Most children dream of living in a tree house. Now, a burgeoning hotel market offers adults a chance to indulge the fantasy. The most basic are little more than a raised sleeping platform, but some offer luxurious amenities more often associated with the best hotels. Here are some of the world’s best treetop getaways.
Spirit Spheres, Qualicum Beach, B.C.
Strung like ornaments between the branches of the surrounding trees, the three tree houses at Spirit Spheres—Eve, Eryn and Melody—include lights, heating and coffee makers. When nature calls, however, you will have to descend to the ground where an electric composting outhouse awaits. From $185 a night, based on double occupancy. freespiritspheres.com
2. Black Cabin
La Piantata, Viterbo, Italy
Amid the leaves of a 200-year old maritime pine, the cabin offers a Corian-lined shower, LED lighting, a flat-screen TV and Bose home-theatre system. But with views over the olive groves and lavender hills of Tuscany, it’s unlikely you’ll spend much time watching reruns. Approx. $525 per night. lapiantata.it
3. The Nest
Treebones Resort, Big Sur, Calif.
Artist Jayson Fann harvested individual branches and employed a unique “weaving” technique to create this tree house on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean. There are no amenities whatsoever—the nest isn’t even rainproof—but the branch-framed view of the ocean is better than high-def flat screen any day. Rates from $110 with a minimum two-night stay. treebonesresort.com
Orion B&B, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
To minimize the environmental impact, the eight red-cedar-constructed tree houses are built on stilts between the trees instead of being perched on the trunk. When it comes time to descend from the trees, there’s a natural pool lined with plants and pebbles that filter impurities and require no chemicals or U.V. filters. Two-night stays from $450. orionbb.com
5. Canopy Tree House
Inkaterra Reserva, Amazonica, Peru
Reached by boat and perched nearly 30 metres above the forest floor, the suite is ideally located for encounters with monkeys, toucans, orchids and butterflies. With a traditional palm-thatched roof, the suite has its own dedicated “canopy butler” who assists guests during their stay. A suspension bridge connects the suite to an extensive tree-top path and two 100-foot-high towers. Rates from $675 per night. inkaterra.com
6. Mirrorcube Treehotel
Set among centuries-old pines in the boreal forest and designed in collaboration with some of Scandinavia’s most celebrated architects, five tree rooms—there are plans for an eventual 24—are built in a variety of materials and styles. The ultra-modern Mirrorcube is clad in reflective exterior walls that render the cube virtually invisible. To prevent birds from flying into the cube, it’s treated with infrared film that’s invisible to humans. In true Swedish style, there’s also a tree sauna that can accommodate up to 12 people. From $570 a night based on double occupancy. treehotel.se
(Photos courtesy of Free Spirit Spheres; Inkaterra Reserva; Harry Chen; Orion B&Beautiful; Maurizio Brera/La Piantata; Åke E:son Lindman/Tham & Videgård Arkitekter)