They’re not just for backyards anymore – these days, luxury treehouses are appealing to travellers in search of a niche experience with all the comforts of an upscale hotel room. Here’s a selection of properties from across the globe taking hospitality to new heights.
Treehouse Lodge – Iquitos, Peru
Towering above the Peruvian Amazon at the confluence of the Yarapa and Cumaceba Rivers is Treehouse Lodge, providing visitors with a unique way to experience one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Consisting of ten treehouses, this eco-friendly property (in addition to other innovations, all electricity at Treehouse Lodge is solar-generated) allows guests to experience the Amazon up close and personal, from the treetops all the way down to the ground. Numerous excursions are offered at Treehouse, offering plenty of opportunities to experience local culture and wildlife, including the famed Amazonian river dolphins.
Lion Sands Game Reserve – South Africa
Spotting The Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros – tops many a traveller’s bucket list and South Africa’s Lion Sands Game Reserve provides safari-goers with a unique way to enhance the experience: by staying at one of three treehouses on the grounds of either Sabi Sands Game Reserve or Kruger National Park. Guests staying in the open-air treehouses (“securely constructed above the ground, where animals remain at a safe and comfortable distance,” says Lion Sands’ website) are dropped off before sunset, with their guide just a radio transmission away and only the wildlife and the stars to keep them company.
Treehotel - Sweden
The evergreen forests of Northern Sweden house more than the perfect settings for Scandinavian fairy tales. Located in the small village of Harads not far from the Arctic Circle, Treehotel was established in 2010 with six cabins (now seven, following the construction of the aptly-named 7th Room) suspended above the ground, each boasting a different theme and design style, from the whimsical Mirrorcube to the other-worldly UFO (pictured above). Once guests climb back down to terra firma after a good night’s rest, Treehotel also features traditional sauna facilities and a Lapland-inspired menu, boasting local delicacies such as reindeer and bear.
Free Spirit Spheres – British Columbia
With an inspiration fittingly “from the spirit realm,” as described by founder Tom Chudleigh, Free Spirit Spheres treehouse resort boasts three hanging orbs - Eve, Eryn and Melody – nestled in the coastal rainforest of Vancouver Island. An adults-only property, Free Spirit’s accommodations – which were built by Chudleigh with the concept of ‘biomimicry’ in mind – can sleep between two and three guests. Resembling giant eyes on the outside, complete with a circular window for guests to gaze out from, each sphere (utilizing construction and rigging techniques borrowed from sailboats) opens to reveal a compact living space, rocking gently above the forest floor.
Soneva Kiri Resort & Residences - Koh Kood, Thailand
While the rooms at Thailand’s Soneva Kiri Resort & Residences may be on the ground, one aspect of the property’s culinary experience has been elevated with Soenva Kiri’s signature bamboo Treepods, lifting guests high above the rainforest of Koh Kood for an unparalleled fine dining experience. Fearless servers bring specialities from the resort’s kitchen to the treetops via zipline, adding a little acrobatic flair for good measure while guests take in the views of the treetops and nearby shoreline. Diners with a fear of heights, take note – Soneva Kiri also offers several earthbound eateries.