Glamping At The Treebones Resort



The Beauty Of Glamping: Treebones Resort

 Bringing Its Guests Close To Nature In Unique, Simple Living Structures That Can't Be Found Elsewhere

Treebones Resort Cocoon Grand Tent [Courtesy/Treebones Resort]

It was around Christmastime in Big Sur, California and the wind was whipping, the rainfall chilling. A couple sat inside a wood-woven nest up in a tree facing the ocean, where they had set up their tent. From inside the nest they could hear the wind all around them, the waves crashing violently against the shore. This was an experience that could only be had at Treebones Resort.

This is glamping with a huge, minimalist twist. Treebones Resort brings its guests close to nature in unique, simple living structures that can't be found elsewhere, like the human nest described above and their yurts. But Treebones also isn't kidding around when it comes to the “glam” aspect: There's the Wild Coast Restaurant with a French chef who uses organic veggies from the resort's garden and seafood caught in the ocean right in front of the resort. There's a sushi bar, a spa. There's hiking tours, kayak tours... It's all the aspects of a top-notch resort, with the close-to-nature nature aspect of camping, said owner John Handy, who owns the resort with his wife Corinne.

So what inspired such a special resort to take shape?

The Big Sur itself.

“When we first came to this property we were looking at a piece of land that was basically completely untouched. It was beautiful raw property, which you don't see too often,” said Handy. “When we saw that and smelled the herbs and plants that were growing and looked at the night sky – how black it was, seeing all the stars – and the beautiful view of the ocean, we thought, 'How can we screw this up the least?'”

Inside The Grand Tent [Courtesy/Treebones Resort]
Resort Bathroom [Courtesy/Treebones Resort]

At first the couple wasn't even planning on using the property as a hotel or resort. But as Handy kept going on business trip after business trip he was inspired: “At most hotels you go to a tiny version of your own house. I was traveling a lot on business and felt it was missing that kind of experience. So we created something we would love to stay at.”

A frequent business traveler, Handy – who works for Mattel Toys - has been all over the world. But the hotels are “American-style hotels” and they “all felt the same.” He felt he was staying in the same room every night. He felt he wasn't experiencing the new world around him, the customs, the scenery. He started asking to be put in indigenous hotels and the like, which was considered “inconvenient” by his company's travel agent. But staying at those places was when he started enjoying his business trips.

To give people an immersive experience that was also low impact on the environment, the owners settled on yurts, a round lodging unit that's perched up on stilts. Visitors staying overnight in the yurts can look out at the ocean from inside their private yurt, curled up inside a plush king-sized bed. 

Then there's the human nest made of recycled eucalyptis branches (“It's up in the trees with a beautiful, breath-taking ocean view. You are basically living with no kind of building around you in a way. That's really popular”), a treehouse and the “one of a kind” autonomous tent, a “grand tent that resembles the shape of a giant cocoon.” The 500 square foot living space is on a secluded edge of the resort with its own private deck. Inside there's a king-sized bed, a gas fireplace and leather lounging chairs. There's also a luxurious bathroom. “You'll experience true 'off grid living,'” said Handy, “in a luxurious and private location.”

Inside A Yurt At The Treebones Resort [Courtesy/Treebones Resort]
Eating Fresh Sushi At The Wild Coast Restaurant [Courtesy/Treebones Resort]
The Human Nest [Courtesy/Treebones Resort]

The response to these unique overnight experiences in Big Sur has been “amazing.” Right when they opened in November of 2004 they began to be fully booked past December. Handy noted there was an “immediate demand,” once people knew it was an option. Why? “People from around the world want to come to Big Sur and a large number of them are looking for something unique and somewhere unusual to stay at. That's how they find us.”

John and wife Corinne are both frequent campers who used to backpack together all of the time. When they had kids they got a trailer and have explored all over the United States as a family. This is something they love to do.

As the couple has explored the landscape they have realized just how beautiful North America is. “That's what camping was for us. How can you just get out there and experience it? A lot of people don't have all of the equipment. That's the beauty of glamping.”

For travelers looking for a unique way to experience the beauty of Big Sur and the ocean, Treebones Resort is always a top choice. Where else can you climb a ladder into a nest of woven branches and look out onto the ocean (and then grab some sushi the next afternoon)? It's a one-of-a-kind experience that most people only dream of.

Olivia Richman

A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.

Treebones Resort

Make Sure To Stay At:

Treebones Resort, with unique lodging and dining on California’s breathtaking Big Sur Coast with expansive views in all directions. One half hour drive North of Hearst Castle on Scenic Hwy 1.

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