HELLO! Online reviews a weekend away at the Finn Lough resort bubble domes in Northern Ireland
It's 7am on a Saturday morning and I'm awake. Normally, this would not be acceptable. I'd turn over in bed and hug the duvet over my tired, city girl eyes but instead, I look up. Yes up. Not down at my phone, scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds, but up, up to the sight of trees and bare branches towering over my four-poster bed. I am sleeping in a bubble, quite literally, in the middle of a forest in Northern Ireland.
My home for the weekend is the peaceful Finn Lough resort in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, where I'm staying in a deluxe bubble dome. There are a total of seven scattered around the woodland but each dome is totally private and secluded. With 180 degree transparent walls and roof, you couldn't get closer to nature. I am woken by the very faint pitter patter of rain (Northern Ireland, you've delivered!), and the first signs of light breaking through the trees. It's quite something to watch, lying toasty in bed with my electric blanket as the morning sky turns orange and yellow.
A night in a bubble dome offers the adventure of sleeping under the stars, but also the comfort and luxury of a five-star hotel room, which is perfect for city folk like me. Everything has been carefully thought of by brother and sister duo Michael and Gillian Beare, owners of the resort. My deluxe dome is kitted out with a vintage radio, full-length mirror, fluffy robe and slippers, a Nespresso coffee machine and the tastiest welcome treat ever - garlic and thyme popcorn.
An open top bath, complete with lavender bath salts and other luxury amenities, stands in the connecting smaller dome, while the wet room has an additional shower, toilet and sink. And you can banish the fear of waking up cold in the middle of the night. Each dome has been fitted with underfloor heating which remains on all the time, and a boost button by the bed can give you a blast of heat at intervals. This is glamping taken to the next level.
As expected, the domes don't have wifi. This is meant to be a digital detox but I can't help whipping out my iPhone and taking more than 100 photos of the stunning forest and lough. The back-to-nature bubbles allow you to truly disconnect from the noise of everyday life, and appreciate the unpolluted views of nature. Over the course of the weekend, I never actually saw any of my neighbours in the woodland area. Each dome has its own gate and key and the unspoiled woodland is impossible to trek through, so you can't just walk and stumble across someone else's transparent bubble.
Instead, you can get acquainted with nature by taking the man-made trail that runs along the edge of the forest, offering gorgeous views of the lake. Without wifi, you'll be forced to get active and take part in some of the sporty activities on site, such as mountain biking and horse riding. Or admire the serenity of the lough from a kayak, sailboat or fishing boat.
The futuristic bubble domes and idyllic surroundings weren't the only things to write home about. So was the Instagram-worthy food served at the hotel's restaurant, Kitchen. Each dish was beautifully presented, with the menu priding itself on fresh, seasonal, farm-to-fork food. Even the cauliflower, wild garlic and basil soup was something to rave about. It was so fantastic I had it two nights in a row. Those wanting a pre-dinner tipple or a cheeky nightcap can go to the adjacent bar, which makes up for its lack of space with a very impressive selection of gin. I was served a rhubarb G&T in a very large wine glass that made me feel like I was on holiday in the Med. The friendly barman let us take our drinks back to our suite, which is where we stayed on the second night.
The three suites are located in the main building of the hotel, above the restaurant and reception, and a five-minute walk from the domes in the forest. They're the perfect answer if you're looking for a more traditional boutique hotel stay, with the spacious rooms offering open top baths, rain showers and... TVs and wifi! For families, the waterside cottages or lakeside cottages, which have three bedrooms and private balconies overlooking the lake, are perfect.
Scrolling back through photos of my stay have made me wish I could teleport myself back to my bubble. One night in the dome was not enough, but with the new Nordic-style spa opening in May, it would be rude not to go back...
Stay in a Bubble Dome at Finn Lough (finnlough.com) from £225 per night based on two people sharing. Premium Bubble Domes available from £325 per night. Prices are based on two people sharing and includes breakfast.