Blog : Panama

A prickly business

A prickly business

Ananas Anam and its ‘natural leather alternative’ Piñatex® are the brainchild and vision of ‘ethical entrepreneur’ Dr Carmen Hijosa. Concerned by the toxic impact of mass-produced leather and polluting synthetic textiles seen by Dr Carmen Hijosa during her time in the Philippines advising on the leather industry, Carmen set out on a mission to find an alternative process and product. Piñatex® – a plant-based, non-woven textile made from pineapple leaf fibre – is the result of seven years of development. It continues to evolve and develop, along with the company that produces and manufactures the textile, Ananas Anam.

For those of you who receive our monthly newsletter, you will know that Ariel and I stumbled across Piñatex® at the Grand Designs Exhibition in London earlier this year. The textile was showcased as one of Keven McCloud’s ‘Green Heroes’ – and we can completely understand why.

Piñatex® is made from what is thought of – or was formerly thought of – as a waste product of pineapple agriculture – the leaf. Farmers, therefore, benefit from a new income stream without any additional costs. There is no need for additional water, land, fertiliser, etc. Pineapple fibres are used in traditional Filipino woven garments – and this local tradition is what helped to inspire Carmen, and her vision. A lot can be learnt from the local communities – from those who have lived in harmony with and adapted to their surroundings for years and generations.

Design is not just about product.
Design is about responsibility.’ – Dr. Carmen Hijosa

This quote from the Ananas Anam CEO captures the ethos behind Piñatex®. Social and environmental responsibility is at the heart of Dr Carmen Hijosa’s vision; a vision for a more sustainable future. The company’s guiding principles centre around a high social impact with a low environmental one.

And it’s not just about sustainability. It’s also about innovation – of thinking outside the box to come up with solutions for processes, practices and behaviours that have become the status quo. It’s about sustainability through innovation.

A business or a cause?

Significantly, Piñatex® is commercially viable and at the same time supports pineapple farming communities in the Philippines. Profits and a purpose. Helpfully, in the press pack sent to us by Ananas Anam, they define social enterprise as ‘an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvement in human and environmental well-being – including social impact.’ We are no longer in a world where there are two sides of the fence, profit (i.e. business) and nonprofit – perhaps we are starting to sit together on that fence. These two worlds seem to be coming closer together.

Piñatex® is being used in a variety of ways – finding its way into our everyday life. It’s being used by a number of designers including for footwear, other fashion items, furniture as well as automobile interiors. We see this as the future. You don’t have to reject a certain lifestyle in its entirety to want to or be able to make a difference, to have a social impact. It’s something we can all be a part of, day to day.

Let’s hope that more of us and more businesses follow Dr Carmen Hijosa’s lead. Carmen we salute you. Pineapples will never be the same again!

In next week’s Wednesday blog I speak to founder of CorkYogis, Lara Sengupta, and find out what she has been up to since Dragons’ Den (see our last blog post, ‘In the pursuit of profit or social purpose‘) and what the future holds for yogis of the cork kind…

Until next time #liveslow, #livesustainably

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Getting to know Casco Viejo

Getting to know Casco Viejo

We’ve got to know Panama City fairly well over the past few years as we always make a two-three day stop there before heading to Bocas del Toro, on our bíku project recces. Without fail, on each trip we’ll make sure to spend some time in Casco Viejo – the ‘old quarter’ – a beautiful part of the city. Do not confuse this with Panamá Viejo, which is the ‘original’ city of Panama, founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1519. After being ransacked in 1671, the city was relocated to what is today known as Casco Viejo. Ruins are now all that remain of Panamá Viejo – they are a must see.

Right, so, Casco Viejo! Strolling through Casco Viejo itself and just taking in the beautiful, crumbling and cracked pastel facades is, in itself, half the charm of this part of the city. However, as the restoration of the Casco continues the number of cracks and crumbles are becoming less and less as these wonderful buildings are returned to their former glory. I have a love of ruins and the cracks and crumbles that come with that – so do hope that some of that will persist…

Casco Viejo is a pretty stylish neighbourhood with new bars, coffee shops, restaurants and boutique hotels popping up – I’m sure there’s something new each time we visit. We wanted to share with you a snippet of some of the places we like. 

Mercado de Mariscos

On the cusp of Casco Viejo, the seafood market (Mercado de Mariscos) offers a piece of the real Panama. In addition to the traders market, there are a number of smaller seafood restaurants offering the freshest catch. But for us what’s best is picking up a cup of ceviche from one of the stalls in the market. This is no frills at its finest! Expect fresh and flavoursome.

Esteban Huertas promenade

If you’re looking for a great view out across the Bay of Panama and somewhere to pick up a trinket or two for those loved ones back home, Esteban Huertas is for you. The promenade is built on top of the old city’s outer wall. My favourite part of the paseo is strolling beneath the bougainvillea arches and perusing the crafts of the Kuna women (one of the seven indigenous communities of Panama, but probably best known / recognised). It’s the perfect place to take in the juxtaposition of old meets new – being in the old quarter looking out across the bay and the skyscraper skyline of the modern world.

Hotel Casa Panama

As with a number of the hotels, bars and restaurants in Casco Viejo, Hotel Casa Panama is a relatively new addition to the neighbourhood, opening in the past few years. The interior design is what drew us into the hotel’s courtyard – it brings a piece of Southeast Asian vibes – think Bali – to the Casco. The owners have been sensitive to the quarter’s history, maintaining and leaving exposed the old city walls – which are a strong feature in a number of the rooms.

The hotel offers a roof top pool and bar, with spectacular views of the entire Casco Viejo as well as the high rises across the bay. In addition you can sample some great Latin American cuisine at the Lazotea Rooftop Restaurant – which we love. For those wanting a bit more of a Spanish tapas-Argentine fusion, pop next door to the Restaurant Santa Rita – which is run by the same owners.

The hotel and restaurant(s) offer great value for money and great hospitality; the level of service is five star, not something you get everywhere in the city!

American Trade Hotel

To us, the American Trade Hotel is a sanctuary in the heart of Casco Viejo. Always cool and airy, it’s stunningly designed and somewhere you can escape the Panama heat! The hotel’s lobby boasts high ceilings and a modern twist on ‘colonial’ design. You feel like you’re stepping back in time but simultaneously are in contemporary surroundings – quite an achievement. As with many of the buildings in the Casco, the American Trade Hotel has an interesting history. Built in 1917, designed by Leonardo Villanueva Meyer, the building was home to a department store as well as apartments. I would strongly recommend reading the Yatzer article for further details about the hotel, its history and restoration.

This place is definitely worth a stay – try to book a room that looks out across Plaza Herrera for the best views of the bay. In addition, it’s become quite a hub for creatives, so expect MacBooks and entrepreneur meetings alongside the mocha. The latter can be picked up from Café Unido, also housed in the hotel’s lobby.

The restoration of Casco Viejo has saved many of the buildings. KC Hardin – the man behind much of the reinvestment in the Casco probably says it best, ‘you come for the buildings, stay for the people.’ And, bearing that in mind, I just hope that – with the reinvestment and restoration – the neighbourhood continues to be the home for local Panamanians who have lived there for years. After all, it is the people that give the place life and vibrancy.

Remember, stay up to date with our project by signing up to our newsletter.

Until next time, liveslow.

Being philoslothical

Being philoslothical

Welcome to the first of our weekly Wednesday blogs! What can you expect from these posts? Well, they will be a place where you can find out more about us, about the inspiration behind the bíku project, and our thoughts and comments on issues close to our and bíku’s heart. And what better place to start than to look at the philosophy, or should we say philoslothy (does that work?), behind bíku and what we are trying to achieve.

This first post is a short introduction to one of bíku’s guiding principles: being philoslothical! So what does this mean? Well, being philoslothical is really a way of life, a way of life that we’d like to share with our guests when they come to stay with us at bíku, and something that hopefully can find its place – even if only in a small way – in our guests’ everyday living, after their break with us.

What does it mean?

Being philoslothical will mean different things to different people, but at its core and to us it means:

  • Being a responsible traveller: respecting the local culture, customs and natural environment
  • Pausing for thought (as the native Bocas del Toro sloths do! In fact, they don’t do much more than pausing for thought)
  • Thinking about how your actions affect others and your surroundings
  • Enjoying every moment
  • Natural luxury
  • Living slow! (Bocas … and sloth style)

It’s pretty simple, but these are things that are so easy to forget in our ‘tweeting, twerking’, modern-day world. As they say, ‘it’s the simple things’ … (I never know the end of that saying…can someone help?).

Told you it was a short one! Until next week.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter – @bikupanama – and let us know what #beingphiloslothical means to you.

#liveslow all you treetop living lovers.

Waking up to the sounds of nature

Waking up to the sounds of nature

Panama visit – day 8. Wow the time really is going quickly – we only wish we could extend our stay for at least a month or more! Our four days in Panama City were busy, with meetings to discuss our project and following leads with potential investors. We’ve got another round of meetings lined up for when we are back in the City next week. Following an 11 hour bus journey from the City on Tuesday night, we arrived in Bocas del Toro (Bocas) early Wednesday morning.

For those of you hoping to travel to Bocas in the future, we recommend the 45 minute flight over the 11 hour bus journey! We will definitely be flying from the islands to the City on our return.

Bocas vibes

Bocas del Toro sits in stark contrast to the City. You won’t find any one-two hour (or more!) traffic jams (known as el tranque) here! The pace of life slows and even for the most hardened city dweller, it really is impossible to move at anything faster than a sloth’s pace once you set foot here. Bocas gets you … with the morning chattering of the migrating Bocas parakeets, the warm air, slight sea breeze and backdrop of cloud forest … all you can do is relax, breathe and take in the place, culture, people and nature. It envelopes you.

Business meetings exist in Bocas, of course, but they are of a very different nature and may last an afternoon – if not a whole day! Other than business – which is the reason for our trip – for Ariel Bocas is home. It’s a chance to catch up with his family – sister, nephew, mum, aunts, uncles, cousins and the wider town(!) – there’s never a dull moment. And much of the conversation revolves around food – namely what someone is going to cook that day, where they can get the freshest mackerel or other necessary fish / meat and who’s going to help.

The meetings continue

Today we’re heading from the port town of Almirante – where we’re staying – to the main Bocas island, Isla Colón. We’ll be meeting with a contact we met out here back in 2014, an Argentinian gentleman who has been living in Bocas for the best part of 20 years if not more, and who has seen an enormous change in the islands. He has dedicated his life to promoting conservation in the region, including working with Sea Turtle Conservancy, as well as protecting and preserving the way of life of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé community, through Alianza Bocas. We very much hope that he continues to be a friend and someone with whom we can collaborate in the future through bíku.

Stick with us over the next week to stay up to date with our project news.

Remember – sign up to our mailing list before 7 August and be in with a chance of winning a 4-night stay in the Cotswolds.

Until next time, #liveslow.

Beauty in the city

Beauty in the city

Panama visit – day 2. We’ll be trying to blog daily during our two-week recce to Panama. This is our last trip over here before our project crowdfunding in late September. We have meetings set up with conservationists, potential investors, collaborators, videographers, lawyers, builders and architects – so it will be a busy couple of weeks.

We saw this beautiful butterfly yesterday, just sunning itself against a sweet shop window. We’re not sure if this little fella is 100% ok – and looks like something might have taken a slice out of his wings. We hope he was ok – a beauty in the city.

They say it’s all about the journey …

… and not the final destination. Well, we’re not so sure on this occasion! Our door-to-door journey from London to Panama City was nearly a full 24 hours. We left our London flat at around 5.30am and arrived at Ariel’s sister’s place close to 11pm local time (4am the following morning, UK time). Wow! The journey isn’t normally this long – so you future b í k u treehouse ‘holidayers’ don’t have to worry. Also – there are direct flights from continental Europe to Panama, it’s just the UK that takes longer and hasn’t caught up with the direct flights yet.

We had a four-hour wait in Newark airport for our transfer to Panama. However, our flight was further delayed with air space being cleared for President Trump’s arrival at the airport … Thanks Donald!

But, it’s definitely worth it. One day down and we have already had an amazing meeting with a great contact of Ariel’s. We can’t divulge too much yet, but suffice to say that b í k u is much closer to becoming a reality than 48 hours ago.

Stick with us over the next two weeks to stay up to date with our project news.

Remember – sign up to our mailing list before 7 August and be in with a chance of winning a 4-night stay in the Cotswolds.

Until next time, #liveslow.

Bocas del Toro – what’s in a name?

Bocas del Toro – what’s in a name?

The history of a place has always fascinated me. The more you learn about a place’s history, the more you tend to understand traditions, behaviours and attitudes. You can begin to understand the people. How much about where you live or where you’re from do you know? Ariel is from Bocas del Toro, Panama, and knows it as the place where he grew up, the place that holds his childhood memories, and the place where his family still lives today. I know Bocas as a ‘newcomer’, in part through the eyes of Ariel – meeting his family and friends and experiencing local Bocas life – and in part as a tourist / traveller – seeing everything for the first time.

Our treehouse project has been and continues to be a fascinating journey for both me and Ariel, perhaps for different reasons. We are learning things about Bocas as well as ourselves! So, what’s the history of Bocas – and what’s in a name?

A brief history – Christopher Columbus

Bocas del Toro is a region of Panama, in the very north west of the country. For non-Spanish speakers, this name translates as ‘the Bull’s Mouth’, or ‘The Mouth of the Bull’. So, how did the province come by this name?

There doesn’t seem to be a definite answer but there are, rather, stories and speculation. Cristopher Columbus ‘discovered’ Bocas del Toro in 1502. I use quotation marks when I say ‘discovered’ as indigenous communities had been living in Bocas del Toro (as it is now known) for thousands of years before Columbus’s arrival. Columbus (re)named a number of the islands and the main bay: Bahía de Almirante (Admiral’s Bay), Isla Colón (Columbus Island), Isla Cristóbal (Christopher Island) and Isla Bastimentos (bastimentos meaning ‘supplies’ as Isla Bastimentos is where Columbus resupplied his ships). Read more about Bocas del Toro’s history on the Lonely Planet’s website.

Some say that Bocas del Toro was also named by Christopher Columbus. Some say the he named it after various waterfalls that had the shape of a bull’s mouth, some think he named it after a large rock formation on Bastimentos Island which has the form of a bull lying down, and others say it’s named after the sound of waves hitting the rock on Bastimentos Island – making a noise reminiscent of a raging bull!

However, others think the name comes from the Indian word ‘cacique’ which means Chief of the region – who was known as Boka Toro.

Indigenous community

There is little known – at least written or outside of the indigenous community of Bocas del Toro – about the original, indigenous names of the Bocas islands and other landmarks in the province. For any of you who follow us on Instagram, you will have recently seen that we posted about a gentleman called Mr Pineda. Mr Pineda is on a mission to shed light on the history of the indigenous community of Bocas del Toro, including the names of the islands and other sites in Bocas. If we get the opportunity, we would very much like to be a part of Mr Pineda’s journey to do this – and to learn more about Bocas del Toro before Columbus’s arrival!

Bocas del Toro visit

We’re heading to Bocas next week for our last recce ahead of the crowdfund for our project later this year. We will be posting live on Instagram and Twitter – and may be blogging daily!

Until then – can’t wait! Remember #liveslow. And – watch out for our next competition, starting next week, and see what you could win by just signing up to our mailing list this month!

Bocas chronicles – the young entrepreneur

Bocas chronicles – the young entrepreneur

From a very early age my mum made sure she taught me the value of work and independence. One of the ways for my mum to generate some extra money was to make tamales on the weekend. A tamal is a traditional Latin American dish made from a corn dough. So, you could say that my first ever job was to help my mum make and sell tamales.

Cooking tamales

To cook tamales the main thing you need is a banana leaf. This is what the tamal is cooked in. My first job on a Saturday morning was to take my machete – I was 13(!) – go to the forest (tropical) and cut down some banana leaves for the tamales. I remember watching the sloths in the surrounding trees while I was cutting the banana leaves. I would bring back the leaves to my mum, wash them, cut them down to size and get them ready for the corn filling.

My next job would be to grind the corn into a paste, manually. That was tough! My mum would do the rest. She would use a filling of either pork or chicken, which would have been cooked almost like a stew, along with egg, onion and olives. First she would put the corn dough / paste in the panama leaf, then place on top the chicken or pork, a few olives and egg, then fold up the banana leaf and tie the ‘parcel’ with string. She would then boil the parcel – for about half an hour to forty minutes. Then it’s done. Tamales!

The young entrepreneur

My mum would give me the list of the people who had placed orders. I would jump on my bicycle and go and deliver them. Without knowing it at the time, my mum was teaching me the meaning of entrepreneurship. I used to sell pattie for my Gran too –  as well as journey cake. But – well – that’s another story!

Until next time. Live slow!

Sign up to our mailing list this month, to be in with a chance of winning a night’s stay at ACE Hotel London!!!

Wellness tourism: the naked truth

Wellness tourism: the naked truth

I have always assumed that any travel outside of business travel has some kind of health benefit to the traveller. We use holidays, after all, as respite and escape from the daily grind. But holidays can be stressful in themselves, and we can find it hard – even on holiday – to truly ‘switch off’. In today’s age of social media and 24-hour digital connectivity it’s not surprising that travel focused exclusively on benefiting the mind, body and soul – wellness tourism – has grown and continues to grow exponentially.

Wellness tourism is expanding 50 per cent faster than the overall tourism industry; it is set to be a $679 billion market by the end of 2017[1]. The Virtuoso Blog puts wellness tourism at 15 per cent of global travel – second only to cultural tourism. And, with wellness travellers spending 130 per cent more than the average traveller[2], the tourism industry will make sure that this trend is here to stay!

‘We shape our buildings, and afterwards, they shape us’

The tourism industry is tapping in to the wider trends of the global $3.7 trillion wellness industry. ‘Wellness architecture’ – a trend identified in the Global Wellness Summit’s, ‘2017 Wellness Trends’ report – is particularly interesting. The report describes this as ‘creating designs and using materials that improve the health and happiness of the humans who actually live and work in them’. It goes on to say that ‘hotels and wellness retreats need to be leaders in the wellness architecture revolution’, and we could not agree more!

Wellness is a key focus for us and our architects, in designing the b í k u treehouse retreat. Put simply, we want to create buildings with a soul. This means working with and not against nature to make sure that our guests feel an intimate connection with their surroundings as well as with themselves. And treehouses, for us, are childhood dreams turned in to reality; they can inspire people to dream, as we did when we were children.

The sound of silence

The 2017 Wellness Trends report identifies ‘silence’ as another wellness trend. For me, personally, silence is my escapism, it’s how I try to stay sane in a world full of noise and chaos. To me the sound of silence is the sound of nature, away from man-made noise. It’s those Sunday summer days lounging in the countryside, lying on the grass and losing yourself gazing at the clouds, hearing the breeze in the trees and birds chirping. I haven’t done that in a while! The report describes this so well, as the ‘nature of noise’.

At b í k u – the retreat will be nestled in nature, sat within primary jungle on an isolated island – surrounded by all the natural sounds that Bocas del Toro (Panama) has to offer! For us, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Breathe at b í k u

Our b í k u treehouse retreat will be built for people to take a breath! To take a breath from the humdrum of modern life – and breathe in nature, community, place and culture. We want our guests’ experience to be a unique one. We want guests to feel ‘wellness’ from start to finish, tailored to each individual – from farm-to-table dining, the silence of nature, nature walks, quiet canoeing, to surfing, sailing, yoga, meditation and more! We will offer the added wellness of mind, knowing that by just supporting b í k u and staying with us you will be benefiting the local community, as we will reinvest in social and environmental projects, locally.

Travel with a purpose, travel to be well – #liveslow and #livehappy

Sign up to our mailing list this month to be in with a chance to WIN a one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch!

Until the next time!

 

Footnotes

[1] CREST’s report, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2016

[2] The 2016 Virtuoso Luxe Report

COMPETITION HAS ENDED. WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch

COMPETITION HAS ENDED. WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch

COMPETITION HAS ENDED

WIN one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London


WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch – London’s ‘most creative, engaged district.’

We have teamed up with ACE Hotel London to offer you the chance to WIN a night’s stay in the coolest of London’s districts, Shoreditch. As ACE itself describes it, ‘Shoreditch is home to the Brick Lane Market, landmark creatives and renegade artists from around the world.’

To enter the competition, just sign up to our newsletter this month (1 June 2017 – 30 June 2017 inclusive). The winner will be chosen at random on 3 July 2017.

The one night’s stay includes accommodation for up to 2 guests, based on one room and double occupancy, and a complimentary bottle of champagne on arrival.

The offer is available from 1st September 2017 to 31st August 2018, excluding Christmas, New Year and Easter, and subject to availability.

To enter the competition, just sign up to our newsletter.

Good luck! And remember #liveslow !

 

Terms & Conditions

Competition period: 1 June 2017 – closing date midnight 30 June 2017

  1. The ‘WIN a legendary one night’s stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch – London’s ‘most creative, engaged district’’ competition (the ‘competition’) is open to residents of all countries aged 18 and over and there may be only one entry per person. No purchase necessary. Entries received outside of the stated competition period will not be considered and no responsibility is taken for entries that are not received or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason.
  2. Entry into the competition is deemed as acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. No trade, consumer groups or third party applications acceptable.
  3. The winner will be drawn at random on 3 July 2017 (‘draw date’) and will be notified within 7 days of the draw date. Attempts will be made to notify the winner by the email provided at the time of entry. If the promoter, having used reasonable efforts, is unable to contact the winner, then the prize is forfeited and further draw(s) will be conducted.
  4. The prize is a one-night stay at ACE Hotel London Shoreditch, for up to 2 people. The prize includes a complimentary bottle of champagne on arrival. No meals or ‘extras’ consumed or used during your stay are included in the prize.
  5. The prize must be taken between the 1st September 2017 to the 31st August 2018, subject to availability. Black-out dates (when the stay / holiday cannot be taken) include Christmas, New Year and Easter. Winners must give 30 days’ notice of desired dates for the stay.
  6. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, may be used by the registered prize winner only, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
  7. The promoter reserves the right to amend or substitute the prize for another of a similar value.
  8. The promoter accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize. The winner is responsible for all travel expenses and arrangements, such as but not limited to meals and spending money.
  9. It is the winners’ responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport, travel insurance – if travelling from overseas. Such travel documentation is at the sole expense of the winner. Failure to have the necessary travel documentation will result in the prize winner forfeiting their prize. If the winner and/or their companion is refused passage and or entry/exit to or from England, any additional costs incurred will be the winner and/or their companion’s sole responsibility.
  10. The promoter accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by the prize winner as a result of entering the competition or accepting the prize.
  11. The promoter shall not be liable for any failure to fulfil the competition where the failure is caused by something outside their reasonable control.
  12. The competition organiser and promoter is Ariel Stephenson and Zabrina Shield
What makes a treehouse a treehouse?

What makes a treehouse a treehouse?

Our quest to create unique and magical treehouses for our b í k u retreat has led us to ask the question, ‘What makes a treehouse a treehouse?’ Before we began our journey, we didn’t think there was much debate around what constitutes a treehouse – but, along the way we have found treehouses of all shapes and sizes, including some that are not even built in trees! We were shocked too!

For us, there are three essentials of a treehouse, as well some added bonuses which make a treehouse stay truly unbeatable. At b í k u – we’re aiming for the fundamentals as well as that icing on the cake!

Essentials of a treehouse

A treehouse must be:

  1. Off the ground
  2. In a tree (number 2 normally helps with number 1!)
  3. Magical!

Added bonuses for treetop living

For an amazing treetop stay, your treehouse should have:

  1. A unique design
  2. A swing bridge (of course – and perhaps a spiral staircase)
  3. An amazing view

When is a treehouse not a treehouse?

Most common definitions of a treehouse mention a structure that is built in a tree. The Treehouse Guide further defines a treehouse as, ‘A structure built in or around a tree which interacts with, and relies upon, the tree for its support. A treehouse consists of a roofed platform defining a sheltered space which may be fully enclosed for protection from the elements’.

I love the question that the Guide then asks, ‘Is it acceptable to use ground supports for a treehouse?’ And the answer is, it depends! This is clearly a hot topic of debate within the treehouse community.

The Guide also sets out three scenarios when a structure is not a treehouse, including when the house is fully ground supported and when the tree support is not structurally critical.

We have to say that on our journey, we’ve come across a large number of places misdefined as treehouses. And, it can be hugely disappointing when you’re looking forward to all the magic, nostalgia and quirkiness of a treehouse stay and, instead, find yourself in a building on stilts. Don’t get us wrong, there are some truly amazing and unique retreats and structures built in tree canopies that are magical – which we would love to stay at. But, please, just don’t call them a treehouse.

Living-room treehouses

living-room, in Powys, Wales, does everything you’d expect and want from a treehouse, and more! Phenomenally designed, the treehouses almost disappear into the woodland. Nature and sustainability have been taken deeply into consideration. The treehouses are a piece of hobbit-like magic in a hidden valley that take you away from the daily grind to chance encounters with fairy tale creatures and …. Welsh sheep! It’s a beautiful place to be.

Photos from our visit to living-room, back in 2015.

 

 

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