Staying in a plastic bubble on a private island just a few metres from the rolling waves of the Indian Ocean was an amazing experience in itself, but the real magic happened at night time.
When I switched off the light and lay back in my bed, the entire ceiling vanished completely, giving the illusion that I was lying directly underneath the canopy of treetops and, sparkling above them, the stars.
The only sounds I could hear were the crash of the surf and the wind rustling through the swaying branches above me and it was so strange, so surreal, so sense-defying that there was little else I could do but gaze at the skies and marvel at it all.
The amazing Mauritian ‘Ocean Paradise’ beachside lodge that MailOnline’s Sarah Bridge stayed in
Sarah writes of her nocturnal experience at the Ocean Paradise lodge (pictured): ‘When I switched off the light and lay back in my bed, the entire ceiling vanished completely, giving the illusion that I was lying directly underneath the canopy of treetops and, sparkling above them, the stars’
Mauritius boasts not one but two eco-friendly ‘Bubble Lodges’: one is inland on the famous Bois Cheri tea plantation, while the other is on the private ‘golf island’ of Ile aux Cerfs (pictured)
The Bubble Lodges are aptly named, says Sarah, as they’re constructed out of a plastic tent-like material. Pictured here is the Lake and Sea View bubble lodge
My eyes told me I was lying on the forest floor – yet at night, in the warmth, with a comfy mattress beneath me – or on the floor of a planetarium where the skies unfold in a dramatic reconstruction above you.
But this was no computer-generated image, it was the real thing. With no curtains I was exposed to whatever was outside, but I felt very safe and secure. As I said, a surreal night.
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius boasts not one but two eco-friendly ‘Bubble Lodges’: one is inland on the famous Bois Cheri tea plantation, while the other, where I was staying, is on the private ‘golf island’ of Ile aux Cerfs, a beautiful tiny island with an 18-hole championship golf course just off Mauritius’s east coast that’s reached via a ten-minute boat journey from the jetty at Pointe Maurice, through a lagoon.
On arrival at Ile aux Cerfs golf club and restaurant I was greeted by my butler, Niko, who offered me a refreshing welcome cocktail while I checked in.
I was then whisked away on a golf buggy through the golf course to discover my new home for the night.
Sarah describes the experience of sleeping in a bubble lodge as strange, surreal and sense-defying. Pictured is the Lake and Sea View lodge
Amenities in the bubble lodges include a bathroom, a bedroom with a large double bed and a lounge area. Pictured is the Lake and sea View lodge
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, pictured, boasts not one, but two eco-friendly bubble lodge sites
Ile aux Cerfs, pictured, is a beautiful tiny island with an 18-hole championship golf course just off Mauritius’s east coast
The golf course at Ile aux Cerf covers more than a third of the island and is immaculately maintained, with lush foliage and precision-mown greens and fairways, but I only had eyes for the bubble lodges.
I was trying to spot them through the trees but they are so discretely hidden in the landscape that it was a surprise when Niko pulled up by each one.
One lodge, ‘Banyan Tree’, is hidden deep in the woods, while there are two by a sweeping sandy beach, and one, ‘Tidal Lake Eco Lodge’, with a unique cylinder shape, overlooking a lake.
The two-room luxury lodges are decorated in a ‘smart, almost Scandinavian style’, according to Sarah. Pictured is the Tidal Lake Eco Lodge
Tidal Lake Eco Lodge has a unique cylinder shape and, as the name suggests, overlooks a lake
I opted for ‘Ocean Paradise’ lodge just by the beach – which meant evening and early morning swims were on the cards – and I could not have been more delighted by my little home for the night. The Bubble Lodges are aptly named, literally being constructed out of a plastic tent-like material, but there the similarity with camping or even glamping ended.
These are two-room luxury lodges decorated in a smart, almost Scandinavian style, with amenities including a bathroom (with sink, mirror, hairdryer, ample robes and fluffy towels), bedroom with a large double bed and high-thread-count bed linen and a lounge area with a sofa, coffee table, coffee and tea-making facilities.
There is also a wardrobe, a minibar fridge, phone, good lighting and an entrance hall for shoes, suitcases and umbrellas. The only thing to remember was that when opening the outside door, you have to make sure the internal door is closed, like an airlock, or the bubble was at risk of deflating.
They were constructed to have minimal impact on the environment while being fully immersed in it, and are ideal for nature lovers or just those looking to get away from it all for a night.
The Banyan Tree lodge, pictured above, is hidden deep in the woods. Sarah says there is a wonderful feeling of remoteness at the lodges
Discrete air-conditioning means the lodges do not get too hot or too cold, while each has its own private decking with chairs and loungers and an outside rainfall shower (with lots of hot water). Mine even had a sliding fence that you could push across the front of your bubble if you wanted more privacy, but I was happy to look out at the sea and enjoy the luxury of having nothing else to do but relax.
There’s no wifi in the lodges but there is wifi at the beach bar just a short walk away if it’s vital to keep in touch, and back at the main restaurant and golf shop.
After an afternoon relaxing in my Teletubby-style bubble, I phoned Niko for a lift back to the restaurant where I enjoyed an excellent three-course meal of Greek salad, seared tuna steaks with vegetables and fondant potato, and a vast crème brulee. To accompany was a vast Caipirinha cocktail (thankfully Niko was on hand to scoot me back through the darkness to my bubble after my huge meal).
Before turning in for the night, I went for a walk on the beach, loving the warm breeze, total absence of traffic noise and the feeling of utter remoteness.
I popped over to the hut on the beach where I could see a light, and had a lovely chat with the night security guard who along with five other guards would patrol the island all night in case of rogue campers or fisherman landing on the island. Knowing he was there made me feel incredibly secure as otherwise I was essentially alone on the island, but it felt very safe and – if you are lucky to stay here with a partner – incredibly romantic. What could be better than snuggling up under the stars together?
According to Sarah, the pods are ‘ideal for nature lovers or just those looking to get away from it all for a night’. The picture above shows the interior of the Banyan Tree lodge
I fell asleep still gazing at the incredible view of the night sky above me (they recommend you download the Skyview app so you know what Southern hemisphere stars you are looking at) and awoke with the sunrise not long after five. I dozed in bed watching the sky lighten and fell asleep once more, only to finally rouse myself for a morning swim at the deserted beach before a lengthy outdoor shower and breakfast back at the main restaurant.
Choosing to sit outside on the terrace while enjoying coffee, pastries, omelette and fresh fruit might not have been sensible as a dozen brightly-coloured birds instantly joined me to share in the feast, but it only added to the feeling of surreal serenity as I soaked up the stunning views along with the sunshine. I even managed a quick golf lesson with the resident pro – that or green fees are complimentary to guests – before reluctantly checking out of my lodge and taking the boat back to the mainland.
It was a short stay, but the memory of my night under the stars will stay with me for a long while.
Sarah Bridge is a travel writer and founder of the travel reviews website ALadyofLeisure.com.
Mauritius Bubble Lodges are located at Domaine de Bois Cheri, Bois Cheri, Mauritius. For more information call +230 5255 1494 or visit bubble-lodge.com. For information on the Bubble Lodges at Ile aux Cerfs, Trou d’Eau Douce, call +230 5255 1494.
A night in a Bubble Lodge costs from £411 (€479) based on two sharing. Single occupancy rates are also available.
Getting to Mauritius: Direct flights to Mauritius from the UK depart from London Heathrow (British Airways) or London Gatwick (Air Mauritius) while indirect flights from UK regional airports are with Emirates (via Dubai), Air France (via Paris) and Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul).
There will be no requirement to quarantine on arrival for fully-vaccinated visitors.