t an issue as soon as we understood it.
Would I recommend staying at the Bubble Hotel for at least one night?
Sure, why not! It’s nothing if not memorable, and you’ll be talking about it for a long time. At the end of the day it’s just a bit of fun, and once you’re a little prepared for what you’re getting into, it really isn’t so bad.
If I’d come in expecting this to be a luxurious stay then I think I’d have felt robbed, but if you’re coming to Bali to do that, there are dozens of incredible 4 and 5 star hotels that will pamper you beyond your wildest dreams.
This is a one off gimmick that at the very least gives you an entertaining story. Everyone will ask you about your night in the bubble, and you’ll be able to chuckle about how ridiculous it was.
Would I go back?
hmmm probably not. $150 USD goes a really long way in Bali, and now that I’ve experienced the bubble once, I would much rather spend that money being pampered in a luxury hotel!
As I see it, the Bubble Hotel is supposed to be a once in a lifetime experience that’s unashamedly impractical and utterly ridiculous. It’s an absurd concept to have in Bali, but I am so glad we did it.