The Best Places to Sleep Under the Stars
01 June, 2017
Olivia Squire is the Editor of THE SHIFT, a blog about contemporary high-end travel trends, news and hot hotels from LE Miami, the travel trade event celebrating the world's most creative and rebellious travel brands.
These immersive takes on tents, treehouses and campervans are where adults go to play, and they're a far cry from the leaky caravans and sleeping bags that haunted our youth…
San José del Cabo, Mexico
Taking farm-to-fork hotels a step further, Mexico's Acre is going farm to fork to… frond. Having already transformed 25 acres of farmland into an open-air restaurant and cocktail bar experimenting with local Baja ingredients and forgotten Mexican spirits, from winter 2017 Acre will be encouraging guests to look up from their plates (and those #tileaddict-worthy floors) to 12 new treehouses nestled in its palm forest. (That's if you can make it up the stairs following the obligatory tequila shots and Baja fish tacos….)
Calle Sin Nombre, Animas Bajas, San José del Cabo 23407
Impoverished artists in garrets the world over, take note: musician Håvard Lund is coming to your rescue with Fordypningsrommet, a cluster of nine "houses" in the Arctic Circle that he describes as the "world's most northern artists' retreat". In this miniature village, studded along the jagged coastline of the Fleinvær archipelago underneath the flicker of the Northern Lights, guests are invited to scale the "tower of big thoughts' and gaze upon the end-of-the-world landscape for inspiration. Artists can apply to stay for free, on the condition that they stage an exhibition of their work or lecture before departing.
Sørværet 2-4, 8094 Fleinvær, Norway
Situated down a bumpy track in the heart of southern Hungary's Puszta, Homoki Lodge is an equestrian's dream that pays tribute to the Magyars who inhabited the region over 1000 years ago. After galloping the vast terrain by horseback in the style of these early settlers, guests can choose between a rustic country cottage and seven split-level yurts. Constructed by local craftsmen, each yurt is designed to reflect the Magyars' round tents, while cleverly incorporating contemporary details like rain showers and Jacuzzi bathtubs. One thing's for sure: it's the most unexpected use of those ubiquitous white bathroom tiles we've seen to date.
Homoki Lodge, 6786-Ruzsa, Tanya 592
This quirky collection of 1970s Airstreams is a labour of love for owner James Fry who, when faced with the perennial dilemma of what to do with your family's three-storey car park, eschewed the more tried-and-tested bar/cinema formula in favour of boating six Californian chrome campers across the Atlantic and hoisting them to a rooftop in Melbourne's CBD. Where that is, we can't exactly say - in a twist set to drive the older generations insane, guests are texted a code and told to head to a "single door near a coffee shop" in order to check/swipe in. Even for the most amateur Sherlocks, the free Netflix and minibar make it worth cracking out your sleuthing skills.
388 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Khwai Private Reserve, Botswana
This recently revamped safari camp marooned in the lush plains of the Okavango Delta, offers space, solitude and starlight in spades. Although more traditional tented accommodation is available, we'd shoot straight for one of the "skybeds" for a shot of wild romance. Lantern-lit by night, each 'room' takes the form of a three-storey platform overlooking a watering hole, where you can listen out for lions, elephants, hyenas and honey badgers. By day, set out by jeep, speedboat or "mokoro" - a gondola-style boat - to spy more of the wildlife native to this secluded private reserve.
Sable Alley, Khwai Private Reserve, Botswana
N/AGo to website
Zero Real Estate
Questioning the boundaries of what a travel experience is by removing them completely, Zero Real Estate is less hotel, more art installation. Inspired by Null Stern, a collaboration between conceptual artists Frank and Patrik Riklin and hospitality professional Daniel Charbonnier, this take on sleeping under the stars consists of only a bed, open to the landscape on all side. The aim is to focus on the intangible by removing all clutter - although bowtie-bedecked butlers are still on hand to serve you champagne under the stars (and breakfast in bed of a morning). Dates are currently booked out months in advance, so plan accordingly.
Toggenburg Tourismus, Hauptstrasse 104, 9658 Wildhaus
Marfa, United States
An "exodus from a world of urgency" in the artistic Texan town of Marfa, El Cosmico's faded Americana glamour will have you planning a US road trip faster than you can quote On The Road (or for the more unashamedly uncool, Crossroads). This desert outpost from hipster pleasers Bunkhouse Hotels combines a ramshackle collection of souped-up trailers, tepees and tents, as well as hosting regular sunset soundtracks, movie nights and camp cookouts, alongside the annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love. Each trailer has a unique nickname - we're eyeing up Little Pinky - and although there's no wifi beyond the lobby, hammock groves and hot tubs are worthy distractions.
802 S. Highland Avenue Marfa Texas 79843
It's a lowly Instagrammer indeed who's never stumbled across Treehotel's iconic Mirrorcube, a sci-fi invention that simultaneously jars with and melts into the dense forest. However, it's just one of several playful lodgings inspired by the film The Tree Lover (a tale of three men who yearn to leave the city and return to their roots by building a treehouse together) and constructed by leading Scandinavian architects. Dreamlike residences the UFO, Bird's Nest and Dragonfly have recently been joined by the 7th Room, where a suspended net among the treetops offers the option for outdoor slumber parties.
Edeforsvägen 2 A, 960 24 Harads, Sweden
N/AGo to website
Papaya Playa Project
Tulum , Mexico
Originally a Design Hotels pop-up and now a permanent fixture on the Tulum coast, this 85-cabaña hotel is (quite literally) branching out with a new treehouse hideaway in the Mexican jungle. Constructed according to traditional Mayan techniques and modern eco-design, the house embraces the surrounding wildlife, allowing the arms of trees to reach through the walls and standing atop wooden stilts that minimise its impact on local flora and fauna. When you're done swinging on its hanging macramé chairs, head to the beach for full-moon parties featuring world-famous DJs.
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila km 4.5, Tulum 77780