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5 Special Destinations For A Recharging Natural Vacation

Topic: Biophilic Design
5 special destinations for a recharging natural vacation

Have you ever tried a natural vacation? I haven’t, but I’m always fascinated when I see those small retreats immersed in nature.

They are the perfect way to escape from the city for a while and restore that deep connection with nature that is so precious for our health and wellbeing, as explained by the biophilia hypothesis.
Also, they are a great biophilic design inspiration, with their concentration of natural materials and textures, their way of merging indoor and outdoor seamlessly… And what to say about the dreamy floor-to-ceiling windows they usually have? This might actually be my favourite feature!

So let’s leave for this journey around the globe towards 5 of the best destinations to spend an alternative holiday immersed in nature.


View of treehouses showing their total immersion in the forest.
Credit: Peter Pichler Architecture (via DesignBoom)

These small retreats propose a form of slow tourism in the middle of the Italian Dolomites. The project is still a concept right now, but these treehouses would be added to an existing hotel, offering the option of a full-immersion in nature.

The whole interior structure is made of natural wood, that is left exposed to create a naturally warm atmosphere. And the front walls are fully glazed, calling for some quiet time spent contemplating nature.

View of the indoor showing the natural materials used and the fully open front view; a perfect example og biophilic design.
Credit: Peter Pichler Architecture (via DesignBoom)

2. ORIGIN - Château de raray (FRANCE)

View of the outdoors showing the treehouse immersed in the foliage.
Credit: Atelier LAVIT

This treehouse has been built around a huge oak tree, that pokes through the entrance patio and shades the little top terrace. A suspended walkway is the way to access the home, while closely touching and feeling the natural surroundings.

Indoors, the space is organized around big windows, two of which end up being right in front of the seating area and the bed. Natural wood is the main indoor material and I really love the contrasting black window frames, that make of the view the real focal point of the design. A very clever inspiration to make the most of the outdoor view, in true biophilic design style!

Curious to know more?
Then take a look at the principles of biophilic design: nature in the space, natural analogues and nature of the space.

View of the living area looking into the forest.
View of the bedroom, with the oak tree poking behind the bed.
View of upper patio, shaded by the oak tree.
Credit: Atelier LAVIT

3. Treehouse M – anhui (CHINA)

View of outdoor.
Credit: IanD Studio (via Design Boom). Photo by Bowen Hou

Located in the middle of a natural reserve, this retreat is basically a wildlife observatory with all comforts.

The front is glazed, leaving a fully open view. And outdoors, a wood structure creates a covered patio that even hosts a bathtub.
If this were the destination of my natural vacation, I’d definitely spend some good time soaking in the bathtub while looking at the forest! Dreamy!

View of outdoor from the bed.
View of the patio with the bathtub.
Credit: IanD Studio (via Design Boom). Photos by Bowen Hou

4. VIPP SHELTER – Lake Immeln (SWEDEN)

View of the outdoor, immersed in nature.
Credit: Vipp (via Dezeen)

This one-room hotel is a prefabricated retreat in the Swedish forest. The black interiors are minimal with a hint of Nordic coziness, but the main focus is on the surrounding nature.

The front of the home is a huge sliding glass door that can be opened almost fully to welcome the outdoor in. The living area looks to the lake and a glazed ceiling in the bedroom allows to sleep under the stars while being indoors (something I’d definitely like to try one day!)

View of the indoor with the entire front side open.
The lake view seen from the living area.
View of the bedroom.
Credit: Vipp (via Dezeen)

5. TREEHOUSE - juluchuca (mexico)

View of the outdoor.
Credit: Deture Culsign (via DesignBoom). Photo by Leonardo Palafox

With all these homes looking into the forest, I was missing what would be my dream natural vacation: a retreat overlooking the sea. And look what I found!

This cylinder- shaped treehouse has been defined an “extension of the surrounding landscape”, and it really is! Made of all-natural materials (bamboo above all), it merges with the trees seamlessly. And being open on both sides, it leaves guests the choice to look backwards to the trees or forward to the sea.

View of the bed.
The view seen from inside the home.
Credit: Deture Culsign (via DesignBoom). Photos by Leonardo Palafox


Right now, a stay at one of these retreats is definitely not a cheap option. But it’s promising to see that more and more project of this kind are coming up.
The hope is that this kind of slow natural vacation will soon become a widespread type of holiday. An escape from the city and the everyday digital world, into the peace and beauty of nature.
I would totally go for it! Would you?

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