Playing into childhood nostalgia and the serenity of woodland escapism, the increasing popularity of treehouse lodges across the globe is easy to understand. Unlike any kind of hotel or resort, these elevated havens provide unique hideaways for travelers of various adventure-levels, from hikers in Tennessee and Amazonian daredevils to waterpark enthusiasts in Texas and fearless animal-lovers in South Africa. From the Peruvian jungle to a makeshift UFO in Sweden, these are nine of the world’s most unique and destination-worthy treehouse lodges.
Dove Men+Care Elements Treehouse, Chattanooga, Tennessee
One of the newest and most spectacular treehouses is the creative handiwork of Dove Men+Care and acclaimed treehouse designer Pete Nelson. Hidden away at the foot of miles-long Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee (technically just over the Georgia border in Flinstone), the treehouse entails a mini hike up the hill to access. Part of the Treetop Hideaways property, the Elements Treehouse is a brand new addition boasting forest solitude and furnishings inspired by the Elements line of Dove products. This means decor like sage bedding, charcoal-etched wall art and sandalwood wall accents provide an ambient, natural aesthetic, while striking design features include warm stone flooring in the bathroom and a glass-enclosed tree soaring through the floor and alongside the shower. It’s also got a couple decks that provide a soothing view of the woods, where the only noise is chirping birds. A wood ladder takes guests upstairs to a sunroof-lit loft with two smaller beds, while the main level contains a master bed, refrigerator, couch, sprawling rug and more. An added bonus: there’s a fire pit just below the treehouse, and DIY s’mores kits are provided.
Treehouse Lodges, Iquitos, Peru
As long as you’re well-stocked with mosquito netting, the Amazon is easily one of the most majestic and beautiful locales in the world, especially when it comes to sleeping in a tree. For a prime example, check out the treehouse lodge in Iquitos, Peru, the only all-inclusive treehouse in the Amazon, located by the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Near a tributary of the mighty Amazon River, this place is about as remote as it gets. Without any roads leading in or out of Iquitos, the lodges are only accessible via boat or plane. Then once you’re in Iquitos, it’s an even further trek to access the treehouses, entailing a multi-river boat ride traversing the Marañon River, Amazon, Ucayili River and finally, the Yarapa. The lodges are nestled above the Yarapa River, where it merges with the Cumaceba, providing a vista of the converging black and brown waters. It’ll be worth the effort, too, as it doesn’t get much cozier than these fully-stocked treetop cabanas. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, the views can’t be beat, and the air is less humid up here too. All 10 lodges employ a chef who cooks meals for treehouse guests, and a common area is accessed via raised wooden pathways and steel cable bridges.
One of the most remote treehouse resorts on the planet, the Treehotel in the northern nether regions of Sweden boasts some of the most striking and unusual treehouses anywhere. Each is individually designed by imaginative Scandinavian architects, and all skew contemporary with modular motifs. The Mirrorcube is a camouflaged oasis that blends into its tree-lined surroundings through mirrored walls, accessible via an elevated bridge. Another treehouse that disappears into its surroundings is the Bird’s Nest, which features an exterior wall surrounded by branches. Then there’s the UFO treehouse, which literally looks like it descended from space and planted itself in the Swedish forest. With roof for five people, the UFO can be reached by a steep set of stairs and is outfitted with extraterrestrial pillows and blankets within the circular space.
Riverview Tree Houses, Belize
Soaring 75-feet into the jungle treetops, the Riverview Tree Houses along the Caves Branch River in Belize need to be seen to be believed. As long as you’re not petrified of heights, it’s the experience of a lifetime, with incredible rainforest views through the screened-in living room and from the decks. Each treehouse contains a king-size bed, bunk beds, marble fixtures sourced from Mexico and Guatemala and both indoor and outdoor showers. There’s also a larger two-story treehouse designed to sleep up to six people, which is great if you’re traveling with a sizable group. In case the lodges themselves weren’t extraordinary enough, the resort has numerous adventure excursions for guests to participate in and maximize their jungle experience. These include caving, Mayan ruins tours, zip lines, snorkeling, river tubing and lots more.
Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
Scattered throughout Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina lowcountry, treehouses are accessible for residents of the Bluff and hotel guests to explore. The Bluff, the largest waterfront property on the East Coast, is a nature-lovers’ wonderland, featuring a whopping 32 miles of riverfront, marshes and nature trails. That ambience only increases with the addition of treehouses, which are situated on massive, ancient oak trees and surrounded by lush plants. While guests can’t sleep in the treehouses, these glorious multi-level amenities are ripe for exploration and luxuriating. Of the two treehouses on the property, one is a six-story structure on the banks of Cauley’s Creek, with panoramic views of the woods, rivers and marshland from the top. Another one is three stories, overlooking the inland waterway in Wilson Village. It’s got several porches and a small zip line, too.
Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
Utterly surrounded by un-marred nature and the vastness of the African bush, the Lion Sands Treehouses in South Africa are not for the faint of heart. Honking hippos, roaring lions and cackling hyenas are common noises heard here, but fear not: all treehouses are securely constructed well above the ground, safely distanced from animal life on the ground below. The on-site Field Guide drops guests off before sunset and remains on-call all night. Intimidating animal noises aside, this place is heaven on Earth. Stars illuminate the night sky, casting a zen-like glow over each treehouse. With electricity and WiFi non-existent, it’s easy to unplug and bask in the pristine seclusion. Gourmet picnics and drinks are provided, while netted beds and couches are completely open-air, with sprawling views of plains, the Sabie River and treetops.
Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, Texas
Although not located in the woods or above a plain, the “tree hauses” at the New Braunfels location of Schlitterbahn water park in Texas gets serious bonus points for its unique location and creative ingenuity. Cabanas are housed in hand-sculpted concrete and outfitted with reclaimed wood salvaged from a massive fire near Austin a few years ago. Located above a large river ride at the park, which by the way is the gold standard for water parks in the U.S., these raised cabanas provide action-packed views, a prime locale for fun-lovers and swimmers.
Les Cabanes du Bois Landry, Eure-et-Loir, France
Looking like something out of the Swiss Family Robinson, the whimsical treehouses at Les Cabanes du Bois Landry in the oak-filled forests of rural France are strung together by rope bridges, ladders and stairs, giving them the look and feel of a legit familial treehouse in the woods. Each cottage-like confine is unique and different, rich with character and charm. Depending on skill level and fear of heights, there are different treehouses for every variety of guest, including some easily accessed via steps and others via zip line, walkways and ladders. There’s even a floating hut in the pond, reached via a wooden dock. This nautical nook feels like a house boat, and fishing is abundant if you bring your own gear.
Rosewood Puerto Papagayo, Costa Rica
Due in 2020, some of the most gorgeous treehouses are taking shape at the Rosewood Residences Papagayo, overlooking the immaculate Gulf of Papagayo on the cliffs of Costa Rica’s northern Guanacaste shoreline. When the resort premieres, it will feature 92 private residences and treehouses available for purchase. Yes, dreams can come true. Altogether, there will be 11 two-story treehouse suites, each boasting a contemporary, sleek design, intimacy, romantic ambience and of course, unparalleled views of the ocean. Start saving now.
Written by Matt Kirouac
Read more posts by Matt Kirouac