By Regina Winkle-Bryan
I got the unique chance last month to sleep like the birdies, monkeys, squirrels and Ewoks! We took a trip deep into the Guilleries Mountains to stay at Spain’s first tree-house hotel, Cabanes als Arbres.
Thanks to our profession and The Scoop, Nancy and I get to stay in some fabulous and interesting places, but this one took the cake for me. I loved being snug in my tree-house cabin looking over the forested hills, not a noise to be heard, just silent stillness. Maybe that was the best part of the experience, the quietness. In Barcelona we are so used to hearing ruckus at all hours that many of us have forgotten what the sound of rain on leaves is, or the sound of nothingness. Silence can be a blessing.
And Cabanes als Arbres has quiet in spades. It also has unmatched views, and a fun, well-executed product. There are 10 tree-houses, some that sleep 2 and others that sleep up to 4. Each tree-house is different with its own theme, design, and name (each tree-house takes the name of a local bird, in Catalan). Some are reached via a suspended bridge (mine was), others are accessed by ladder, and others a combo of both. Some are in fir trees, and some are in beech trees, all are round, cozy and magical.
There is no running water, no flush toilet and no electricity inside the tree-houses (all of that is found in the main stone masia farmhouse). This may sound like a pain. No running water! No way! But it’s fine. Really. There is a pitcher and extra water stored in all the tree-houses. The toilets in the tree-houses are a sort of ‘dry-toilet’ and I am not sure how it works, only that I have seen them before at a friend’s hippy commune and that they work well. Candles and lanterns replace electric light. It may sound like roughing it but it is actually very fitting for the space and also romantic…We could call the tree-house experience ‘rustic luxury’.
Tree-houses are reached by a footpath that leads from the farmhouse through the woods. The trail is well marked and all guests are given headlamps, flashlights and a map upon arrival. I showed up in sandals in a skirt, not sure what to expect. Expect cooler temperatures (you’re in the mountains) and a rustic environment that demands good shoes, jeans, and a jacket. Inside the farmhouse and tree-houses guests will be comfy by the fire or under a down comforter, but getting from point A to point B requires tennis shoes (at least) and a sense of adventure.
For 18.00 Euros per person, dinner is served in the farmhouse at 9pm every night. They put on quite the feast with multiple courses and a wide selection of desserts. During my stay there was homemade chicken noodle soup, Spanish tortilla, typical Catalan toasted bread with tomato, salad, and a huge platter of cheeses and sausages from the area. There was also Spanish red wine, water, and tea or coffee. The service was good, and the vibe was relaxing and festive at the same time.
In fact, all in all, the service at Cabanes als Arbres was fantastic. I felt like I was staying with extended family. Weird extended family who live in the trees. The only critiques I have for Cabanes is that I think they need to inform guests on appropriate clothing, and that they could install a couple more showers (there are only two to be shared between 10 tree-houses). Apart from these two issues, Cabanes als Arbres is a winner. And maybe we can give them a break anyhow, they have only been open a year and six months.
Getting to the tree-house hotel is an easy, albeit curvy, drive from Barcelona. It is well worth the effort! Many who visit Spain do not know Spain’s many diverse faces. A trip to Cabanes and the Guilleries Mountains is an opportunity to see a different Spain, and to see one of Catalonia’s Natural Parks. My best advice? Head for Cabanes als Arbres late fall, when the trees change to yellow and crimson and enjoy the sound of silence and falling leaves.
Zip-line canopy tour with La Selva de L’Adventura
For more options on where to sleep in Spain, Check out Easytobook.com.
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