Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the trees gently swaying in the breeze, cicadas chirping and the occasional armadillo snuffling through the undergrowth below. The sound of birds and dappled sunlight gently waking you up in the morning. This is how we spent a blissful night in the new Treehouse at Roland’s Garden Guesthouse in Guanaja.
Treehouses bring back childhood memories for me. We were not lucky enough to have one in our garden; the apple trees were not big enough to carry the weight, so we climbed trees instead. However, I looked on longingly at any treehouse I came across.
A Treehouse for Grown Ups
The Treehouse at Roland’s Garden Guesthouse is different from anything I could have imagined as a child. A gangway leads above the sloping ground towards the first of the four Nance trees that the treehouse is wrapped around.
Roland designed and built the treehouse from pine, as well as doing all the plumbing, electricity and finishing. The concept has been so well thought out, there is even a little seat to the side of the house perfect for sitting reading a book or maybe a spot of birdwatching.
Inside the Treehouse
The bedroom is as beautifully finished as the outside with windows on three sides covered with fine mesh to keep the bugs out but lets the fresh air flow through to keep the room cool.
The bed has been made by Roland using sawn-off tree trunks for legs. The rest of the room is simple but with great attention to detail. From the fresh cool jug of water to the floating shelves for putting our clothes on to the stunning arrangement of tall red ginger flowers, everything has been well considered and executed to perfection.
The Outdoor Bathroom
The door to the side of the window leads to the outdoor bathroom with its funky green floor. The bathroom faces into the forest and is actually really private. There is a beautiful colourful sink with a tap made out of a branch, a lovely touch of handmade soap, shampoo and conditioner by the side.
Standing under the hot shower and washing in the open is an amazing feeling, very liberating! (There is a shower curtain for the less liberated). Again Roland’s craftsmanship and clever use of materials is evident everywhere.
After settling in, we took a walk up the gentle slope to the house of Claus and Annette, Roland’s parents, who, for an extra charge, can provide lunch or dinner. All their food is homemade and our meal was made up of their hand-reared smoked pork, German sausage along with beans, lentils, beetroot slaw and homemade noodles called spätzle followed by homegrown egg fruit (canistel) ice cream which was delicious.
With dinner finished, we made our way back down the path to the treehouse in the dusk.
The shutters for the window to the side are closed by pulling the rope, but we wanted to see the light in the morning, so left them open. From the roof of corrugated plastic hangs another of Roland’s fabulous ideas, a bottle filled with fairy lights which along with one other light in the room, gives perfect light to read by as the skies darken to night.
And so to sleep. The bed was so comfy that we drifted off quite quickly being lulled by the trees swaying, the crickets and the cicadas……….
Roland is not just a designer, builder, craftsman, and all-around nice guy, but he is also a well-known birdwatcher. Over a fabulous breakfast of pancakes made by Julia, Roland’s wife, we chatted about life and every so often Roland would be distracted by a passing bird.
September is the main migratory season and there is an abundant amount of birds passing through. Roland offers birdwatching treks and many of his guests for the rooms in the guesthouse are birdwatchers. The guesthouse can sleep up to 5 people in addition to the treehouse.
We said a sad farewell to the treehouse and hope to stay again soon. If you are coming to Guanaja and want to stay in an original, but quirky home, have a look at Roland’s Garden Guesthouse.
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Larch lives a semi-nomadic life. Her life changed 20 years ago when a silly accident left her with restricted use of her right arm and neck and was told she would never work again. She turned her life around, retrained herself and set up as a self-employed website designer. This allowed her to work wherever she was in the world. Her passion for travel led her to start up her travel blog The Silver Nomad, to inspire over 40s to explore new destinations and expand their horizons. In 2019 Larch qualified as a CAA Drone Pilot which she combines with her travels.