Sleep under the stars at these 10 luxurious accommodations
Guests staying at Nkwichi Lodge in Mozambique can book a night in one of the resort's Star-Beds for an unforgettable experience on the shores of Lake Malawi or "Lake of Stars" as it's often called. (Nkwichi Lodge)
Published Wednesday, September 14, 2016 6:30AM EDT
If you’re interested in booking a stargazing vacation without the hassle of setting up a tent, collecting wood for a fire and sleeping on the cold, hard ground, then CTVNews.ca has you covered… although covered might not be the most-accurate word in this case. From open-air treehouses in the African wilderness to hanging spheres in the British Columbian rainforest to romantic inflatable bubbles in France, there is an intriguing option for anyone looking to unwind beneath a starry nighttime sky in comfort and convenience.
The hotels and resorts below offer luxurious accommodations for the nature-lover who doesn’t love the whole “roughing it” part.
1. Tinyeleti Treehouse, South Africa
If stars are what you’re after, this treehouse within the Kruger National Park in South Africa certainly has them. Tinyeleti appropriately translates to “many stars.” The luxurious, open-air treehouse is part of an overnight wilderness experience offered by the Lion Sands Game Reserve. According to the treehouse’s website, guests are treated to a sunset gourmet picnic dinner and drinks on the deck, which overlooks the African wildlife congregating at the Sabie River nearby.
For those who may have concerns about sleeping so close to wild dangerous animals, the owners assure prospective guests that their treehouses are securely constructed above the ground so that animals remain a “safe and comfortable” distance.
2. Pure Pods, New Zealand
With nothing but a glass ceiling separating you and the Southern Cross constellation, not to mention a billion other stars, New Zealand’s Pure Pods are a great option for those looking to stargaze in modern comfort. The eco-friendly, entirely glass pods are solar powered and the rainwater that falls on the roofs of the pods is returned under the floor to water the local plants. On the company’s website, the pods’ creators write that “conservation and reclamation of the natural environment” is at the heart of their business.
There are three pods which are all located within an hour’s drive from Christchurch, New Zealand. Each pod is equipped with everything you might need, including running water, a fully-stocked kitchen and even a star chart to tap into your astronomer side. A word of warning for the tech-obsessed, Pure Pods encourages “unplugging” during your stay, which means you won’t find WiFi, TV or even a phone signal in these isolated, glass houses.
With unobstructed views of the natural landscape below, beside and above you, New Zealand’s Pure Pods certainly give new meaning to the phrase “a room with a view”.
3. Golden Crown Igloos, Finland
If you’re interested in taking your stargazing to the next level, observing the Northern Lights is a great place to start. Dedicated spectators regularly brave chilly northern temperatures to take in the full array of colours emanating from one of nature’s most spectacular light shows. If standing out in the cold isn’t your thing, you can now enjoy them from the warmth and comfort of a glass igloo in Finland.
Golden Crown offers 14 igloos all located on the Utsuvaara fell, 10 kilometres from the resort town of Levi in the northern Lapland region of Finland. Each igloo includes a kitchenette, a shower and a toilet.
Finland’s tourism website boasts that the Aurora Borealis is visible approximately 200 nights out of the year so with a little planning, your chances of basking in the night sky’s glowing colours are pretty good.
4. Bangkok Treehouse, Thailand
The creators of the Bangkok Treehouse know their accommodations come second to the beautiful natural scenery that surrounds them. The View with a Room is perched seven metres above the ground with only the endless sky as your ceiling. For walls, there are only the mangrove palm trees. The Bangkok Treehouse is so secluded that it is only accessible by foot, bike or boat.
If you’re the minimalist type, the hotel also offers an accommodation called the River Nest, which is literally just a floating mattress on a nearby river. The website warns there is a high probability of getting wet during your stay on the river bed so if that’s not what you’re looking for, you may want to stick to the View with a Room and its drier offerings.
5. Free Spirit Spheres, B.C., Canada
Treehouses certainly aren’t what they used to be on Vancouver Island, B.C. Now, you can sleep in a suspended spherical treehouse in a coastal rainforest just north of Qualicum Beach. Free Spirit Spheres offers three different wood and fibreglass spheres named Eve, Eryn and Melody. The unique orbs are suspended approximately 15 feet above the forest floor and weigh about a ton each.
Nestled among the spruce, fir and cedar trees, the treehouses include comfortable beds, dining areas, built-in speakers, electrical heating and circular windows to gaze at the nature beside you and the stars above. If you’re wondering what the washroom situation might be like in a hanging treehouse, fear not, a central-heated bathhouse and a cookhouse with a barbecue are separately located about 50 metres from the base of each sphere.
6. L’And Sky Suite, Portugal
Convenience and luxury characterize a stay in one of the L’And Vineyards hotel’s Sky Suites located in the Alentejo about 45 minutes from Lisbon, Portugal. With the touch of a button, guests can open or close the roof above them when they’re in the mood for starry skies.
You won’t have to worry about “roughing it” during a visit to L’And Vineyards. Each Sky Suite is decked out with a king-sized bed, private interior garden with a plunge pool, a terrace with a fireplace, heated floors, a Bose sound system and a view of the lake and nearby Montemor Castle. The posh resort has a winery, luxury spa, courtyard restaurant and only 22 suites.
7. Star-Bed, Mozambique
Set on a deserted beach or a private rock island on Lake Malawi or “Lake of Stars” as it’s often called, Nkwichi Lodge’s Star-Beds provide the ultimate stargazing experience. The rustic Star-Bed has nothing but a mosquito net canopy and romantic lanterns obstructing the view of the spectacular African night sky. Guests staying at the Lodge’s natural chalets or larger private houses can book a night in one of the Star-Beds for an unforgettable overnight experience in a remote piece of paradise.
The Nkwichi Lodge is located on the Mozambican side of Lake Malawi. The resort lays claim to eight secluded beaches set on four kilometres of Rift Valley coastline. For the adventurous type, the lodge offers a variety of activities including snorkeling, stand-up paddling, kayaking, hiking and fishing.
8. Stargazer Domes, New Brunswick, Canada
Who said tents have to be triangular? Not Ridgeback Lodge, that’s for sure. The New Brunswick resort situated on the Kingston Peninsula offers a glamorous or “glamping” experience with domed tents and deluxe cabins. The three stargazer domes illuminate natural light with a transparent roof situated directly above a queen-sized bed so guests can lay back and watch the night sky in relaxed comfort.
As for cooking and other necessities, the domes are booked in conjunction with a luxurious cabin that is 20 metres away from the tents. The cabin comes complete with a dining area, wood stove, walk-in shower and a modern kitchen with high-end appliances.
Another perfect way to enjoy a dramatic sunset or a star-filled sky at the Ridgeback Lodge is to grab a bottle of wine and soak up the views in your private wood-fired hot tub.
9. Waldseilgarten Höllschlucht, Germany
If you’re afraid of heights, the Walseilgarten Höllschlucht in Bavaria is not for you. Frequently described as “extreme camping” the adventure resort offers three breathtaking (and heart-racing) overnight experiences not designed for the faint of heart.
The first and most solid choice is a simple wooden platform secured seven metres above the ground. Guests spend the night on an open-air platform suspended in the trees with an unobstructed view of the skies above. The second, more dizzying option is to sleep in a small see-through tent, which hangs from a large tree branch.
Lastly, the most intense overnight adventure involves sleeping on a tiny platform called a “portaledge,” which is suspended on the face of a rock cliff.
Looking down is probably not recommended if you want to keep a cool head during any of these overnight trips but looking up most certainly is. Once you’re securely in place, you can enjoy the sweeping beauty of the Pfronten mountains in the German Alps and fall asleep under a sky filled with twinkling stars.
10. Attrap' Rêves Bubble Suites, France
When you think of romantic destinations, France is often one of the first places that come to mind. You might imagine picturesque sidewalk cafes or picnics with a bottle of wine and a charcuterie board; an inflatable, transparent bubble hotel is perhaps, less obvious. Attrap' Rêves offers five different bubbles with unique decor themes such as zen, glamour and love nature.
They are constructed from recyclable materials and are hooked up to a silent blower, which keeps them continuously inflated. The bubble rooms are furnished with a king-sized bed, sitting area, outdoor patio and a telescope. Additionally, they all have electricity and washrooms with running water. Whether you decide on a completely-transparent or a partially-transparent bubble, all of them have a clear ceiling so you can enjoy the Provencal night sky.