August 21, 2019

Remember the freedom of being a kid? Unshackled by inhibitions, we ran and climbed trees like no one was watching, and entertained ourselves with just our imagination. A playground turned into a pirate ship, and the sandpit became a body of shark-infested water. Anything was possible back then. These days, dictated by societal norms and expectations, it’s a lot harder to colour outside the lines. Still, we are afforded moments of respite from reality, where we’re free again to venture deep into our imagination and get lost in reverie. The next time you’re on vacation, why not relive those childhood fantasies, starting with a stay at a modern treehouse? From the rustic to the futuristic, these unorthodox treehouse hotels are the stuff of lazy summer dreams.

Treehotel, Sweden

Pairing style with sustainability is Sweden’s Treehotel, which boasts seven distinct lodgings resembling Lego blocks and bird’s nests. Its magnum opus is the Mirrorcube, nestled among the pine trees as a futuristic 16sqm reflective block. Rather than exploiting its surroundings, this hideaway immerses you in the greenery without getting in Mother Nature’s way. From the outside, it’s almost imperceptible, thanks to its mirrored facade, offering you a truly off-the-grid experience. Situated in the Harads village, it is the perfect vantage point from which to take in the Northern Lights and the lush, snow-capped Swedish landscape. Inspired by Jonas Selberg Augustsen’s film, The Tree Lover, it provides a contemporary space for a spot of solitude, while activities such as dog sledding, fishing and fat biking await outside the treehouse.

Lion Sands Treehouses, South Africa

While the Lion Sands Game Reserve is known for its ultra-luxurious, riverside lodges, it also features treehouses. In fact, you’ll get a night at one of these treetop retreats when you book a stay at the lodge. As wild lions and hyenas roam on the jungle floor, you’ll be perched safely among the trees with a full-sized canopy bed and an open-air deck. For a little more protection from the elements, opt for the Kingston Treehouse (which is available to guests of the Ivory Lodge and River Lodge). Glass windows separate you from the forest without compromising on the panorama, while the wooden structure lends a rustic-chic feel to the luxury accommodation.

Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses, New Zealand


Across the Indian Ocean on a deer farm, situated north of eco-marine town Kaikoura in the South Island of New Zealand, Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses has built five modern treehouses, each about 10m above ground. Everything you’ll need and more, including a fireplace, TV, soaking tub, and homely furniture made by local woodworkers, will be available in your private country hut. To accommodate families, Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses provides a two-bedroom dwelling in the sky. Breakfast and dinner are also provided without charge, but the most priceless of the entire experience is the surreal view of the Pacific Ocean and the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range.

Playa Viva, Mexico

Playa Viva is an ocean-facing yoga resort in Mexico that sits elevated at 6 feet above ground. This singularly designed tropical treehouse—the work of Chicago-based practice Deture Culsign—is wrapped horizontally in bamboo, creating a cylindrical cocoon. Inside, the rest of the 700sqft hovel is made from locally, sustainably sourced wood. The luxury treehouse is also powered by solar energy, while its hatch windows serve as a passive cooling strategy, making sure to conserve as much electricity as possible. A hammock, built into the floor of the balcony, adds to the dreamy environment. What’s more, the price tag of the playful accommodation covers daily yoga classes and all meals and drinks.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Finland

Much like the Swedish Mirrorcube, Finland’s Arctic TreeHouse Hotel carries a cuboid, geometric silhouette as well. Its 32 treehouse-like shanties stand on sleek black stilts, which reduces site impact, and are grouped in pairs. One half of the cabin houses the bed and bath, while the other half holds the kitchen and living room. Clad in pine shingles, each treehouse features a green roof with a storm water management system. To keep the natural habitat undisturbed, the lodgings were pre-assembled before being brought into Rovaniemi’s woodland. You might be hard-pressed to leave your new nest, but the nearby Aztec archaeological site and Arctic Forest Spa are worth the odyssey.

Image Credits: Treehotel, Hapuku Lodge