World's Top Tree-House Hotels

Courtesy of Post Ranch Inn/ Kodiak Greenwood

These aboveground dwellings are elevated in more ways than one.

Tree houses are pure nostalgia, evoking childhood memories of climbing up rope ladders and slumbering in sleeping bags. In recent years a number of tree-house hotels have sprung up, combining a youthful yearning for adventure with a grown-up desire for comfort. They merge small spaces with immense views and manage to include all the amenities of a luxury hotel suite in the middle of nature.

Working within environmental limitations, designers are forced to find new and innovative ways to offer top-notch accommodations above ground. Small rooms give way to wraparound decks with panoramic views (and sometimes a pool). Floor-to-ceiling windows bring natural light into rooms crafted of wood; staircases and bridges take the place of rope ladders. The lack of space for a kitchen leads to particularly ingenious solutions, like picnic baskets hauled upward by pulley systems.

From triangular dwellings of weathered wood at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California, to minimal-impact tents hanging in the Welsh forest at Red Kite Tree Tent in Powys, Wales, creativity manifests itself in singular designs. While some edifices, like the twig-covered Bird’s Nest at Treehotel in Harads, Sweden, blend in with the natural surroundings, others like Monbazillac, a turreted château in the Dordogne in France, stand out unexpectedly against a forested backdrop. All, however, share one distinct characteristic: the ability to rise above the ordinary.