By: JACK M.
Many of us do it once or even twice a year—we go on vacation. And travelling to a new state or province, or even to a new country, is as much a part of the experience and enjoyment as getting away from the routine of the office or the humdrum that defines everyday life for the other fifty weeks of the year. While the more adventurous of us will spend those couple of weeks hiking, back-packing or maybe roughing it on a kayaking trip down the Amazon, many of us end up going from one big city to another. Even if we’re travelling around a bit, we often end up staying in a nearby city. And where do we stay while we’re in the city? Unless we’ve got some long-lost cousin who’s sent a mi casa su casa invitation, or we want to take our chances with a motel on the outskirts of town, we stay in a traditional big-city hotel.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of fabulous cities around the world with more culture, history and great amenities than could ever be taken in in a two-week stint. But if you want something a little more serene than big-city traffic, a little less stressful than waiting in long line-ups, and a little friendlier than a concrete shoebox in the sky, try a treehouse vacation. The options in location, price and facilities are fast becoming varied—from economical (which, as any seasoned traveller knows, is a euphemism for “sparse”) to super luxurious.
A typical treehouse vacation is about as far removed from a trip to Paris, or New York or Tokyo as you can imagine. Instead of endless miles of asphalt and steel, you might find yourself meandering through a pathless forest. Instead of being surrounded by glass towers and constant neon that demands your attention, you’ll be cocooned in an unassuming canopy of green. Instead of the constant drone of traffic and the mediocrity of the glassy-eyed muttering masses, your silence will only be interrupted by a babbling brook or the occasional croaking bullfrog. Instead of breathing the artificially-scented air of your hotel room or the pungent fumes of a back-firing diesel truck, the only intrusion might be the scent of pine needles or wild wisteria.
As with the traditional hotel scene, the price range of staying at a treehouse hotel caters to everyone, from the budget-conscious trekker to the I-just-got-my-inheritance vacationer. In North America, you’re not going to get much under $150 a night for two (but there are some exceptions); however, if Europe is your destination of choice, there are some great deals. This place in France’s Burgundy region will set you back less than $100 a night, and this little gem in Spain is just $70 a night. A stay at this hideaway in Costa Rica will run you from $100 to $200 a night for two people, and FreeSpiritSpheres on Canada’s spectacular Vancouver Island will cost about $200 a night for two people. Moving upscale a bit, Washington State’s Treehouse Point is in the $300 to $400 range. But if nothing short of luxury is what you’re after, there’s lots out there to choose from, like California’s Post Ranch Inn’s treehouse that comes in around $1,200 per night, or this exclusive location in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater that’ll set you back the better part of a couple of grand per person per night in the high season. But compared to the $45,000 a night price tag of the Presidential Suite at India’s Raj Palace Hotel, it’s a steal.
All these treehouse hotels have most of what you won’t find in the big city, but some of the more exclusive treehouse hotels are almost resort-like, with amenities like spa treatments, fine dining, fireplaces and guided tours. Many are actually built right into a jungle, like this one in Belize and this one in India. Other than Antarctica, there are treehouse hotels on every continent, and in almost every country, but whatever your destination and whatever your budget, you’ll probably have no problems finding your ideal place on the Internet. Here’s one resource that’s worth checking out and another great resource (especially for the budget-conscious traveller) is Airbnb. And here’s a great resource for getting reviews.
And remember, you don’t have to be on a two-week holiday to enjoy your stay in the trees. If you’re just planning a weekend getaway, or a company meeting, or even if you’re looking for something a little different for a wedding, the memory of waking up to birdsong will last a whole lot longer than the memory of waking up to a backfiring truck.