10 TREETOP WONDERS 9 HAPUKU LODGE, NEW ZEALAND
Branch out with a bird’s view of some exciting high-end accommodation
1 SILKY OAKS LODGE, QUEENSLAND
You don’t have to look far to find the world’s best treehouse – it’s in Australia, according to the inaugural hotels.com awards for treehouses. Silky Oaks Lodge comprises a series of luxury treehouses on the banks of the Mossman River next to Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland. Part of the elite Luxury Lodges of Australia group, Silky Oaks was deemed to have a higher rating among guests than any other similar property globally. Downstream from Mossman Gorge, the lodge features an open-sided treehouse restaurant, hammocks, jet tubs and verandas. Rates start from $440 a night.
2 SECLUDED, PRIVATE TREEHOUSE, US
If you want proof of the treehouse accommodation obsession, this private treehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, is it. It’s the most wished-for Airbnb listing in the world – because, really, who wouldn’t want to stay there ... or at least dream about it? Located just minutes from downtown Atlanta, the treehouse was built by former Greenpeace director Peter Bahouth in his back yard nearly two decades ago, When Airbnb took off he opened it to the public. The treehouse consists of three separate areas: a bedroom, sitting room and hammock deck – each connected by rope-bridges. Rates start from about $500 a night.
3 THE GIBBON EXPERIENCE, LAOS
If you’re after a luxurious flopand-drop holiday, this is not for you. But if you’re up for an adventure, the chance to see gibbons in their natural habitat in Nam Kan National Park, and the opportunity to stay in the world’s highest treehouses (30-40m off the forest floor), this is the ticket. Two- and three-night adventures include steep treks, zip-lines of up to 600m long (part of a 15km zip-line network) and accommodation in treehouses scattered within the national park – and, of course, if you’re lucky, a peek at the forest canopy’s elusive residents. Rates start at about $265 for a two-day, one-night tour.
4 TREEHOTEL, SWEDEN
The ultimate treehouse fantasy adventure is at Treehotel. Each one of this hotel’s imaginative rooms is a marvel in its own right – from the bird’s nest and mirror cube, which are designed to reflect the surroundings, to the striking sight of a UFO and blue cone that changes to a brilliant orange. Then there’s the one where the entire underside of the building is covered by a life-size photo of the treetops as they looked before the room was put in place. Set in forest in Swedish Lapland, each eco-friendly cabin is suspended up to 10m above the ground, with bird’s-eye views of Lule River. Rates start from about $760 a night.
5 AZULIK RESORT, MEXICO
Overlooking the Caribbean Sea at Tulum, this adults-only ecoresort’s villas have been built by Mayan craftsmen using local wood to blend with the jungle environment. The resort says it “offers nature as our main amenity”, which means no electric lights or TVs in these treehouses – but the 360-degree views make up for it. If it all gets a little too much lounging around in your villa’s plunge pool, you can pop out to the secluded beach to spot turtles or take a dip (in keeping with the nature theme, it’s clothing-optional). Or head to the resort restaurant, Kin Toh, perched 12m above the jungle. There are 47 villas to choose from, but if you’re looking for the ultimate luxury,
you’ll need to budget about $5000 a night for the honeymoon villa.
6 TREE HOUSE RUMAH POHON NO. 3, INDONESIA
It’s described as “all your childhood dreams embodied in a miracle”, but really, no words are necessary once you’ve seen the photos of the views from this treehouse. Located in the treetops on the coastline of Nusa Penida, a tiny island southeast of Bali, the hut is the third to be built on a cliff overlooking the ocean for some of the island’s most incredible views. While the facilities aren’t five-star, we reckon $55 a night seems a steal for an outlook like this.
7 KEEMALA, THAILAND
Set in Phuket’s lush jungle, Keemala Resort pitches itself as a “wonderland” and doesn’t disappoint. Each of its 38 stunning pool villas is inspired by the stories of the rainforest’s ancient mythical tribes. Guests can get a bird’s eye view of the forest and Andaman Sea from its stilted bird’s nest villas – complete with 30m infinity pool – or hang around in a two-storey tree pool house, seemingly suspended from the treetops. Opulent interiors continue the individual villa themes, such as cocoon-style beds and lounges, and beautifully appointed bathrooms. Rates start from about $500 a night.
8 NIHI SUMBA ISLAND, INDONESIA
It’s hard to go past a resort that’s claimed the title of best hotel in the world two years running. Since opening in 2015 on the site of a former beach hostel, Nihi Sumba Island has twice been named the No. 1 hotel in the world by the US’s Travel + Leisure. Not only is it famous among surfers for Occy’s Left, one of the world’s most legendary waves, it’s home to one of the world’s most impressive treehouses. The two-storey, threebedroom Mamole Treehouse is built around a tree trunk, with an infinity pool, circular master bedroom level and balcony for beach views. Rates start from about $8470 a night. NIHI.COM
Billed as “your bedroom in the sky”, Hapuku Lodge’s five treehouses sit 10 metres off the ground in the canopy of a native kanuka grove. Sure, there’s a few steps to reach them (no backyard rope ladder here though), but the dramatic views across Kaikoura’s mountains and the Pacific Ocean are worth it – the region is said to be home to some of the most spectacular sunsets on the South Island. Inside the treehouses, you’ll find a fireplace, jacuzzi and handcrafted furniture, and a balcony for an extra dose of the outdoor life. Rates start from $NZ999 (about $A894) a night.
TSALA TREETOP LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA
Decadent bathrooms, loos with views and infinity swimming pools high above the treetop canopy ... your childhood treehouse never looked like this. Located on South Africa’s exquisite Garden Route, Tsala Treetop Lodge has 16 treetop suites and villas built from stone, wood and glass, perched above the forest floor. Rustic and romantic, each treehouse has a fireplace, indoor and outdoor showers and with a deck extending into the forest where you can enjoy sweeping views from your private plunge pool. Rates start from about $330 a person a night.
NIHI SUMBA ISLAND
ATLANTA AIRBNB, US
Let your imagination soar in these impressive treehouses.
TSALA, SOUTH AFRICA
GIBBON EXPERIENCE, LAOS
HAPUKU, NEW ZEALAND
SILKY OAKS, AUSTRALIA