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What Is a Treehouse Hotel?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 23, 2024
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Similar in concept to a youngster's treehouse typically found perched in a backyard tree, a treehouse hotel is often located high among tree branches in scenic and exotic areas. From Australia and China to the United States, hotel treehouses are a worldwide anomaly. Treehouse hotels vary in amenities and size and often feature environmentally-friendly features such as solar power and use of reclaimed materials in their construction.

Amenities vary among treehouse hotel locations. While many treehouse hotels do have electricity, this is not so at the Chole Mjini Lodge, located on the island of Chole in the Indian Ocean. Some facilities, such as the Sanya Nanshan Treehouse in Hainan Island, China, have electricity, but guests wanting a hot shower will have to walk to a nearby location. This is in contrast with The Tree House Lodge in Punta Uva, Costa Rica, which features a shower constructed around a Sangrillo tree that is more than 100-years-old. Another treehouse hotel amenity which varies between locations is the type of toilet facilities offered, which range from flush to "drop" styles.

Keeping with their forest setting, a treehouse hotel may be off the grid and incorporate reclaimed wood and other natural materials into its construction and day-to-day operations. Many facilities use low-energy devices, natural soaps and detergents, and compost kitchen garbage. Teniqua Treetops, a treehouse hotel in South Africa, goes a step further by also catching rainwater for drinking.

A treehouse hotel offers guests a unique, bird's-eye view of the flora and fauna surrounding the locale. The treehouse hotel can offer views of plants and animals that are uncommon on the ground, including those from the canopy of the rainforest. Their sky-high location also makes most treehouse hotels mosquito-free zones, as well as optimal places for bird-watching. Most units also feature large windows to take advantage of natural light and breezes, eliminating the need for air conditioning.

Access to a treehouse hotel is typically through a series of steps and suspended stairways and bridges. Some treehouse hotel rooms are linked together with suspended walkways. The Ariau Amazon Towers in the Brazilian rainforest connects its rooms and restaurants with 5 miles (8 km) of wooden bridges, all at treetop level. The Inkaterra Canopy Tree House at the Reserva Amazonica has a Canopy Walkway 90 feet (27.43 m) above the ground. Many treehouse hotels also offer observation platforms, which are located even higher than the hotel rooms to offer guests spectacular views.

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Discussion Comments
By amysamp — On Nov 19, 2011

I used to love reading the Berenstein Bear books as a child, and I thought it was so neat that they got to live in a treehouse everyday, yet still had amenities like electricity and clean, running water.

There seem to be not only quite a few up and running treehouse hotel's, but there also seems different styles and amenities to choose from.

It is neat that if you want to "rough it", so to speak, there are treehouse hotels to accommodate you.

It is also nice that if you want lots of luxuries and extra amenities, you can find treehouse hotels that suite those preferences as well.

There are different architectural designs to different treehouses as well. Some treehouses are made to be very over-the-top and elaborate, while others are more down-to-earth and simplistic. Some treehouse hotels are made of mostly recycled materials, while others are not.

There seem to be only a few successful treehouse hotels in some countries so far, but I can see them growing in popularity, which probably will increase the numbers of treehouse hotels quite drastically.

As long as these treehouse hotels do not have an ill effect on the environment, I am for the prosperity of these treehouse hotels.

By runner101 — On Nov 18, 2011

I feel so deprived, as I did not know until reading this article that there are treehouse hotels. I of course have heard of a treehouse, but not of a treehouse hotel.

This sounds so amazing and like such a wonderful place to stay. The view from a tree has to be remarkable, seeing all the wildlife and plants from such a different, unique viewpoint. It is like you get to see the world as a bird for a while, which seems amazing.

It is also nice that they have a look-out deck that you can climb up to, to get an even more spectacular view!

I am afraid of heights though, so I wonder if I could conquer my fear of heights while on vacation in one of these treehouse hotels. I can at least hope that I would. I think as long as I wasn’t at the very top of an extremely tall tree, I would feel fine though.

By B707 — On Nov 18, 2011

Recently, I've read that treehouse residences, especially in Japan, are becoming quite popular. They are built with recycled materials, use solar energy, when possible, and have many energy saving features. Some are pretty rustic, while others are quite luxurious.

The owners of these treehouses are certainly getting back to nature. The view must be great, although not always, if you choose a deciduous tree that loses its leaves in the fall.

By BabaB — On Nov 18, 2011

I've heard a little about the treehouse hotels, but I had no idea that they are so far up into the treetops. The one I would most like to visit is the one in the Amazon rain forest that has the hotel rooms, restaurants and other rooms connected by walkways.

It would be very relaxing to be up with the birds, the warm breeze and the beautiful foliage.

By summing — On Nov 17, 2011

I know that there are at least a few tree house hotels on the west coast of the US. When my wife and I got married we considered going on a honeymoon where we would drive around the west coast and stay in nothing but tree house hotels. We ended up going to France instead but we still did a lot of research.

The Oregon tree house hotel was going to be our starting point. From everything we heard this was supposed to be incredible and we both love Oregon. We were then going to head down to California where there are several. One that we looked into was called the hidden canopy treehouses boutique hotel. It is supposed to offer all the amenities of a luxury hotel in a tree.

A part of me wishes we had done that trip but maybe sometime in the future. And hopefully by the time we get around to it there will be even more tree houses.

By gravois — On Nov 16, 2011

I once stayed a night at a treehouse hotel in the Philippines.

It was pretty bare bones. What counted as the lobby was at the base of the tree and then a series of stairways took you up to the rooms, each of which was a different structure built into the tree.

I should have mentioned the tree was massive. There were at least 15 different rooms built into it. None of them had plumbing but they had electricity and the scenery around the tree was amazing.

That entire trip was incredible but that night in that hotel was definitely a standout. Who really believes that they will be able to sleep on a comfy mattress under an electric light high up in a tree in the Philippines?

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