GUESTS staying at a five-star hotel in the Hampshire countryside can now enjoy a taste of the high life – in more ways than one.
The Chewton Glen Hotel near New Milton has opened 12 luxury suites in six wooden lodges built on stilts.
Perched 20ft above the ground the romantic retreats offer the ultimate back-to-nature experience for those willing to pay £600 a night.
But as the price tag suggests the large, circular tree houses are regal as well as rustic.
Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the rooms with natural light and also provide guests with panoramic views of the surrounding woodland. The suites are also equipped with sun loungers and hot tubs.
However, the vaulted ceilings, log-burning stoves and large hardwood decks help them blend in with the surrounding treescape.
The official opening ceremony was suitably lavish, featuring fireworks and hot air balloon rides that enabled the 300 guests to view the woodland wonders from above.
Guest of honour was Lymington -based Ben Ainslie , the most successful sailor in Olympic history.
Chewton Glen’s managing director, Andrew Stembridge, said: “The inevitable restrictions of building in such a picturesque and secluded valley actually helped shape the design.
“Our strategy was to work hand in hand with ecologists, arboriculturists and the district council, and this ensured that everyone and everything was considered from the outset.
“Not a tree was felled nor a tree-root disturbed.
“Economically however the impact is massive. Last month we welcomed an additional 750 adults and 220 children to Chewton Glen because of the tree houses.”
Guests check in at the main hotel and then board a golf buggy for the short ride to the new facilities.
The suites have been built using sustainable materials and boast eco-friendly features such as solar panels, low energy lighting and rainwater harvesting.
Each suite has a small kitchen area where breakfast hampers are discreetly delivered in the morning via a secret hatchway without disturbing the guests.