Builder Chris Whalley Constructs a Treehouse That's Like a 5-Star Hotel Room

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Chris Whalley treehouse in Kent, England

If you're planning a Christmas vacation and looking for five-star accommodations during your stay, you might be browsing the rates at a Marriott or Four Seasons hotel. But if you're headed to England, you might consider this: a luxury treehouse.

It's the first of its kind in Britain, built by Chris Whalley (pictured below), a builder who owns four other properties that he uses as vacation rentals. Sitting 20 feet above the ground, the treehouse in Kent, England, comes with almost every amenity you'd find in a top-drawer hotel room: a hot tub, a 60-inch plasma TV -- even a log burner (as dangerous as that might sound in a tree). There's fully functional plumbing and electricity as well.

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Chris Whalley's Treehouse Project From Start to Fabulous Finish
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Builder Chris Whalley Constructs a Treehouse That's Like a 5-Star Hotel Room
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Whalley and his wife, Michelle, who run Kent Cottage Holidays, told AOL Real Estate that the project took seven months to complete. Chris built the structure out of driftwood from a nearby beach and scraps from other builders. He even used the extra materials to build cupboards, a table and a bed for the interior. He didn't use any scaffolding during construction, just some rope.

Related: Who Needs Just One Treehouse? Check Out This Treehouse Community!

And the project was a real labor of love: The idea for the treehouse began as a gift to a little girl.

"The idea came from children of guests we had staying in our previous properties who wanted to climb one of the trees in the garden," Michelle told AOL Real Estate. "Chris told them if she [the little girl] returned next year, he would build her a treehouse, which he did."

Michelle said that the couple has two children's treehouses on two of their other properties, and visiting adults commented that it would be fun to stay in one.

"So Chris built an adult treehouse for a holiday let," she added.

"I built it almost entirely by myself," Chris Whalley told AOL Real Estate. "Solid work nonstop, so it took its toll on my already aching body -- due to a previous project on the same site, which is a hand-built log cabin."

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The High Life: Coolest Treehouses You'll Ever See
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Builder Chris Whalley Constructs a Treehouse That's Like a 5-Star Hotel Room

Baumraum, a German company, is known as the leader in modern treehouse structures. Built on stilts like many of its creations, this Baumraum treehouse is a cylindrical home with a sleek wooden platform that's supported by the tree.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

You won't find wilderness only on the outside of this treehouse ...

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

Trees adorn the curved ceiling so you feel like you're outside even when you're inside.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

Don't think for a minute that this is a cramped abode like many makeshift treehouses. There's enough room to host an entire party!

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

You can live on the water and in the trees at the same time in this oval-shaped treehouse. It's like the 21st century's answer to having a cabin in the woods.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

There are two levels to this treehouse. You can stroll up to the first-floor entrance via the large wooden platform, or you can climb the stairs to the loft area on top.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

Skylights and windows line the top level, so you can get nature views from almost every angle.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

There's plenty of room to spread out on the lower level, and you can slide open the latched windows for lots of fresh air.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

This unique square-shaped treehouse isn't boxed in with other typical treehouses.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

This place has an actual porch, and the large windows give the treehouse an open, airy feeling.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

Step into an open sitting area with wraparound built-in couches where you and your friends can hang out all day.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

In this treehouse, you're literally lounging in serenity.

Photo courtesy of Baumraum

This seemingly floating orb is the brainchild of Free Spirit Spheres. The treehouse is meant to embody the theme of "oneness," fitting into a forest setting without altering it. Suspended spheres, Free Spirit Spheres notes, "reduces the human footprint to near zero."

Photo: Tom Chudleigh/Free Spirit Spheres

A beautiful staircase spirals up the tree and leads to the suspended treehouse. It might look a little odd on the outside, but wait until you see what's inside...

Photo: Tom Chudleigh/Free Spirit Spheres

Luxurious wood adorns the walls, and huge circular windows let in tons of natural light.

Photo: Tom Chudleigh/Free Spirit Spheres

There's a place to sit and play cards and a place to just lounge and relax.

Photo: Tom Chudleigh/Free Spirit Spheres

Or you can have your own private lair in the trees.

Photo: Tom Chudleigh/Free Spirit Spheres

You can also turn the treehouse into a romantic getaway for two.

Photo: Tom Chudleigh/Free Spirit Spheres

This is one of the "tree rooms" at Sweden's Treehotel in Sweden, a hotel in the wilderness consisting of several treehouses for guests to stay in. The Mirrorcube's exterior is made of reflective glass, so it appears to blend in with its surroundings.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

The minimalist interior is made of plywood with a birch surface and includes a double bed, bathroom, lounge and rooftop terrace.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

One of the wildest treehouses we've seen, the Bird's Nest is another "tree room" at Treehotel. With a network of branches making up its exterior, it literally looks like a bird's nest.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

But on the inside, it's a sleek wood panel-clad space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a living area to accommodate a family.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

A third "tree room" at the Treehotel, the UFO is made of durable composite material and is meant to stick out from -- rather than blend in with -- its surroundings.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

It's interior is just as odd as its exterior...

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

Lukasz Kos' 4Treehouse in Ontario, Canada, is a lattice-framed work suspended 20 feet above the ground with steel cables. Kos wanted to minimize the impact on the natural surroundings, so the treehouse is fastened to four trees with just one puncture hole in each tree.

Photo courtesy of Lukasz Kos

The interior is dynamic and colorful with built-in ladders to climb to the top.

Photo courtesy of Lukasz Kos

Another view of 4Treehouse

Photo courtesy of Lukasz Kos

O2 Treehouse is behind a number of unique treehouse designs, including this one, called "Lotus," which architect Dustin Feider designed to look like a "shipwreck meets lotus flower."

Photo courtesy of O2 Treehouse

This "tree-ship" is built into a hillside in Los Angeles for a family with children who didn't have a large enough backyard to play in.

Photo courtesy of O2 Treehouse

This tree village was built for a family in Beverly Hills, Calif., and consists of a diamond-shaped open deck and a geodesic sphere connected by a floating rope-bridge.

Photo courtesy of O2 Treehouse

This structure gives children a fun backyard pastime.

Photo courtesy of O2 Treehouse

This treehouse near Milwaukee, Wis., with a copper exterior was built to entertain parties of 200 in a backyard.

Photo courtesy of O2 Treehouse

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His treehouse was nearly grounded, though, when neighbors objected to it, he said.

"Planning permission was a little tricky, as the locals in most sleepy villages don't take too kindly to changes of any kind, not to mention treehouses," Chris said.

But eventually, the treehouse was cleared, and Chris and Michelle have since had nine sets of guests stay there. They are expecting their 10th reservation this weekend, and "we have no weekends available now until April 2013," Michelle said.

Though local media outlets in England reported that Chris spent 60,000 pounds (about $97,000) to build the treehouse, he told AOL Real Estate that it actually cost a lot less -- but he didn't name the price.

Chris is already working on his next project, which he expects to be just as unique and exciting as his treehouse -- maybe even more so.

"It will have a theme like Bedrock meets Hobbit, but I don't want to let too much away," he said. "Yabba-dabba doo!"
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