Lofty, leafy accommodations have been popular for a while, but they’ve generally carried an element of “roughing it.” Now, a new generation of resorts is taking tree houses to a luxuriously new—and higher—level. From Tulum to Tanzania to Thailand, lavish honeymoon suites, suspended dining pods, and spa treatment pavilions are being built among the branches. Here are eight places to get your greenery fix up close.
The Spa Pavilion
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Along with 10 closed-off treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, the spa at Dorado Beach (pictured above)—built on five acres of pineapple gardens and verdant natural landscaping—is expected to reopen on October 1, 2018, with the rest of the property. It has two tree-house pavilions that let guests hear the rustling leaves and enjoy the scent of bay rum leaves and lemongrass. Those who want to sway along with the island breezes can book a hammock massage, in which spa-goers are suspended in a cloth hammock while a therapist works on their pressure points from beneath.
The Presidential Suite
The Treehotel’s 7th Room is by far the most lavish aerie at this design-forward Lapland retreat, which opened in 2016. Built around pine trunks some 33 feet above the ground, the suite sleeps five people. The two bedrooms, living area with sofa bed, bathroom, and shower are all adorned with Scandinavian wood, warm textiles, and organic materials. Large windows throughout and skylights in the bedroom are designed for viewing the northern lights, as well as the panorama of the surrounding forest and the Lule River. The mesh floor of the patio allows for nighttime stargazing (or sleeping) and daytime admiration of the treetops below.
An Eco Lodge Gone Luxe
Papaya Playa Project
Sustainably handcrafted from local zapote and recycled wood, the Papaya Playa Project Resort’s tree house is designed to honor traditional Maya structures and provide plenty of contemporary creature comforts (plumbing, for instance), as well as handcrafted woodwork, soft textiles, and local artwork. Built on stilts to preserve the forest floor, the spherical structures have a living area at leaf-level and a curving staircase that leads above the jungle to a meditation chamber, bedroom, and bathroom with wide-angle views.
A Moment of Zen
The all-villa Hoshinoya Resort was the company’s first resort outside Japan (find its overwater bungalows now in Tahiti). The company does, however, plan to bring elements of its homeland to the new location, including three teahouses for sipping matcha and quietly contemplating the landscape. The structures, which are made largely of glass and cantilevered out over the jungle, are situated along a river gorge near Ubud, meaning there’s green forest extending as far as the eye can see.
The Honeymoon Suite
Secret Bay, an intimate Caribbean hideaway, calls its two new villas “bowers of bliss,” because they have exoticism and privacy galore. Stretching over nearly 1,600 square feet, each Ylang-Ylang Villa—so-called because their exterior shape is inspired by that flower—encompasses a bedroom (which can be air-conditioned) and bathroom, two decks, an outdoor shower, an open-air kitchen, a barbecue, a dining area, and a hammock sofa; when it reopens on November 1, 2018, all six villas will have private plunge pools. Standing on a single “stem,” each is an architectural feat and a dreamy setting for a romantic retreat.
The Meal of a Lifetime
Soneva Kiri Resort’s Treepod Dining experience elevates fine dining in more ways than one. Four diners share a bamboo pod that is gently hoisted high into the branches of a century-old massang tree in Koh Kood’s ancient rain forest, giving them views of the sea. Once aloft, they dine on the resort’s signature gourmet fare (watermelon salad, galangal-baked fish in banana leaves), all delivered by a personal waiter who flies in on a zip line.
Swiss Family Robinson on Safari
&Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
The only permanent lodge in the park of the same name, &Beyond’s outpost here emphasizes the mahogany forest. The original nine suites of the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge are all built on stilts with large decks suspended above the forest floor and cradled in the boughs, and they are crafted from local timber and makuti palm fronds. A family suite takes that model and supersizes it, creating a second bedroom for the kids.
Farm to Treetop
San Jose del Cabo
Acre, the 25-acre spot that began as a bar with killer craft cocktails and restaurant highlighting Baja’s bounty has evolved into a hotel with the recent addition of 12 tree houses. Your stay at the adults-only property includes a two-course breakfast, morning yoga, and access to the pool and surrounding grounds (yes, there are even bocce and badminton courts).
This post was originally published in February 2017. It has been updated to reflect current information.