There are many things from childhood that seem to fall away in adulthood, from playing games to spending time drawing, painting or singing just for fun. One of those lost childhood activities is the art of building—and then spending time in—a treehouse.
Childhood treehouses were usually basic affairs—not much more than a floor, walls and a roof—but they were places where kids’ imaginations could run free. Few of them, though, came with kingsize beds, minibars or private butler service, as many of these luxury treehouses around the world do.
As with our favorite glamping retreats around the world, these remarkable treehouses aren’t just about the accommodations, but about memorable views and the feeling of the great outdoors in some of the world’s most remarkable natural settings, from the beaches of Fiji to the wintry forests of Finland, from the Californian coastline to Peruvian Amazon. Let’s start climbing…
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Post Ranch Inn is an outstanding boutique hotel high on the cliffs of Big Sur, the rugged stretch of Californian coast made famous by the likes of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller. The award-winning Inn, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, has luxurious, grown-up Tree Houses with private stairways nine feet off the ground and spectacular views over the trees. Each one has modern interiors, a kingsize bed, window seats, a wood-burning fireplace, a walk-in shower, a skylight to watch the stars, a sundeck with mountain views, and, almost annoyingly, Wi-Fi. Every day, there’s yoga and garden tours on offer, though you may just choose to wander the fragrant forests.
Treehotel, Harads, Sweden
Treehotel is an eco-friendly boutique hotel set in the middle of unspoiled Arctic pine forests in northern Sweden’s Luleå River Valley. Each treeroom has an inventive, modern design, including the MirrorCube, the Bird’s Nest, the huge The 7th Room or, for anyone wanting to live out their ET fantasies, the sleek metallic UFO, which looks like the aliens have parked their spaceship in the forest. The hotel is within the ‘aurora zone’, meaning there are good opportunities to see the Northern Lights from the treetop viewpoints. Guests can also spend their days skijoring (being pulled along on skis by a vehicle, dog or horse), snowmobiling, ice-fishing, husky-sledding or feeling the adrenaline rush of ice-driving, with horse-riding, hiking and more possible during the summer months.
Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
Sumba Island is twice the size of Bali and just an hour’s flight away, but it receives far fewer of the tourist hordes. It’s home to pristine and beaches, tropical scenery and fascinating tribal cultures. The Mamole Treehouse is a unique place to stay at Nihi Sumba, a remote hideaway on the island. Built around the trunk of a tree and immersed in nature, Mamole’s first floor contains an open-air living room and a bathroom that leads out to a private lounge area overlooking an infinity pool. Circular in shape and encased in fully functional sliding glass doors on all sides, the Mamole master bedroom is highly distinctive, with a balcony overlooking the ocean. The treehouse also comes with private butler service.
Matangi Private Island Resort, Fiji
The privately-owned 240-acre Fijian island of Matangi has many natural wonders, not least the beautiful, horseshoe-shaped Horseshoe Bay and beach, framed by green hills. There, three Treehouse Bures are surrounded by tropical foliage and perched high up in the treetops, with views over the ocean, the beach and neighbouring islands. Each treehouse has a separate living area, an outdoor shower and a spacious deck with its own Jacuzzi and relaxing day beds. You could spend your time relaxing on white sand beaches but there are plenty of ways to get active too, including scuba diving and snorkelling, kayaking, sailing and hiking the rainforest trails up to the summit of Matangi’s highest peak for panoramic views of Horseshoe Bay.
Ivory Lodge in Lion Sands, South Africa
Built beyond an outcrop of boulders and accessed via a small drawbridge, Kingston Treehouse provides a private vantage point over Sabi Sands Game Reserve, one of Africa’s great wildlife locations. Inside the elegant contemporary wood and glass structure, there are plenty of creature comforts, including a kingsize feather beds and a hot shower, but it’s the location that makes the big impression, with animal calls audible at night and stars shining in the African night sky. A night in the Treehouse is available to guests at Ivory Lodge in Lion Sands. Guests arrive at sunset for a picnic to spend the dusk hours spotting wildlife out in the bush, then fall asleep counting shooting stars.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Peru
Reserva Amazonica is part of the Peruvian-owned Inkaterra hotel collection, with 35 luxurious wooden cabanas set in the Peruvian Amazon, adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve on the bank of the Madre de Dios river. The Inkaterra Canopy Tree House is for those with a head for heights, a thatched constructed with a 26-metre-high vantage point from which to take in the sights and sounds of the Amazon. A night in the canopy tree house comes with a private butler to deliver snacks, cold drinks or chilled bottles of Champagne, plus a complimentary sun downer and a private dinner in the rainforest canopy.
Wa Ale Island Resort, Myanmar
Wa Ale Island Resort opened in October 2018 on the island of Wa Ale in southern Myanmar’s Lampi Marine National Park, with a lovely location in a sheltered cove, overlooking a beach and intriguing rock formations. The island’s only reachable via a high-speed transport boat from the mainland. As well as 11 tent beach villas, there are two treetop villas here, high up in the canopy, perfect for a romantic couple’s getaway. The wooden structures contain kingsize beds and come with an outdoor shower and a private veranda for looking out to the beach and ocean. The island is home to monitor lizards, gibbons, rare pangolins, white-bellied sea eagles and more, while whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays and other impressive marine life populates the waters of the Myeik Archipelago.
Treetop Hideaways, Tennessee
Treetop Hideaways is located on the side of Lookout Mountain, outside Chattanooga, in the middle of an old growth forest wilderness area. There are two choices for rustic treehouses here: Luna Loft Treehouse or the Elements Treehouse. Luna Loft Treehouse is made from a reclaimed 1860s barn wood, with immense 16-foot-tall windows from an old warehouse and copper-lined whiskey barrel shower in the bathroom. The Elements Treehouse is a more luxurious offering, with heated floors, a rainfall shower and Wi-Fi. The treetop settings allow for views of the Tennessee mountains, with plenty of ways to explore the surrounding great outdoors available, including hiking, rock-climbing, biking, kayaking, paddleboard and exploring caves.
Marataba Game Reserve, South Africa
Thabametsi Treehouse is set in the wild open plains of Marataba Game Reserve. While the rest of Marataba Safari Lodge has 15 canvas- and-stone Tented Suites, Thabametsi is a unique two-level treehouse with a bedroom, full shower room facilities, and dining and lounge areas, the whole thing powered with solar energy. Private and set away from the main lodge, and therefore ripe for romantic private stays, the treehouse also has a six-metre-long Martini Step deck with views over the surrounding ridgelines, trees and the seemingly unending plains, making it a good spot for sundowners.
The Living-Room, Wales
The Living-Room’s six treehouse are located eight miles from the market town of Machynlleth in mid-Wales, close to the coast, with fine sandy beaches, dunes and hills for scenic, sometimes blustery walks. Snowdonia National Park is also nearby. The setting is a woodland of oak, larch and Scots Pine with open pastures and mountain streams all inside a hidden valley. Created using sustainably harvested wood, each unique treehouse has an open-plan design, divided into a sleeping area and living area with a kitchen and dining room, with cosy wood-burning stoves and flickering candles. There’s also an outside deck, with craftsmen-made chairs and a dining table for memorable dinner experiences in the treetops.
Segera Retreat, Kenya
Nay Palad Bird Nest is a quirky, luxurious way to really feel the great outdoors, located in the wilds of Kenya. As the name suggests, it’s not technically a treehouse, though it does look like a tree and a bird’s nest fits neatly into our ‘treetops’ theme. Nay Palad Bird Nest is a two-level suite built with interwoven tree branches and a circular viewing platform at the top for 360-degree views over the surrounding plains of Laikipia. It’s part of the Segera Retreat, built next to a river that’s popular with local with wildlife. Segera guests are brought here after an evening game drive just before sunset, where they’re welcomed to the lantern-lit tower with Champagne and a picnic-style dinner.