From Wendy houses to dens made from fresh laundry, childhood lodgings required big imaginations. However, the latest trend in the hotel industry is set to turn these youthful dreams into a reality. Enter the tree house hotel; a marriage of the unique and the familiar, returning us to treasured childhood memories and allowing us to indulge in our adventurous side. And with many creeping up on the five star mark – who said luxury was limited only inside four walls?
No longer solely occupied by young boys and Ewoks, tree houses now offer audacious travellers an experience, which stands apart, particularly in an age of roadside hotel chains and Mediterranean high-rise apartment buildings. So, forget the stale continental breakfast and stark, inpersonal room and opt instead for a treetop retreat. Here’s our pick of the best tree house hotels around the world – go ahead, branch out…
Tsala Treetop Lodge
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
The impressive Tsala Treetop Lodge has ten secluded stone-and-glass lodge suites, with breathtakingly views of the lush Tsitsikamma Forests, extending across rolling valleys towards distant hills. Decorated in an Afro-baroque style, the Lodge boasts floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows, a log fireplace in the living room, a private deck and an infinity-edge pool. The décor appears to emulate the monumental ruins of an ancient central African civilisation, with earthy colours, rich textures and handcrafted fittings. In fact, the entire Lodge mimics the diverse cultures of Africa, from the exotically appointed dining room to the intimate glassed-in lounge, or the large open decks high above the forest floor.
Cedar Creek Treehouse
After climbing up a winding stairwell, reaching 50-feet up in the air in a centuries-old Western Red Cedar tree, you will discover the Cedar Creek Treehouse. Bordering Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cedar Creek boasts stunning views, which are even greater when seen from the recently added observatory – 100 feet up a nearby fir tree – which looks out on magnificent Mount Rainier. The tree house features sleeping space for five, a kitchen, and an observation deck with indoor hammock. A night in the cabin includes a tour of other structures on the property, including the “Stairway to Heaven,” “Rainbow Bridge,” and the glass-enclosed observatory.
Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel
Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel is one of the largest commercial tree house hotels in the world. The eco-friendly Hotel was built in 1987 by Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino under the inspiration of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, who made it his quest to preserve the fragility of the magical Amazon Jungle. Located around 35 miles from the Amazon gateway city of Manaus, accommodations include the President Lula ‘Tarzan House’, built at canopy level with its own private balcony, plunge pool, and Jacuzzi and on site are two 150-foot-high observation towers, offering clear views of the jungle. While staying, why not take the chance to navigate your way round the Amazon River, swim with rare pink dolphins and trek through the rainforest?
Wayanad, Kerala, India
Tranquil Resort is located in southern India on a private 400-acre estate, complete with a working coffee and vanilla plantation. The main lodge and its eight well-appointed rooms occupy the Kerala rainforest, a supreme spot in which to place the 500-square-foot tree house. Built from coffee wood and equipped with a king-size bed, a full bath, veranda, and the trunk of a flowering Royal Poinciana growing through the bedroom, the Tranquil Resort tree house is a peaceful escape in stunning surroundings.
Hinchinbrook Island Resort
Hinchinbrook Island, Australia
This 96-acre national park presents idyllic beauty, with lush rainforests, rugged mountains, and untouched sandy beaches. The Wilderness Lodge, a secluded oasis hideaway with 15 roomy timber tree top bungalows, complements the natural environment of the Island. Each tree house has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, its own small kitchen, a private balcony and a bath tub for extra relaxation. Easy beachfront access means exploring one of the island’s eleven secluded beaches has never been easier, while in the evenings guests are welcomed to relax at the Wilderness Lodge bar.
Tree House Lodge
Limón, Costa Rica
The 10-acre beachfront property, located in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, features a sustainably built tree house composed of fallen trees. Built upon tall stilts, submerged by the forest, the house is reached via a sloped wooden suspension bridge leading to its front door. Inside it’s split level: upstairs, a double king size bed and a small ensuite toilet; downstairs, a second double bed, a single bed and a kitchen. Why not snorkel or kayak off the nearby Punta Uva Beach during your stay?
Maravu, which sits on Fiji’s 168-square-mile Taveuni Island, features a tree house built in an ancient rain tree, enjoying panoramic views of the sapphire South Pacific. Inside the bring-you-back-to-childhood house are a myriad of creature comforts, including leather and palm-wood furniture and an outdoor courtyard with an open-air shower and Jacuzzi pool. While staying, guests can relax at the resort’s spa with a massage or a hydrating coconut scrub, or explore nearby Bouma National Heritage Park’s pristine rainforest and 65-foot waterfalls.
Surrounded by the vibrant, lush Alnwick Gardens is a colossal tree house – the Alnwick Treehouse. The garden, created by celebrated garden designers’, Jacques and Peter Wirtz, has a beautiful landscape that includes England’s largest collection of European plants. The tree house itself complements its environement and serves as a restaurant as well as an activities centre. If you don’t feel like spending then night, the restaurant is open for meals throughout the day and serves organic and local meat and fish, as well as offering performances of live music.