If you spent many a happy day hidden away in your tree house as a kid, or looked longingly at little Jimmy’s one next door—we feel you. Now, thanks to the increase in eco-tourism and the focus on creating buildings that work in harmony with nature, you can relive your Swiss Family Robinson fantasy and stay in a real-life tree house. Best of all, you’ll find them tucked away in some of the most beautiful locations around the world. Here are six tree houses from around the world:
1. Lion Sands, bordering Kruger National Park, RSA
Lion Sands has two ultimate bush bedrooms in this family-owned reserve Bordering Kruger National Park. Kingston Treehouse, hidden by bushes and boulders with a drawbridge entrance, is Tarzan’s lair with a five-star makeover.
Chalkley Treehouse, named after the current owner’s great grandfather who acquired the land in 1932, has its four-poster bed in full view of open savannah and wandering wildlife. The More family say their treehouses are for “hopeless romantics, adventurers and people in need of digital detox”. As for WiFi, they say, “You must be joking!” Out here it’s just a two-way radio for emergencies. Like a leopard coming for a visit, maybe?
2. Serenetree Villa & Tranquilitree Tree House, Kerala, India
What brilliant names they’ve given to these two tree-top villas in this lush Indian coffee plantation. Along with other people staying at the homestead, you are warmly hosted as personal guests of the plantation director and his wife. Drink cocktails and dine on delectable Indian food with them. While the homestay has a house-party ambience, you can sneak away into your pukka tree house, but still have mod cons such as TV, DVD, mini fridge and tea/coffee facilities.
GT LOVES: Sleeping in and sipping on their home-grown coffee
3. Treehotel, Harads, Sweden
The high-flying treetop dreams of owners Kent and Britta became a reality in a tall pine forest in Lapland. Their cutting-edge tree house pods are in a style only Swedes can pull off. Inspired after hosting a crew for the Swedish film The Tree Lover, they now have seven extraordinary tree houses, which they describe as a UFO, a bird’s nest, a cabin, a mirror cube and a blue cone which changes colour to orange. Eat wild game pies cooked by your hosts, and mingle with other guests in the tree dining terrace eight metres up.
4. Rhino Post Sleepout Treehouse – Kruger National Park, RSA
Your afternoon game drive or guided walk from Rhino Post Lodge, through a private concession inside Kruger National Park, ends at a small waterhole overlooked by a multi-level tree house. Your accommodation for the night—a tent pitched on a wooden platform high amongst bushes and trees—gives you a bird’s eye view with full surround sound on whatever goes on in the African bush at night.
GT LOVES: Looking for spoor in the morning to see who was at the waterhole during the night. We found leopard, hyena and elephant prints
Location: Inside Kruger National Park; 45 mins drive from Skukuza Restcamp.
5. The Woodman's Treehouse, Dorset, UK
With a hot tub and sauna, the beautifully-crafted, multi-level Woodsman’s Treehouse, is a whole step up from the one your dad built. It does have one jungle-gym feature though; a steel slide that can deliver you to the ground in one brave leap. The wooden circular room with recessed king-size bed nook and a copper bath sitting smugly in front of a large picture window looking onto a magical Dorset woodland makes this an enchanting escape from reality.
6. Sunrise House, Bali
In Bali, they do tree houses differently. Sunrise House is sustainably designed and hand-crafted entirely of bamboo with no windows and few walls––just some bamboo blinds for privacy. You enter on the third floor into an open lounge and kitchen, while three en-suite bedrooms are on the two floors below. Admire its heavenly position perched on the edge of the river valley, while cooling off in a plunge pool in the private garden.