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.