Family hotels in London are undeniably more tempting when there’s a theme but can staying at Treehouse Hotel London in the capital’s beating heart be anything like an Enid Blyton-worthy cabin perched amid the leaves? Harriet Mallinson went to find out.
I once spent an intensely wet, cold and miserable night under the stars and swiftly swore off kipping in the open for life. But some people adore al fresco sleepovers. Can there be a happy medium?
Perhaps so. At Treehouse Hotel London in Marylebone you can dip a tiny toe into the world of outdoor dozing without any of the discomfort (weeing in bushes, cold noses, unnerving rustling behind the trees and so forth).
Enjoy a silent (and comfy) night in this ‘treehouse’
Be gone damp and creepy crawlies. Reigning here in bedrooms high in the city skyline is a cosy, welcoming and calm camping aesthetic, thanks to diminutive oil lamps, tin mugs, old books and an abundance of, well, wood.
You may not be under direct moonbeams and whispering leaves but children will love such snug nooks as the vast window seat decorated with forest-themed cushions. I predict plenty of parents calling, “Now where did Rosie get to?” as a hidden tot giggles gleefully behind the floor-length curtains.
The views from the Treehouse Hotel are fantastic; unlike those from my childhood treehouse of a rusty climbing frame and broken lawnmower. In daylight I spot the London Eye, Canary Wharf and charming 19th-century buildings. Then at night, skyscraper windows and lights strung across trendy rooftop terraces twinkle.
In my room, this vista can even be enjoyed from the chic bathroom thanks to the glass partition wall. Don’t worry, a curtain protects privacy. There’s also a lovely rainforest shower, a good selection of amenities and full-sized toiletries. So no running out of ludicrously tiny minis thank heavens, or dashing back to your parents’ house for hot water.
Make the most of luxury hotel packages
To really hunker down away from the cold, with no sleeping bags to be seen, there’s Treehouse Hotel London’s latest package, Winter Re-treat. Guests will be welcomed to their rooms with a bespoke selection of gifts, from Anthropologie teddy slippers and Seed & Bean chocolate bars to mini bottles of Moët & Chandon, making getaways amid the city’s skyline even toastier.
However, while there’s every scope for admiring the urban jungle in comfort, it has to be said that staying at Treehouse Hotel is very little like staying in an actual treehouse. This may or may not be a bonus for you.
There’s no clambering up wooden ladders for starters. Plus, the only “trees”, beyond the furniture, are three chunky trunks in the corner of the bathroom.
Adults can have fun ‘up in the trees’ too
In short, the theme is too subtle to really excite a child. but it is expanded on slightly more in the hotel bar, The Nest, which might thrill parents. What the bedrooms lack in foliage, this space makes up for with abundant greenery hanging from the beamed ceiling.
Winking candles, wicker pendant lampshades and a killer cocktail list make whiling away a few hours here very appealing. Much more so than crowding around a dying camp fire and fighting over the last dregs of a thermos.
Seasonal and near-zero waste drinks embrace the at-one-with-nature theme at The Nest. My hot whiskey toddy came with fresh rosemary, picked just seconds before from the balcony. Other cocktails include such intriguing ingredients as squash and sage cordial, purple carrot purée and pine bitters. It was tempting to make my way through all of them, surely the best way to get in five-a-day?
Sleepover food – but not how you remember it
But, dinner called. Rather than crisps, Coke and a large bar of Cadburys to share, visitors to this treehouse are treated to a full menu of Mexican fare at Madera.
The food is tasty and crowd-pleasing. We tucked into chicken enchiladas, harissa octopus and beef tostaditas as well as truffle chips, which were superb, if not entirely culturally accurate. The drinks were also delightful. I can never say no to a spicy margarita and the kick was spot on. Panoramic views from Madera are stunning too, so try to get a table by the window if you can.
Madera is open for lunch, weekend brunch and breakfast. Plating up healthy classic brekkie options as well as Mexican dishes: the beef chorizo bowl gets high praise. But of course, with London right on your doorstep (the hotel is moments away from Oxford Circus) it’s likely you won’t dine here much beyond one night.
Wherever you’re staggering back from, be it a West End show, a day at the London Aquarium or exploring Covent Garden, returning to Treehouse London will be a doddle thanks to its location, making it a perfect hotel base for urban family adventures, and no shimmying down a rope to go to the loo in the night required.
You can still treat yourselves to a midnight feast though.
How to plan a family break to London
Where to stay
Treehouse Hotel London Winter Re-treat with Anthropologie package, from £299pp. Available until 1 February 2023.
How to get there
Treehouse Hotel London is in Langham Place, just off Regent Street and close to Regent’s Park and Oxford Circus.