Staring up at a twinkling night sky, wrapped in a warm duvet inside a futuristic bubble dome, I felt as if I was on another planet.
My partner and I had driven in the hammering rain to a secluded spot near Portglenone to find the Foxborough Bubble Den, a unique new getaway nestled in the Co Antrim countryside.
The den is effectively a large pressurised tent with an entrance hallway, bedroom and bathroom. The main space, the bedroom, boasts spectacular near-360 degree views of the countryside and sky.
On arrival we were met by our wonderful host Mark, who gave us a quick tour of this quirky and enchanting pop-up palace.
The pressure of the internal space has to be maintained, so entering through the front door is like walking into an airlock — the outer door must close before the inner door can be opened.
Going through this procedure made me feel like an extra in an episode of Star Trek every time and I loved it.
Entering the space for the first time filled both my partner and I with a genuine sense of wonder as we marvelled at the views all around us and over our heads.
Fields, trees, wildlife and celestial bodies were all visible from our beautiful temporary bedroom.
As we set about unpacking our overnight bags, it was impossible not to notice the super-cosy decor with stacks of spare blankets to keep you warm in case the luscious bedding and heaters didn’t quite do the trick.
The gentle patter of rain and the occasional gust of wind against the tent surprisingly acted as relaxing background noise despite feeling exposed to the elements.
After settling in, we quickly realised it would be tricky to get a taxi in such a rural area and drove to a nearby pub for dinner before returning under cover of darkness. Later, both suitably sated, we used the luxury duvet and warm woven blankets to cocoon ourselves inside the tent.
Watching Blade Runner 2049 on my iPad as the moon rose above us added to otherworldly sense inside the dome. The romantic nature of the space was not lost on my partner, who couldn’t stop swooning over our tented domain.
Despite the air pressure and heaters, the noise level inside the tent was minimal and neither of us noticed as we drifted off to sleep under the stars.
I woke up in the night as the moon crept over the tree-line above us and the disorientating spectacle stopped me in my tracks as I made my way to the bathroom. It was a peaceful and beautiful scene.
The next day we awoke with the birds and sheep as the gentle rain continued to fall against the dome. The incredibly refreshing night’s sleep was one of the best I have ever had and I am lucky enough to have stayed in some of Ireland’s finest hotels.
Adjacent to our main dome was a mini dome housing a gorgeous standalone bath, furnished with wooden units, plentiful towels and a number of delicate touches which gave it the feel of an alpine lodge rather than a tent near Portglenone.
After a refreshing bath, my partner and I were delighted to tuck in to the breakfast hamper provided.
Complete with full-butter plain and chocolate croissants, granola, yoghurt and fresh orange juice, the breakfast was a fabulous and vibrant start to the day, especially with the Nespresso coffee machine on hand to provide an extra morning pick-me-up.
Once we scoffed our breakfast, it was unfortunately time to leave, but it took a while as my girlfriend was desperate to get as many snaps of the unique dome as she could before we left.
Having been lucky enough to review dozens of hotels and resorts, I can’t recommend this delightful little spot enough, especially for couples seeking a little break or even a honeymoon on a budget. It’s perfect in all weathers, affordable and has fantastic hosts.
Enjoy a weekend stay for two in the luxurious bubble den from as little as £165 per night plus booking fees. Check out @foxboroughbubbleden on Instagram or search 'Foxborough Bubble Den' on AirBnB for bookings.