Want to take your next hotel stay to new heights — literally? Contrary to popular belief, tree houses aren’t only made for little ones — and they aren’t exclusive to rickety pieces of wood cobbled together in backyards either. These days, the rustic retreats perched in trees are available for travelers who wish to spend the night (or three) among the birds — and in some cases, even monkeys. And while they may let you relive your childhood fantasies, they also come with grown-up amenities, like plunge pools, spacious terraces, and photogenic views. Live like a kid again and book a stay at one of these incredible tree house hotels.
Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redonda Bay on Nicaragua's Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, 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.
The Post Ranch Inn offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views, as well as wood-burning fireplaces and private decks -- but no televisions or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The Tree House rooms, are, as the name implies, elevated into the trees.
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.
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.
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. Set on a hilly property amid hundreds of acres of tropical vegetation, this resort is designed to be in harmony with the natural environment. Technology-free rooms suspended into the trees have wrap-around terraces, many with views of the Pitons. Some also feature open fourth walls.
Haramara is a luxurious yoga retreat located on 12 seaside acres of wild vegetation just outside Sayulita. The structures have been built using 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. It is geared towards those in need of some detoxification and relaxation, with yoga and meditation classes, an open-air spa, a vegetarian and seafood restaurant, unpaved trails, and limited cell phone service.
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. The riverside setting on a private rainforest reserve is phenomenal, and myriad tours and outdoor activities are offered through the hotel.
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 ambience is unpretentious (the owners call the vibe "barefoot elegance"). The property is surrounded by palms and located six miles north of San Pedro, so guests will need to take boats to and from town. The pool has ocean views, the restaurant and bar has both indoor and outdoor sections, and the beach has firmly packed white sand and a swimming pier. Active types can take advantage of the free kayaks and snorkel gear, or the professional dive shop on-site. Wi-Fi is free.
The Fox and Hounds Country Hotel is a mid-range, 20-room property occupying a former coaching inn in the heart of the North Devonshire countryside. The setting is genuinely scenic and serene with lush greenery and plenty of wildlife, including fishing on-site.Fox and Hounds, though, may be best known for the Treetops Treehouse; built in a 200-year-old oak tree overlooking the fishing lake, this room option includes luxury-finish interiors, a well-equipped kitchen, a wood-burning fireplace, and a superb copper bathtub.
The upscale Deer Park Country House Hotel is a fine example of a Georgian country retreat set within 80 acres of expertly tended gardens. Located at the end of a long drive, the property is off the main road, which makes for a particularly peaceful and secluded setting. All of the 32 rooms here include flat-screen TVs and tea- and coffee-making facilities, and although some rooms pick up Wi-Fi, the signal is weak. The Treehouse -- a one-bedroom thatched bower stuffed with luxury touches such as a lounge with log-burner, handmade furnishings, and bathrooms with roll-top tubs and underfloor heating -- is an extra special accommodation.
The 24-room, mid-range Hotel Kokoro Arenal is a yoga-friendly, eco-friendly property a 10-minute drive west of La Fortuna. Charmingly rustic rooms (ranging from eco-cabins to tree houses) lack Wi-Fi and might be a tad too open to the elements for the truly squeamish, but they're reasonably clean and comfortable. They are decorated to feel natural in the rainforest surrounds, with wood walls, carved wooden furniture, and wood or tile floors. Amenities include AC, mini-fridges, and TVs, and all units have outdoor space, usually with at least one chair (some porches, chairs, and views are better than others).
As the name suggests, the three-pearl Out 'n' About Treehouse Treesort is a forested playground comprised of 15 tree houses in a beautiful wooded area of southern Oregon. The tree houses range in size, sleeping from two to four people, and all are rustic and simply furnished. Some have their own kitchenettes and en-suite bathrooms. There's also an on-site zip-line course, and other features include a common kitchen where guests can prepare basic meals, a fire pit area, and a cozy lodge where a free breakfast is served every morning. While there's no denying the novelty of staying in a treehouse, this back-to-the-earth property is a far cry from a luxury vacation spot. Only the more expensive units have private en-suite bathrooms, and the tree houses aren't well soundproofed, which can be particularly problematic when loud groups are hanging out by the central fire pit.
An exceptional property, the Tree House Lodge gives guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature: either lolling on the beach, exploring the jungle habitat, or sleeping in tree-top rooms. The mid-range property takes up 10 acres inside the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Countless animals skitter through the jungle grounds -- there's even an iguana habitat on-site. The eco-lodge has direct access to Punta Uva, a top beach in the area. The five spacious guest tree houses have full kitchens, backyard decks, and hot tubs, but it's their stunning construction, drawing on nature and folding around trees, that casts a spell.
This seven-room eco-resort, a scattering of rustic, sky-high tree house bungalows, allows guests to live our their Lost Boys fantasies, and keep company with howler monkeys and tree branches. The high-ceilinged tree houses come with wraparound porches and bird feeders that the staff keep supplied with fruit to bring out hummingbirds and howler monkeys. To satisfy guests' grown-up needs, rooms come with conveniences like AC and safes, but modern comforts such as TV or Wi-Fi are nowhere to be found.
BaanBooLoo, in Chiang Mai, is certainly unique. This charming and rustic guesthouse, hidden away behind a temple in the heart of the old city, is part of a family home, and the amiable owners strive to recreate the traditional Thai guesthouse feel of old, with plenty of local charm. The six rooms are basic for a boutique hotel, with open-air or tree house-style designs, but they do provide nice touches like large outdoor bathtubs and plenty of mosquito netting. There is no proper restaurant, but guests are always invited to cook and eat with the family to experience true Thai hospitality.
Those who enjoy whimsical decor and a bohemian vibe will most appreciate this budget-friendly cliff-side sanctuary in the western coastal area of Jamaica. Consisting of four non-air-conditioned cottages with small kitchens, Banana Shout is casual and communal, and although the hot water and free Wi-Fi don't always work, it's a place where guests can nap in hammocks on their porches or climb down a cliff-side ladder to take a swim in the Caribbean. Set atop pillars, the Tree House Cottage (pictured) has a massive balcony with hammocks and ocean views. Potential guests should note, however, that this cottage's private bathroom is separate from the standalone cottage.