If you ever dreamt of having a backyard treehouse as a kid then Chewton Glen, a luxury hotel set on England’s south coast, is exactly the right place to live out your dream, albeit in a far superior fashion. While the main hotel building is a traditional country house, hidden away in a patch of forest within the grounds is a collection of contemporary boutique treehouses, rising up from the ground on stilts.
These secluded round wooden pods look unassuming from afar but step inside over a small footbridge and guests are greeted by a space that’s about as far from a child’s imagining of a treehouse as possible. The first group of treehouses cost £7 million to build in 2012 and the success of the project has allowed the hotel to build a brand-new family treehouse that sleeps up to 12 people, which opened in 2017.
There’s underfloor heating throughout, big comfortable sofas and armchairs in the living area, a wood burning stove, an outdoor hot tub, a mini kitchen with coffee machine and snacks, TV and music system for starters. Through a stunning glass-walled walkway that connects to a separate pod is the bedroom, with a king-sized bed facing out to framed views of the forest, and an en-suite bathroom with a freestanding marble bath, again positioned by the window to maximize the views while you soak.
While the liberal use of glass fills each space with light and allows stunning views everywhere you look, for that maximum treehouse feel, step outside on to the balcony through the sliding glass doors and the feeling of a connection with the trees and natural surroundings really comes home. The lodges come with serious eco-credentials too—with rainwater harvesting, air-source heat pumps, solar panels, sedum roofs and low-energy lighting.
It’s a cliché to suggest a hotel room is so perfect that you just don’t want to leave, yet hidden away here, you do genuinely have to tear yourself away. Realizing this, the hotel makes sure that it is perfectly possible to stay put and offers a range of in room services from massages and a movie library to a range of food and drink hampers that are delivered through a little hatch by the front door. There’s an undeniable child-like thrill to opening the cupboard door in the morning and finding a breakfast hamper waiting for you, stuffed full of pastries, juices, fruit and honey made from the hotel’s own bees.
Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to leave your treehouse. The main hotel houses a cozy bar complete with a roaring fireplace; The Dining Room restaurant serves classic British dishes using ingredients from its own kitchen garden 100 yards away (you can even learn some of the dishes at the cooking school), and there’s a world-class spa with treatment rooms, fitness pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, and yoga lessons. A 20-minute walk through the woods brings you out to a stunning stretch of coastline where you can walk along the beach for miles.
Despite all that it’s still the treehouses themselves that are Chewton Glen’s most unique and beguiling feature—a luxurious sanctuary that feels far away from the rest of the world.
Main hotel images courtesy of Chowton Glen, all others by Joel Porter