Think your days of tree house hanging are over? Think again. This global list of luxury tree houses will fulfill any traveller’s inevitable arboreal fantasy whether that means a rainforest retreat or a country house visit – because who doesn’t want to relive childhood for a night or two? Don’t worry: climbing is limited to a flight or two of stairs. Mostly.
The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California is home to several freestanding, modern, triangular tree house rooms that float effortlessly nine feet above the forest floor. Each house is fitted out with floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, a King bed with organic mattress and linens, a wood burning fireplace, an indoor spa tub, a private deck, WiFi and even the binoculars and walking sticks you’ll wish you brought with you. Wood exteriors and interiors enhance a forest feel, but roughing it is not the name of the game here. The laid-back hippie inside us longs to take advantage of the hotel’s morning walks, yoga and meditation classes, hikes and nature walks around Post Ranch’s grounds, and even the biggest brunch-ers will be impressed by a “mimosas and whales” meal where you can watch playful cetaceans just off shore.
Tsala’s 16 tree accommodations are primely located along South Africa’s gorgeous Garden Route and make the perfect stop for those wandering the coast. Impressive treetop suites and villas in an ancient forest near Plettenberg Bay include sitting rooms, fireplaces, a private deck and infinity pool (yes, in the trees!), ensuite bathrooms with indoor/outdoor showers and dining areas. Guests can take communal meals in a panoramic, glass-walled dining room or on a dining deck also suspended in the trees. Nearby, visitors can swim with fur seals and visit elephant, monkey or wild cat sanctuaries – or just soak in the natural beauty of an area renowned for just that.
Eco-luxe is the keyword at Playa Viva. The resort’s grand plan includes 35 casitas, 23 homes and a boutique hotel on Mexico’s Pacific coast, all boasting a carefully curated balance between livability and sustainability. The plan is only currently in phase two, but Playa Viva’s several beachfront, palm-supported casitas are nothing to scoff at. These range in size from eco-casita to deluxe suite and private casita and serious tempt our honeymoon hearts into planning a trip to Mexico. Each room has a private bathroom and porch and a King bed, but no TV or AC will be found here. Playa Viva’s mission is to promote a sense of community – there’s a common area with a kitchen, pool, yoga deck, outdoor theatre and bonfire area that guests are encouraged to congregate in. Local design details include the use of sustainable woods like bocote and guapinol, bamboo and palapa roofs. Solar energy and thermal are in use, too.
Kanopi House lies in a tropical jungle of banyan trees in Blue Lagoon, Jamaica on the Caribbean sea. The six-acre retreat is home to four tree houses in Colonial/West Indian design and a private shoreline protected by a thriving coral reef. Each house is luxuriously appointed with one or two bedrooms, a lounge, veranda, indoor/outdoor shower, a galley kitchen, Bose docks and diversely stocked iPods. The houses are made of sustainable local materials and open almost entirely to make the forest into a centerpiece. Kanopi’s restaurant serves up a local, organic cuisine with many ingredients sourced directly from the hotel’s mountain garden.
Near Kaikoura, NZ, Hapuku Lodge’s row of luxury tree houses sits ten metres above the ground in a native manuka grove and enjoys mountain and Pacific views. Hapuku’s design mantra is a “contemporary complement to the natural environment,” and guests certainly are in for a treat. Each house is made of native woods and copper shingles and range from one-bedroom to family-sized two-floor houses and have wood-burning fireplaces, King beds, TVs, WiFi, spa baths, heated bathroom floors and rain showers. Not to mention spacious treetop decks. Kaikoura is known for its booming crayfish industry so eaters should come prepared with empty stomachs. Everyone else can enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing and surfing, or just watch the whales, dolphins and seals that make the coastline home.
Accepting your daily breakfast hamper delivery might be the only reason to stop foot out of bed in these English countryside tree houses. The houses have floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of a nearby national park and there’s a hot tub on call just outside each tree house suite’s door. Houses can be rented by the room or by the complete house (suitable for seven or eight guests) and have varying floor plans but share amenities like timber and marble floors and mood lighting. If you do make it out of bed, descend into the 130 acres of Chewton grounds to enjoy quintessential English activities like tennis, croquet, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. The hotel is located within walking distance to the sea.
The single tree house at Costa Rica Treehouse Lodge is situated on ten acres of oceanfront rainforest property near the country’s border with Panama in Punta Uva. The house is split in half over two levels with suspension bridge access in between and while beautifully decorated in a tropical style, it can require more of a willing-to-rough-it attitude from guests. The main bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and a King bed, and there’s a kitchen too. Guests have to walk just a few steps to reach 300 metres of beachfront and local activities include surfing, yoga, white water rafting, waterfall visits, zip lines and rainforest exploration. The lively hippie town of Puerto Viejo is just a bike ride away.
For aesthetics, Chateaux dans les Arbres in France’s Perigord region might be the most exciting on our list. That’s because each of four tree houses (with regal names like La Cabane De Monbazillac) has a different castle-like design from our childhood dreams. Talk about real estate envy – we wish our backyard clubhouses looked like these mini-palaces back in the day! Each has heating, AC and a terrace with a hot tub and is furnished with antiques from Asia and wood and iron work; some have full kitchens and one even has a sauna and an overflow spa with chromotherapy. Entry is from a wooden footbridge that crosses a moat.
Perhaps the most elegant, this former aviary on the grounds of the Wheatleigh summer “cottage” has been transformed into a two-story suite with a second floor bedroom, private terrace and downstairs living room. There’s a gorgeous limestone bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower, and on the Wheatleigh grounds there’s an outdoor heated pool and tennis courts. Wheatleigh was built in a 22-acre park in Lenox, Massachusetts the late 1800s and is now home to a renowned dining room and award-winning restaurant. The hotel’s website lists that it’s easily accessible by private plane, so that might be a good indication of the clientele that Wheatleigh draws.
This lodge near Zambia’s famous Victoria Falls includes one air-conditioned tree house on its list of accommodation offerings. This one’s furnished in luxe safari-style with a four-post King bed, a claw-foot bath and Anatolian carpets and enjoys an uncompromising view over the Zambezi River from a sustainable pine deck. Tongabezi offers guests personal valets, game drives, bush walks and boating trips, and private tree house dining is on the menu.
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