Raise your hand if you wanted a tree house as a child. Perched high above the ground, surrounded by nature, it's little wonder so many of us harboured some kind of tree-house fantasy as children. And as adults, the idea of bedding down high in the leaves, hidden from the world below with only birds for company, is still incredibly enticing.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tree-perched abodes out there that offer travellers the chance to live out their childhood fantasies, all while experiencing the levels of luxury you'd expect from a five-star hotel stay.
From a wildlife-surrounded hideaway in a Tanzanian mahogany forest to a minimalist treetop retreat in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, here are 10 of the world's best tree-house hotels, all of which come with a front-row view of nature's theatre.
1. Treehotel, Sweden
Nestled among the pines in northern Sweden, Treehotel offers a range of accommodation options. Pick from the Mirrorcube, a dazzling reflective box that dangles between the trees, or the Bird's Nest, a spherical haven that looks exactly as it sounds andcamouflages you in nature. The Cabin makes the most of its elevation overlooking the Lule River Valley, while the Blue Cone, inspired by Sweden's traditional wooden houses, is ideal for guests with accessibility requirements. No matter which tree house you reserve, autumn visits are magical as the fiery colours of nature light up the forest floor and harvest season approaches, bringing with it fresh berries, wild mushrooms and more. Spend days hiking, horse-riding, canoeing or trail running through the forest.
Rates start from 4,400 Swedish krona (Dh1,674) per night; treehotel.se/en
2. Mamole Tree House, Indonesia
Frequented by travellers in search of the perfect swell, Sumba Island offers undiluted natural beauty, perfect sandy beaches, turquoise waters and low limestone hills. Located about 1,000 kilometres east of Bali, Mamole Tree House at Nihi Sumba is the place to stay to reignite those childhood dreams. Curved around the thick trunk of a tree, this three-bedroom tree-house estate comes with an open-air living room, private infinity pool, several balconies, all with amazing views, and a private butler to look after your every need. Head out on a trek to the nearby Blue Waterfall or down to the shore for surfing, paddle-boarding and snorkelling galore. As night falls, retreat to your tree house for private dining complemented by epic sunsets and the chance to fall asleep among the quiet rustling of the forest leaves.
Rates start from $6,245 (Dh22,900) per night; nihi.com
3. Arctic Treehouse Hotel, Finland
Like something from the pages of a Nordic fairy tale, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in the capital of Finland's Lapland combines tree-house living with sleek Scandinavian design. Set on a hillside, these cabins all come with a north-facing glass wall for expansive forest views. Light pollution is minimal, so your chances of spotting the Northern Lights are high. Eco-features are important – the hotel was the first in Finnish Lapland to get the Green Key eco-label and all the buildings are made from local Finnish wood, a traditional, sustainable and renewable material. Each cabin has a green roof, which helps reduce the hotel's environmental footprint, and the company plants up to 10,000 new seedlings in the surrounding forests every year, something guests can participate in. When it comes to eating, the menu changes according to the season, but always centres on local ingredients, something that is good for both your palate and the environment. Cosy up in the snowflake-shaped main house in front of a roaring log fire, explore the forest on a bike crafted from Finnish birch, or simply relish the peace and tranquillity of Arctic evenings with nature right on your doorstep.
Rates start from €400 (Dh1,632) per night; arctictreehousehotel.com
4. &Beyond Tree Lodge, Tanzania
Teeming with groundwater forests, tropical savannas and alkaline waters, Lake Manyara National Park is home to the lake that Ernest Hemingway described as the loveliest he had seen in all of Africa. Soak up the region's unsurpassed natural beauty from &Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, the only permanent reserve in the park. It consists of nine stilted tree-house suites surrounded by a towering mahogany forest. Each tree house has its own veranda that looks out on to the canopy, the perfect spot to view some of Manyara's famous wildlife. Keep any eye out for the Serengeti's famous tree-climbing lions, members of the world's largest baboon population and the dusky flamingos at nearby Soda Lake. Rates include meals, drinks and daily game-drives, as well as a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars for prime wildlife viewing.
Rates start from $840 (Dh3,084) per night; andbeyond.com
5. Lion sands game reserve, South Africa
Lying along the banks of the Sabie River overlooking the world-famous Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve guarantees some of the world's best wildlife-spotting opportunities. Guests at Lion Sands's River or Ivory Lodges can spend the night getting closer to nature with a stay in either the open-air Chalkley Treehouse or the enclosed Kingston Treehouse. Here, the only sounds accompanying your stay will be the whistles, growls, huffs and roars of the animal kingdom. Two adults and two children can settle into the Kingston Treehouse, where you can pull the safety drawbridge closed and enjoy a treetop haven 10 metres above ground. Dinner is a gourmet picnic illuminated by lanterns, and stargazing opportunities are infinite.
Rates start from 3,950 South African rand (Dh983) per person, per night, on top of base per person rates at River Lodge (from Dh2,630) or Ivory Lodge (from Dh5,123); lionsands.com
6. Four Seasons Golden Triangle, Thailand
In the wilderness of Thailand's northernmost point, some four hours from Chiang Mai, the Four Seasons Golden Triangle resort offers tented accommodation nestled atop a lush bamboo jungle. Getting here involves sailing down a river on a traditional long-tail boat, before disembarking in the mouth of the jungle. You'll reach your tented tree-house hideaway via a private walkway through the canopy. Inside, expect elegant safari-style decor as well as a vast living area, outdoor deck and open-air shower. Each of the hillside tree houses comes with views of Myanmar, the Laos mountains or the Ruak River. A private bar, twice-daily housekeeping and complimentary Wi-Fi means you'll get all the luxuries of a hotel escape, coupled with peaceful natural surroundings. Evenings here are best spent soaking in your private wooden hot tub gazing up at a starlit sky.
Rates start from 105,000 Thai baht (Dh12,500) per night; fourseasons.com/goldentriangle
7. Treehouse Bure at Matangi private Island resort, Fiji
With its palm-lined beaches, azure blue waters and coconut palms, Fiji's 240-acre Horseshoe Bay Beach is proof that tropical island fantasies do exist. The bay is all that remains of an ancient volcano that disappeared into the sea and is listed in Workman Publishing's travel bible, 1,000 Places to See Before you Die. Matangi Island Resort is the only place to bed down on the island, and you should book the Treehouse Bure for ultimate travel goals. As well as being entirely surrounded by lush greenery – ideal if privacy is high on your agenda – you'll be mere steps from the beach. Enjoy al fresco bathing in your outdoor lava rock shower or chill out in a private Jacuzzi. Tree-house interiors are beautifully designed in traditional Fijian style and the balconies are the perfect spot from which to watch the sun set over the South Pacific.
Rates start from $990 (Dh3,635) per night; matangiisland.com
8. Hapuku Lodge, New Zealand
Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura on New Zealand's South Island is one for wildlife enthusiasts. The region is famed for its whale-watching, and travellers can spot sperm whales, dusky dolphins, orcas and humpbacks. Surfers will also be in paradise, thanks to the famed surf of Mangamaunu. Check into one of the lodge's wood-clad tree houses, towering high above the ground in the Kanuka grove canopy. For a romantic getaway, book an upper branch room where you'll get wraparound windows offering impressive views of mountains and oceans, olive groves and free-roaming deer. Ecotourism is critical here – the town was the first local authority in the world to become a Green Globe-certified community. The lodge follows precise environmental policies, such as using solar power, sourcing local food and replanting native trees.
Rates start from NZ$1,188 (Dh2,792) per night; hapukulodge.com
9. Tulum Treehouse, Mexico
Tulum Treehouse sits on the edge of a dense mangrove jungle just south of Tulum, the Yucatan Peninsula's much coveted destination. This beautifully designed minimalist jungle tree house sleeps up to 10 people and can be rented out in its entirety, or by the room. Offering a welcome respite from the heat with its smooth white cement and Tzalam wood walls, it's all wide wraparound terraces, outdoor dining spaces and swaying hammocks that evoke the breezy vibes of this Mexican-Caribbean coastline. Take time to explore the nearby Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, which is home to jaguars, panthers, crocodiles and dolphins, or explore the world's second-biggest coral reef just metres from your door.
Rates for the villa start from $1,850 (Dh6,794) per night, single rooms from $245 (Dh900); tulumtreehouse.com
10. Chewton Glen, England
Set in England's New Forest, Chewton Glen is a quintessential British country manor that also offers a tree-house suite. Set in more than 52.6 hectares of woodland, parks and gardens, the manor's estate extends all the way down to the Solent coastline.
While good weather can't be guaranteed – this is Britain, after all – a one-of-a-kind stay certainly can. The Treehouse Hideaway Suite comes with a sense of seclusion, but in reality is only a short walk from the main hotel, which is ideal if you want to dine in-house. Suspended some 10 metres above ground, suites come with forest views, cosy fires, outdoor hot tubs, under-floor heating and a daily picnic breakfast delivery.
Rates start from £1,120 (Dh5,045) per night; chewtonglen.com