Sleep in one of these tree house accommodations—from rustic thatched huts to luxurious tree mansions—to reconnect with your childhood, and nature.
If you’re not afraid of heights and want to spend the night in a place where it’s a good bet that few of your friends have stayed, try a tree house hotel for your next vacation. They’re located all over the world and offer travelers a chance to enjoy a stay high up in the air, often with all the comfort of modern amenities.
Why tree house lodging? Steve Dobson, author of the book Unusual Hotels of the World, suggests that for many adults, sleeping in a tree house taps into a vein of happy childhood memories.
“A tree house caters to people with a rustic, romantic streak,” he says, adding that he’s stayed in tree houses big and small, rustic and luxurious. “Anyone who can climb a ladder can enjoy a tree house. You need to be confident about heights, although most that I’ve stayed in are incredibly sturdy. And they still give me a ‘Wow’ when I wake up.”
At Parrot Nest Lodge in Belize, you’ll spend the night in a thatched tree house under the sprawling canopy of a native guanacaste tree. The Mopan River surrounds the lodge, and it’s perfect for bird watching, both parrots and other avian varieties as well. Children under 12 stay free. Rates from $40 per night for double occupancy, $5 for each additional adult. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.parrot-nest.com
The entire hotel at Brazil’s Ariau Amazon Towers is a tree house. More than five miles of elevated catwalks connect the complex, with two observation towers and amphitheaters, two swimming pools, two restaurants and four bars. By the end of your stay, you’ll be on a first-name basis with the macaws and monkeys that congregate around the towers. The hotel has 268 rooms in all, including the Tarzan House, a private suite built 72 feet above the ground. Rates from $2,040 per night, double occupancy. Tel. 877-44-ARIAU (877-442-7428), www.ariautowers.com.
Winvian, located in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, undoubtedly has the largest selection of oddball individual hotel accommodations in one place, including a helicopter suite, a beaver lodge and a King Arthur castle. And yes, there’s a tree house—a double-decker model with a king-sized bed, a fireplace and a whirlpool tub. At almost $2,000 per night, it doesn’t come cheap, but all meals, alcohol and other amenities are included. [Read more about Winvian’s Family Weeks.] Tel. 860-567-9600, www.winvian.com.
On this island in the Netherlands Antilles, you reach the Tree House Mansion, a two-bedroom luxury suite at the Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club, via a spiral staircase from the outside. Once inside, there’s an open-air living room, an authentic Bali bridal bed, a flat-screen TV and wireless Internet. Rates from $1,200 per night. Tel. 877-264-3106, www.kurahulanda.com.
The Tree Houses of Hana in Maui are pretty rustic—they lack electricity and running water inside each unit—but those who do brave one of the tree houses are rewarded with an unforgettable experience. Treetops, House of the August Moon and Pavillion all provide guests with ocean views and camp-style kitchens. Tiki torches and candles light the way both up in the trees and along the paths. Rates from $120 per night. Tel. 808-248-7241, www.maui.net/~hanalani.
Ngong House in Nairobi, Kenya offers guests five luxurious tree houses to choose from, at 15 feet off the ground. No matter which you choose, you’ll be in Out of Africa territory, as the 10-acre retreat is near the coffee farm of writer Karen Blixen. Owned and operated by a former Belgian diplomat, each tree house offers stellar views of the bush and Ngong Hills. Rates from $440. Tel. +254-0-20-891856, or e-mail: email@example.com. www.ngonghouse.com
Bostonians Craig and Katie Nicholson spent several days of their 2007 honeymoon at the Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses in Kaikoura, New Zealand, and what sticks with them most are the views. “Our tree house had amazing views of the Pacific Ocean on one side—including great views from both the shower and tub—and views of the mountains surrounding Kaikoura on the other side,” says Craig Nicholson. “The colorful and stunning sunrises and sunsets viewed from our tree house were the highlight of our stay.” Rates from $390. Tel. +64-0-3-319-6559, www.hapukulodge.com.
Located in the middle of Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park, the 10 tree-house rooms at the Khao Sok Tree House Resort range from 20 to 36 feet off the ground with names like the Tarzan Family Room to the Barbarian Honeymoon Tree House. Most rooms are air-conditioned and have wireless Internet and satellite TV. Rates from $26 per night. Tel. +66-089-970-3353, www.khaosok-treehouse.com.
Da Lat locals refer to Hang Nga’s Tree House in Vietnam as the Crazy House or the Spider Web Chalet. The guesthouse defies description and is owned by architect Hang Nga, whose father served as president of Vietnam in the 1980s. Guests have described their stays as spending the night in a maze, and it’s a bona fide tourist attraction in the country. Rates from $30 to $85 per night. Tel: +84-63-822-070.
Near Mount Rainier, the Cedar Creek Treehouse in Washington is a two-level cottage nestled more than 50 feet above ground in the branches of a 200-year-old cedar tree. It’s surprisingly roomy, with a sleeping loft, bath, and kitchen and dining area, and even an observation room. Rates from $300 per night for two; $50 per person, per night for extra occupants; maximum of five guests. Tel. 360-569-2991, www.cedarcreektreehouse.com.
Thank you for giving us a little extra knowledge. Ariau remains the most spectacular of all.
Creative Accommodations One of the most memorable stops during my trip to Vietnam was to the Crazy House (officially known as Hang Nga’s Guesthouse and Art Gallery at the time) in Dalat. Hang Nga is this funky architect who was clearly a child of the 60s—during my visit nine years ago she still wore hair down to her waist, platform boots and bell bottoms—and this place is wild! She designed huge trees and giraffes and then built into them guestrooms and a café. You walk into a tree trunk and wind your way up, passing themed rooms, such as the Giraffe Room, Tiger Room, Ant Room, etc. The furniture also is carved out of trees and blends neatly into the spaces. I loved it!