Luxe treehouses

Hoshinoya, Bali, Indonesia
Hoshinoya, Bali, IndonesiaPHOTO: HOSHINO RESORTS
Papaya Playa, Tulum, Mexico
Papaya Playa, Tulum, MexicoPHOTO: INSTAGRAM.COM/PAPAYAPLAYAPROJECT
Secret Bay, Dominica
Secret Bay, DominicaPHOTO: INSTAGRAM.COM/SECRETBAY
Acre, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico
Acre, San Jose Del Cabo, MexicoPHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ACREBAJA
Playa Viva, Juluchuca, Mexico
Playa Viva, Juluchuca, MexicoPHOTO: INSTAGRAM.COM/PLAYAVIVA

Travellers can get close to nature by staying in these five resorts

NEW YORK • There is nothing like a treehouse to reawaken your childlike sense of wonder.

Make it luxe and stick it in the middle of a tropical clime, though, and you have a vacation fantasy fit for well-heeled adults.

Here are five treehouse hotels - all new or recently expanded.


1 HOSHINOYA, BALI, INDONESIA

As if Bali needed more visual splendour, the soon-to-open Hoshinoya Bali (rooms from US$700 or S$975 a night) is going over the top, literally, with a series of seven post-modern, open-air "cafes in the sky" that hover over Ubud's wild vegetation.

Below these tea rooms lie a sacred network of canals and rice fields. Rooms here are on ground level, facing a long lap pool.

It is the first Indonesian outpost for the 102-year-old company Hoshino Resorts, which has made its name creating stunning ryokan in Japan.

In other words: Expect gracious service based on principles of "omotenashi", or intuitive hospitality.

2 PAPAYA PLAYA, TULUM, MEXICO

One of Tulum's most beloved resorts - a high-design haven with 85 thatched roof casitas - is spawning its most covetable rooms yet.

The hotel's treehouse (from US$178) is opening for the holiday season and will be the first of several. It is built of local Zapote and recycled wood, in a spherical shape that is meant to resemble ancient Mayan structures.

The bi-level treehouse has Caribbean Sea views and a meditation room, along with easy access to the hotel's kiteboarding school.

3 SECRET BAY, DOMINICA

When it opened in 2012, Secret Bay put the tiny, unadulterated island of Dominica on the map with its four sumptuous villas, each one hand-built on a bluff that juts into pristine waters.

Little by little, the property - a pioneer in sustainable design and marine conservation - has expanded, keeping its footprint light and its wow factor high.

Its latest addition came online earlier this month: Two sprawling duplex villas (from US$1,040 a night) perched atop the dense forest canopy.

Each has a "hammock sofa" on the deck and a fully equipped kitchen. The fridge will be stocked to your specification and a chef can come whip up lobster thermidor on demand. What is that outside your bedroom door? A private pool.

And if all that is not enough, ask for a one-man jazz concert on your patio. The team will make it happen.

4 ACRE, SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO

A year ago, Acre was nothing but a buzzy restaurant on a 10ha farm, tucked in the dusty hills outside Cabo San Lucas. Its next-door neighbour Flora Farms was the area's culinary pioneer - a predecessor to Acre that brought sustainable farming and Brooklyn-style locavore cuisine.

Now, Acre is the one pushing the envelope with the opening of its treehouse hotel, made up of 12 "stick boxes" on stilts (from US$200 a night). Compact and space-efficient, they come with outdoor showers.

5 PLAYA VIVA, JULUCHUCA, MEXICO

Last autumn, this little eco-retreat on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 35 minutes south of Zihuatanejo, opened up a dramatic, cylindrical treehouse as an experiment. The whole resort strives to have a "less than zero" footprint, so making it work required creative architecture, so as to not disturb the towering palm trees.

Yet work it did - it has been selling out months in advance - so owner David Leventhal and the California- based crew at ArtisTree Homes are now building another half dozen.

Until then, book the single treehouse (from US$445 or S$620 a night) for unobstructed ocean views, an unrivalled feeling of seclusion and perhaps the house's zaniest feature: a hammock that is sunken into a cut-out patch of floorboards.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Luxe treehouses'. Print Edition | Subscribe