Would for the trees - Food and Travel
A round-up of the world's best treehouse hotels, chosen as much for their design as their green credentials and epic locations. Read the full story here or get a sense of it from the excerpts below.
Treehotel, Sweden - Not much happens in Harads, a tiny village just 50km south of the Arctic Circle. This is the heart of Sami territory (known as Sapme) and the village’s 600 residents eke out a living by fishing in the thundering Lule River, farming reindeer and taking travellers to hunt the Northern Lights. It’s an unlikely setting for one of the world’s most groundbreaking hotels. Yet in the woodland behind the village, seven extraordinary tree rooms are pushing the boundaries of ecotourism and design.
Pench Tree Lodge, India - Bed down like an extremely chic and ecologically minded Mowgli in one of six new treehouses which have recently opened in this little-developed area. Set in 16ha of woodland on the edge of the village of Pench, it’s easy to imagine the fictional character playing with the Bandar-log monkeys under the Mahua trees, although he would have looked decidedly out of place in the infinity pool. Built on stilts, the treehouses blend contemporary design with traditional jungle living. Think dark wood panelling, contemporary brass bedsteads and colourful tribal fabrics opening on to balconies shaded by fig trees.
Watamu Treehouse, Kenya - This seven-bedroom boutique hotel gives more than a nod to Catalonia’s Gaudi. There are no straight lines or corners. Curved stairwells wind their way to circular roof terraces, paneless windows are irregular shapes and stained glass sunk into the walls sparkles in the intense sunshine.
Lionsands Trehouses, South Africa - Breathtaking by day, by night it’s full of mysterious calls. There are leopards coughing to warn other big cats off their land, impala snorting nervously and hyenas cackling as they spot a kill. If you feel uneasy, a ranger is just a radio call away but an elevation of 9m and a secure latched door will ensure you sleep soundly – if you can tear yourself away from the stars.
Bangkok Treehouse, Thailand - The Thai capital is a city of searing heat, swerving motorcycles, neon lights and home to almost 10 million people. If you ask one of the countless tuk-tuk (rickshaw) drivers for directions to Bang Kachao they will probably look at you blankly. However, just 6km from the business district Sala Daeng, nestled in a bend of the Chao Phraya river, is this lush island. Thai law has protected it from development since 1977, and it’s almost entirely covered in fruit orchards and dense jungle, punctuated by 200-year-old temples.