High Living: 9 Beautiful Tree House Hotels
Did you spend all your time in your tree house as a kid? Or were you brokenhearted because you never had one? Well, these nine gorgeous hotels can turn your childish tree house fantasies into grown-up realities. These rustic-luxe (or just luxe) tree-house-style bungalows will let you live among the birds (and, in some cases, monkeys). Who says you have to give up on your childhood dreams?
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
The Post Ranch Inn's organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel’s surrounding redwoods, and the spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views, as well as wood-burning fireplaces and private decks. The Tree House rooms, are, as the name implies, elevated into the trees.
Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua
Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat with eco-friendly design amd lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas). The stilted tree house bungalows are adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, the restaurant serves simple but tasty local dishes, and group yoga classes on the ocean-view wooden platform are free.
Sunset at the Palms, Jamaica
Sunset at the Palms has relaxed, Balinese-style decor, and most of the rooms are set within a series of stilted bungalows (referred to as tree houses) across the lush property. Across the street from the beach, the upscale Sunset has a warm, helpful staff, intimate setting, and great food -- all of which create a relaxing retreat that's a far cry from the crowded chaos at most all-inclusives.
Four Seasons Costa Rica
The Four Seasons describes its suites as luxury tree houses, and they are in fact perched in the hills and suspended into the trees. They have extra-large terraces, some with plunge pools. Easily among the most luxurious resorts in Central America, The Four Seasons is as close to perfection as it gets. With two beautiful beaches, ocean views from each one of the sumptuous rooms -- decorated in materials including wood, bamboo, and stone -- and an 18-hole golf course, the resort makes it possible for guests to spend their whole vacation on-site.
Anse Chastanet Resort, St. Lucia
Opened in 2000, the 49-room Anse Chastanet Resort was one of the first properties to focus on eco-luxury design, and to deliberately shun technology such as TV, telephones, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. Technology-free rooms suspended into the trees have wrap-around terraces, many with views of the Pitons.
Haramara Retreat, Sayulita, Mexico
This luxurious yoga retreat located on 12 seaside acres of wild vegetation just outside Sayulita was built with traditional construction techniques to minimize the environmental impact, and there is no electricity anywhere besides the restaurant and the yoga studio -- not even in the rooms. Each room is housed in a private standalone thatched hut perched in the trees with no window panes or screens separating it from the jungle, and only gauze curtains and mosquito nets to avoid bugs and critters.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
Chaa Creek, one of Belize’s first eco-lodges, has evolved from its humble beginnings as a working farm to become a premier luxury retreat. This sophisticated operation includes rustic-luxe, thatched-roof cottages -- some, like the Treetop Suites, elevated higher into the jungle; wonderful service; and modern amenities such as an infinity pool with jungle views and a full-service spa.
Lapa Rios Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve, Costa Rica
Lapa Rios, located in the remote coastal rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, sits amid 1,000 acres of rainforest filled with wildlife. The 16 wooden, thatched-roof bungalows provide a tree-house-like experience, and some are perched above the treetops. There are many comforts here, including a pool overlooking the ocean and a splendid restaurant serving sumptuous cuisine.
Portofino Beach Resort, Belize
Owners Jan and Sandra opened this romantic hideaway in 2001, and today it has 16 rooms (many cabana-style units with thatched roofs, including the aptly named Treetop Suite) and one mansion for families and groups. The room decor is a mix of Belizean and Guatemalan textiles and furnishings, and the ambiance is unpretentious (the owners call the vibe "barefoot elegance").