Dome-Chalets, Building Update!


Dome-chalets are springing up everywhere. We’ve made great progress with the building over this last month or so. We started building our first single Dome-chalet in August with a team of five men.

marsa alam desert retreat dome-chalets

marsa alam desert retreat dome-chalets
Laying the first bags for our dome chalet
marsa alam desert retreat dome-chalets
Working up to the spring line
marsa alam desert retreat dome-chalet
Taking shape

Glamping out

Our single dome-chalets can easily accommodate two people comfortably. So much so, that they take ‘glamping’ to new high.

For those who are not familiar with the word ‘glamping’ it basically means glamorous camping, hence the word gl-amping

Although these dome-chalets are permanent structures, spending a week in one of them can be compared to the most wonderful camping experience. Due to their openness and simplicity.

Earth bag domes are so quick and simple to build that  they are usually used for emergency shelters.

As in Baninajar Refugee Camp Iran;

Refugee Camp in Iran

Or sometimes for campsites that just  provide basic shelter with no amenities – a kind of permanent tent!

Thus, looking very similar to our Dukhan but with a bed or a sleeping bag. Very basic but with the same great benefits of camping.

Not to forget the additional experience of sleeping in one of these magnificent womb like earth structures that are cosy, light and airy.

On basic camp sites communal toilets and bathrooms are the norm if at all!

Basic but not

Our  basic dome-chalets will not, I repeat, not have electricity. Thus taking you back to nature, by using the natural rhythm of sunrise and sunset through our skylights to help reset your natural body clock or circadian rhythm.

See our post on Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms for more information on circadian rhythms.

For those who absolutely cannot do without electrical lighting, our family and luxury chalets will probably be more suitable.

These are also more suited for our visitors who have disabilities. They have two bedrooms so can comfortably accommodate a carer.

There is a large designated seating area, they are very spacious indeed and can easily fit a wheelchair in with ease.

Nestled in Comfort

Although the single dome-chalets are basic, we still want our visitors to be comfortable.

So much so, that as well as a bed and minimal storage. Each of our dome-chalets has its own toilet and shower, meeting your basic needs and privacy.

OK, enough sales patter! So what have we been up to with the domes over the past few weeks? 

Re-thinking our design

Interior design of domes is a whole different subject and is especially baffling for traditional building experts.

Images above show some of my alterations to the design of the single dome-chalets.

Thanks to the support of Mr Adley who is a wonderful CAD engineer I finally got the interior design I want.

The problem I am finding with conventional building professionals is that they tend to think in terms of square and angular buildings.

So much so, that they cannot see past their beliefs about what can or cannot be achieved. Fascinating actually to see how people can block their own perceptions.

Blocked Perceptions = Blocked Flow!

You’ll notice in these drawings that the partitions are angular and straight  and jutting out awkwardly in what is relatively a small space.

So much so that I was very apprehensive about the shape and talked about the ‘flow’ of energy being blocked.

Of course this was met with raised eyebrows and chuckles!

I guess if people don’t see ee or feel it, then they automatically deduce that it’s not there!

Against my intuition, I went with the recommended drawing, much to my disappointment.

The space was cramped dark and lost its natural vibration.

Normally when you stand at the center of a dome you experience a wonderful vibration as Nader Khalili the designer of Eco-domes put it;

If you stand at that center, you will have an experience that no one else will have.

… in the light, sound, the energy, the physical entity of that building, there is a unity throughout that comes from that one point.

And that one point is the point also, that is the creation of the whole solar system, the galaxy.

So the partition that the engineer first suggested was totally undermining the whole integrity and ‘sacred geometry‘ of the dome.

It had to go!

I redesigned the layout of the dome-chalets  to correspond with the natural curve of the dome and flow of energy.

The new layout is more spacious and looks very similar to this but even more curvalicious;

marsa alam desert retreat dome building progress
Layout following  the flow and integrity of the curve of the dome



So much better now and the vibration at the center is definitely back as is the flow of energy!


Words cannot describe the awesomeness of what this team has achieved in just a few weeks. Such great progress has been made in a relatively short time.

Moreover, I am so proud of the team and they are equally as proud of their achievements!

Some of these young men are basic laborers and have never built anything before and therefore, are even more impressed by their own efforts.

Even though the size of the team has increased to about 40+ workers, which means we can work on a few domes at a time, this does not detract from the immense effort and progress made by the team.

Sentinels in the sand

These hand sculpted dwellings have certainly made their mark in the desert.

Passersby frequently stop and inquire about what we’re building.  They are thrilled when they hear about the project.

We’re fast becoming a monument for sightseers! How wonderful is that?!

“Stunning Structures!”

That’s one of the most common comments we’ve heard from viewers.  Believe me the domes do have a way of dominating the landscape. Not in an obtrusive way but with an ‘authority’ that says;

Ye shall not pass lest you pay homage!

marsa alam desert retreat dome-chalets
Spectacular Structures

Eco? But they’re covered in plastic!

These structures are constructed with polypropylene tubes – which (yes) is basically plastic filled with an earthen mix.

So how can they be Eco friendly with all of this plastic?

The plastic tubes when filled with earth, are great for building. They’re strong and durable and can withstand tamping.

Yet remain light and pliable for molding the shape of the dome.  For more information on dome building click here

The tubes are made from the same material that rice and other grains are packed and transported in.

The production of these bags may not rank very high in terms as being Eco-friendly.

But, these bags biodegrade in strong sunlight and their toxicity is very low.

So much so that, when compared to other building materials and techniques, they are relatively, very Eco-friendly.

Not a major concern however because once completed all the plastic will be removed from the domes simply by torching off.

When this happens, the plastic literally melts away with very little residue left if any.

The domes are then plastered with an earthen plaster.

Next time see how we’re getting on with our family and luxury chalets!

Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful and blessed week.

Please share like or comment we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. Your community is really coming together Isis! The domes look great inside and out. I’m glad to hear you held to your values for the design and flow. You might not have to worry about marketing at all. It sounds like the domes are calling the people already. May you and your center thrive.

    1. Marsa Alam Desert Retreat says:

      Oh thank you Brad! Yes we’re very pleased with how things are coming along. The domes are magnificent and as you say have a magnetism all of their own. Thanks very much for you good wishes🙏🏽

      1. Delightful domes dancing in the desert. 🙂

      2. Marsa Alam Desert Retreat says:

        😃😃😃 Like Whirling Dervishes. Rumi would like that!

  2. The domes look gorgeous Isis! I’m glad you held to your values and design to keep the flow. It sounds like the domes are calling people in already. You might not need marketing! May you and your visitors thrive. PS, the last few posts aren’t loading completely when I follow the link from email. I can read the post, but not “like” the post or leave a comment.

    1. Marsa Alam Desert Retreat says:

      Oh thanks for telling me Brad I’ll sort that out🤗

      1. You’re welcome. 🙂

  3. Awesome they are so unique!

    1. Marsa Alam Desert Retreat says:

      Thanks for stopping by and for such a lovely comment 😊

  4. I love it – the shape, what it represents, your views. And yes, I agree with you. It looks awesome maintaining its circular form rather than using straight lines inside. I’m looking forward to visiting your retreat.

    1. Marsa Alam Desert Retreat says:

      Oh Debbie that’s so kind of you! Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to meeting you when you visit. 🤗

  5. Kristina G says:

    This is amazing! How cool! I missed this post somehow when you made it, just came to see how you were doing and how things were coming along. Hope all is well!

  6. Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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