Want to stay in a treehouse? Hear treehouse, think shed up a pole, right? Well, what if the tree were more unspoilt forest on the edge of a national park. And the house were more five-star hotel suite. What if I also told you that said treehouse is in the grounds of one of England’s very best country house hotels? Not sounding quite so rustic now is it?
Chewton Glen Hotel in Hampshire, just on the boundary of the New Forest national park, unveiled six eco treehouses, divided into 12 treehouse suites, last year. And, my goodness, have they been popular. Far more popular than you might expect when you consider that they cost a minimum of £600 a night, but the good news is right now you can stay for four nights for the price of three bringing the price down overall to a more manageable £450 a night.
I know, it's still pretty expensive. But you get what you pay for – and, some would would argue, more: a television over the bath; tons of free snacks; a breakfast hamper served through a secret hatch; your very own view of your very own piece of forest; you very own hot tub on your very own balcony.
You can also use the facilities at the hotel. And that includes a nine-hole par 3 golf course and one of the UK’s best hydrotherapy spas. You can demand a buggy to pick you up from your front door at a moment’s notice and deposit you at the hotel for drinks in the bar, or dinner in the much-lauded Vetiver restaurant. And you can make disgustingly opulent hot beverages with the appropriately named Prima Donna coffeemaker, to enjoy in your private hot tub.
Ah, the hot tub. I must confess I spent much of our stay in mine, gazing out at the trees, watching pheasants lollop along the ground and the sky turning from blue to black. My husband, meanwhile, spent much of his time exploring the gadgetry, seemingly trying to watch all three flatscreen TVs simultaneously, while shouting “is that loud enough?” about the music blasting from the digital radio, and ordering us a luxury hamper through the Samsung tablet. Which also has free wifi, naturally.
Not that you would really want to use it. This is a place to relax – all muted greys, natural greens and clean whites, with a wood burner for added soporific effect – and, of course, a whole lot of glass to bring the outside in.
Thanks to all that glass, waking up here is an experience, opening your eyes to find not only 9000-thread linens and what feels like at least a dozen squashy pillows, but also the forest, dangling its green fingers at the foot of the bed. It called me outside, stepping through the glass doors to take yet another dip in the hot tub and excitedly await the arrival of that breakfast hamper.
Of course though, at some point you will have to leave. Back to the real world and all that. One night in the treehouse was never going to be enough, but on leaving, I realised that longer would be dangerous. After all, as Charlie Chaplin said, “the saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury”.