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Are traditional, homogeneous hotels a thing of the past? Not quite yet. But hip and fun digs are popping up all over the world as offbeat alternatives, targeting globetrotters — especially of the millennial variety. There are A-frame cabins, yurts, luxury safari tents, glass igloos and even cave dwellings.
But in Asia, treehouses are what’s trending. Blending indulgent stays with the ruggedness of camping and the jungle’s natural lures, they offer a more elevating experience —literally — for adventurous travelers.
From Malaysia to India, here are five of the best ones.
Bangkok Tree HouseIn a city like Bangkok, a hotel with eco bona fides is a big deal, and Bangkok Tree House has an array of such positive aspects as well as international influences. Nestled along the Chao Phraya River, this small property features architecture that’s reminiscent of places in Berlin; flaunts a hip, Los Angeles-esque attitude; and has an eco-friendly, Tulum-like aesthetic. As a result, Bangkok Tree House is unlike most Bangkok hotels, which makes it an off-the-wall choice.
The hotel boasts five “cozy nest” categories, one of which is an alfresco option that’s furnished with only a bed, a side table and floor cushions.
Japamala ResortOn Malaysia’s Tioman Island, where the jungle meets the sea, is the foliage-nestled Japamala Resort. Chalets and sarangs (nests) are tucked away amongst the trees so that guests are immersed in the sights and sounds of the forest yet still stay within close proximity of the coast for easy access to the area’s excellent water activities.
Choices abound for different tastes and needs. A Treetop Chalet is great for minimalist or on-a-budget guests. A Jungle Luxe Sarang, on the other hand, features an outdoor rain shower and a plunge pool — perfect for ritzy travelers seeking a more upscale experience.
KeemalaWords can hardly do this retreat justice. Located in Thailand’s Phuket province, all of Keemala’s 38 pool villas come in quirky shapes — like a bird’s nest or a teardrop, for example — and are located in the treetops of an enchanting tropical forest. This is treehouse slumber at its best and most luxurious. Each villa features amenities including soft, Egyptian cotton bedding; a canopy bed; and a private pool with a stunning view.
The MachanThere couldn’t be a more perfect spot for a treehouse resort than Jambulne, a lush paradise located about two hours away from Mumbai, India. So, even though The Machan is more rustic than anything else on this list, the property still holds its own thanks to evergreen panoramas and probable wildlife sightings.
Not to say that this resort is austere or not magnificent: Predominantly made of wood and furnished with wooden furniture as well as old-world decor, The Machan’s sky-high villas boast tubs on decks and intricate, four-poster beds. These are like the treehouse of your childhood — only considerably upgraded.
Sekeping SerendahAn hour’s jaunt north from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, can transport guests to a tropical rainforest. Here, Sekeping Serendah Resort affords an escape from the hustle and bustle. The retreat impeccably blends in with its surrounding flora and offers 10 partially open-air guestrooms that merge the unpolished and scant design of a shed with the lofty notion of a treehouse.