You can stay in a cheap motel to save, a fancy resort to splurge, or a vacation rental to live like a local. But there’s nothing quite like staying in a tree house hotel, perched above the world below.
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Tree house hotels run the gamut from traditional to unique, whether luxurious villas in Kruger National Park or spherical homes in the forest of Vancouver Island. Plus, they’re surprisingly comfortable with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, minibars, and even private plunge pools. Here are 10 incredible tree house hotel options to consider for your next adventure.
La Piantata, Italy
An 18th century farmhouse, La Piantata offers travelers the chance to relax in rural Italy, away from the droves of tourists who head for the country’s cities and beaches instead. Situated among lavender fields that burst with color, La Piantata offers two tree house hotel options: Black Cabin and Suite Bleue. Both feature minibars with Champagne, wine and other beverages (for a fee). Each also has a terrace where you can soak up the view. The best part? Complimentary breakfast delivered right to your tree house hotel via a pulley system.
Post Ranch Inn, California
California’s Post Ranch Inn combines the charm of a rustic hotel with the accommodations of an upscale resort. Its tree houses are suspended in the redwoods of Big Sur and feature private porches with views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Skylights and binoculars are available for stargazing and wildlife viewing. Tree house hotel options here feature spa tubs, minibars and fireplaces, and breakfast is included. Book a treatment at the onsite spa, or soak in the cliff-side pool. There’s no roughing it here.
Stay at a tree house hotel with contemporary style, Treehotel, in the northeastern part of Sweden. Treehotel offers several themed tree houses, including the UFO and the Bird’s Nest—both of which are shaped and styled to live up to their names. Guests can enjoy ice dining, a three-course meal in a heated tent on a frozen lake, between December and April. Horse-drawn skiing, northern lights photography workshops, moose safaris, and other excursions are also available. Can’t spend the night? You can take a guided tour of the Treehotel.
Secret Bay, Dominica
For the ultimate in seclusion and luxury, Secret Bay‘s tree house hotel villas are perched atop a cliff in Dominica. The bungalows feature terraces, outdoor showers and fully equipped kitchens; some also have washing machines. Select one of the Ylang Ylang or Zabuco Villas to enjoy a private plunge pool too. If you can manage to leave your villa, head to the beach for sunbathing or yoga, or take a cooking class at the onsite restaurant. Other activities at the resort include night snorkeling and sea cave explorations.
Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
At South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Lion Sands Game Reserve features three stunning open-air tree houses, which you can book for a night during a longer stay as part of the reserve’s “A Night Under the Stars” program. While all three tree house hotel options have toilets, only one has a shower. During your stay, you may be lucky enough to encounter some of the “Big Five”—lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopards—from your tree house or via a game tour (included in the rates). Meals are also included in rates, plus beverages and national park entrance fees. While all three tree houses have toilets, only one has a shower.
The Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
A remote eco-hotel nestled into Costa Rica’s Central Valley, the Pacuare Lodge‘s 20 open-air villas perched high above the Pacuare River are largely without electricity so you can totally unplug from the outside world. The National Geographic-recognized bungalows aren’t exactly tree houses—you’ll still be on solid ground, but with a tree-house canopy view, thanks to the steep conservation that the Pacuare Lodge sits on. Some suites have their own tree house decks attached by suspension bridge, and the property offers zip lining, waterfall hikes, and white water rafting to keep guests busy. For relaxation there are high-end spa treatments, and the villas feature private hammocks, infinity pools, claw-foot tubs, and outdoor showers.
The Canopy Tree Houses, Australia
Located in the rain forest of Australia’s Cairns Highlands and surrounded by wildlife, the Canopy Tree Houses eco-resort brings your childhood dreams to life with six private tree house hotel options. Each option features a balcony with a hammock for the ultimate in relaxation. You can also enjoy a massage right in your tree house, with the sounds of the rain forest as relaxing background noise. All tree houses have full kitchens and at least two bedrooms, making them a good option for group and family stays. Outside of the hotel, the list of activities is endless, from hiking to hot-air balloon rides.
Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island
You can stay in a tree house hotel, or you can stay in a tree sphere at this unique hotel on Canada’s Vancouver Island. Choose from Free Spirit Spheres’ three options suspended above the forest: Eve, ideal for solo travelers (one twin bed); Eryn, which sleeps up to three people; and Melody, which sleeps two. Each sphere has electric heat, built-in speakers and limited kitchen facilities. While the spheres don’t have bathrooms inside, guests can use an outhouse directly under their sphere or go to the shared, modern bathhouse with a shower, sink and toilet.
Tree Houses Hotel, Costa Rica
Another eco-friendly option perched in the remote jungle of Costa Rica, the Tree Houses Hotel offers seven tree-nestled options, each with a deck from which you can take in the sights and sounds of native wildlife. Request the Yiguirro or Agouti tree houses for extra seclusion and wrap-around porches providing the best chances to encounter monkeys and toucans. More wildlife sightings are possible via guided night tours—provided free of charge by the hotel. This hotel also has a spa, is close enough to La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano for adventurous day trips, yet it’s remote enough to feel off the beaten path.
Rabeang Pasak Tree House Resort, Thailand
The Rabeang Pasak Tree House Resort is situated in a small village just outside of downtown Chiang Mai, Thailand. Many of the resort’s tree house hotel options sleep two guests, but some are big enough for families. These tree houses feature terraces, outdoor showers, and swings. Use the onsite market to stock up on snacks or order a bite to eat at the cafe. Be sure to rent bikes to explore the local area too.
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Editor’s Note: This story was originally written by Amanda Geronikos Norcross for IndependentTraveler.com. SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon also contributed to this story.