5 Best Tree Houses

Experience the height of luxury in the most natural surroundings, says Annelise Goodsir


Kerala, India

Kerala, India

The Indian "eco-entrepreneur", Babu Varghese, dreamed of building an ecologically-sound resort that would both appeal to nature-loving tourists and support the local community. The result is the Green Magic Nature Resort, on an old cardamom plantation in northern Kerala.

The tree-houses, camouflaged by the thick foliage, are modelled on the traditional homes of the local Paniya people. Access is via an indigenous cane lift and a rope bridge, which hangs 90ft above the forest floor. The tree-top rooms have spectacular views across the valley and sway with the cool mountain breezes, while the big double beds are dressed in warm woollen blankets and colourful Indian textiles.

Enquiries through TourIndia (00 91 471 2331 507; www.tourindiakerala.com). Prices from US$180 (£112.50) per night for a tree-house, including all meals

Lake Manyara, Tanzania

At the remote southern tip of Lake Manyara National Park, which is noted for its tree-climbing lions and 387 species of birds, lies an ancient mahogany forest. Here, against the backdrop of the Great Rift Valley, 10 elegant, stilted tree-houses can be glimpsed, scattered among the boughs of the trees. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is the only safari accommodation within the park. Each tree-house suite has been built using local timber and makuti (palm fronds), and is decked-out in contemporary safari-chic style with earthy tones and voluminous mosquito netting. Tree-house balconies overlook a boma (outdoor dining area), where theatrical meals are prepared.

Prices from US$355 (£221) per person per night, including all meals, two game drives and nature walks. Enquiries through Conservation Corporation Africa on 00 27 11 809 4300, www.ccafrica.com

Cedar Creek, USA

When Bill Compher bought land near Mount Rainier National Park, a few hours' drive south-east of Seattle, he decided to fulfil a childhood fantasy and build a tree-house. Twenty years later the result is perched 50 feet up in a giant cedar. At the top of the stairway leading into the tree, a glass observation deck affords 360 degree views of the dense forest and craggy mountains beyond.

The tree-house sleeps up to five people and contains a living room, kitchen, bathroom and sun room. You sleep in a loft. A skylight gives clear views of Mount Rainier's icy summit, while the sun provides solar energy and the friendly owner hauls water up on his back every day from the clear mountain stream.

Cedar Creek Tree-house (001 360 569 2991; www.cedarcreektreehouse.com) costs US$250 (£156) for two people sharing and $25 (£16) for each additional person, self-catering. Closed February.

Tsala Treetop Lodge, South Africa

Swing off South Africa's famous Garden Route just west of Plettenberg Bay and you'll find a tree-top haven overlooking the vast sweep of the Tsitsikamma forest. The architecture of the main lodge is dramatic: soaring roof, exposed beams, chunky pillars and rough stonework. To reach the 10 secluded tree-house suites, guests pad along winding wooden walkways that meander through the forest canopy. Each tree-house has a private deck with infinity pool, and inside you'll find a living room with roaring log fire, a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and an enormous bathroom with a free-standing stone tub. A candelabra-laden dining area juts out on a platform so diners can eat outside.

Tsala Treetop Lodge (00 27 445 327 818; www.tsalatreetops.com) Doubles from R2,290 (£190) per person per night including breakfast. From 16 April the price drops to R1,720 (£143) per person

Hinchinbrook Island, Australia

Hinchinbrook is Australia's largest island national park, lying off the tropical north Queensland coast and surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. The only accommodation available is barely visible in the tree-tops - the Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge has been carefully designed to blend with the landscape and offers peaceful seclusion in four roomy timber tree-houses. Accessed by winding boardwalks, each is stylishly furnished, dappled by natural forest light and freshened by cool sea air. Timber patios allow incredible views across the rainforest to the ocean beyond.

Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge (00 61 740 668 270; www.hinchinbrookresort.com.au). A one-bedroom tree-house costs from Aus$355 (£145) per person per night, based on two sharing, and includes all meals

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?