Growing up under the city lights of Miami, Marisol and Erney Bosque dreamed of running away to a faraway treehouse ever since they met at 14 years old.
After 25 years of marriage, the couple finally had that chance when Marisol was searching for treehouse rentals online and found what she describes as the most perfect and "magical" escape at Treehouse Hideaways in Flintstone, Georgia. This past January, she, her husband and 20-year-old daughter, Kaylin, traveled to just outside the Chattanooga city limits to stay at "Treetop Hideaways" at the base of Lookout Mountain.
"We felt like kids again," Marisol, 44, recalled a few months later. "We felt giddy climbing up the boulders and exploring the area. It was like our own little Neverland."
That feeling is what inspired husband-and-wife duo Enoch and Hannah Elwell to build two treehouses behind their own home off Chattanooga Valley Road three years ago. While the middle of winter doesn't sound like the most desirable time to be sleeping in a tree for the night, these hideaways have all the amenities of home — and then some.
"These look like rustic, childhood treehouses, but they have all the hotel amenities in the inside," Enoch says. "We built these for people who want to get out in the woods but still want the comforts of home."
Those comforts don't come cheap, though. One night in the so-called "Luna Loft" treehouse, which was made possible by a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $34,000, could cost anywhere from $270 to $370 depending on whether it's a weekend or week night. The "Elements" treehouse, which was built in partnership with Dove Men+Care Elements, ranges from $370 to almost $500 a night.
Enoch, who is also in charge of strategic partnerships and special projects at CO.STARTERS, insists those prices are very reasonable in comparison to how much it costs to build and maintain these luxury treehouses. He said that on average, one luxury treehouse costs about $200,000 to build.
Each treehouse includes full climate control, a kitchenette and bathroom, wireless internet, complimentary wine, s'more kit, sparkling water and local products including fresh coffee, tea and granola bars. They also include soap, shampoo, linens, a firepit and a queen mattress. The Elements treehouse includes free Dove Men+Care Elements products, two twin beds, a gas grill, heated bathroom floor and not one — but five shower heads — in the expansive bathroom. Both have the ability to sleep four guests.
With most week nights and weekends booked, it seems guests agree the treehouses are well worth the price. After three years though, Enoch said they have yet to make a profit.
"We invest a lot of money into these trees taking care of them and fertilizing," he says. "We do this as a labor of love. I think it's important – we are trying to make something special."
In an effort to bring that childhood experience to more people who can't afford the luxury treehouse lifestyle, Enoch said they have started holding events on the property, like outdoor concerts and bonfires. They hold an annual Christmas tree burn in January and other seasonal events throughout the year.
In the near future, the Elwells are making plans for three additional treehouses on their five acres of property, although they have capacity for 10, Enoch says. More information about the treehouses can be found on sleepinatree.co or Airbnb.
"We want to give people space but still have that community," he says.
The Bosque family had both treehouses to themselves when they visited in early January. Although the air was crisp and the trees were bare, Marisol said it gave them an unmatched view of the starry sky — a nice change of pace from the beaming city lights.
Marisol said it surpassed all their expectations.
"It was just pure magic," she reminisced. "We are going to be old and gray and think about our time in the treehouse."